Myra Bluebond-Langner has been appointed to be the True Colours Chair in Palliative Care for Children and Young People; the UK’s first Chair in paediatric palliative care. Funded by the True Colours Trust, the appointment will be jointly held at UCL Institute of Child Health (ICH) and Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH).
Myra comes to this role from Rutgers University where she was the Distinguished Professor of Anthropology. Her early work on leukaemic children is regarded as marking an important change in the way children are studied and regarded by researchers. Her recent studies of decision making for children with cancer when standard therapy has failed broke new ground in approaches to the study of decision making and in the involvement of children with in decision making and research participation.
She is the author of many articles in journals and edited collections and has received numerous prizes and awards for her contributions to research and teaching in both anthropology and palliative care.
Professor Bluebond-Langner will encourage and foster the development of excellence in children’s palliative care throughout the UK, and seek to influence national and international services and policy in this field. The Chair will significantly raise the profile for Children’s Palliative Care and will have a major interest in developing excellence and consistency in the provision of palliative care for children and young people across the UK.
The professor will work very closely with the existing palliative care sector, particularly drawing on the networks established by ACT (the Association for Children’s Palliative Care) and Children’s Hospices UK, to develop a vibrant research programme with the publication of high quality papers in major journals in the field.
Commenting on the appointment, Professor Bluebond-Langner said: “We are at a critical juncture in the development of palliative care for children and young people. As the field continues to advance we need to increase both the evidence-base and the capacity of the current work force to carry on the research and clinical work necessary to deliver the highest standard of care to these children and their families.
“My goal as the True Colours Chair in Palliative Care for Children and Young People is to help us to meet these challenges through the development and implementation of a multi-disciplinary and integrated program of research, clinical practice and education.”
The True Colours Trust, said: “We are delighted that Myra has taken this role and are confident that she will provide the leadership needed to ensure that all children and families have access to high quality palliative care and support.”
Professor Andrew Copp, director of UCL Institute of Child Health, commented:
"We are delighted to welcome Myra to this important new role. Her groundbreaking work in children’s palliative care in North America demonstrates that she is well placed to drive forward the research, education and multi-disciplinary understanding needed to advance paediatric palliative care in the UK."
Dr Jane Collins, chief executive of Great Ormond Street Hospital NHS Trust, said: “Myra is a very welcome addition to the team at GOSH/ICH. The creation of the True Colours Chair gives us an amazing opportunity to strengthen and expand the palliative care team here.
"This role will aim to bring together research, teaching and clinical practice to find and disseminate ways of improving children's palliative care. It will help not only those treated at Great Ormond Street Hospital, but children across the UK and throughout the world."
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