New Professor of Hospice Studies appointed

Posted on: 10 November 2005

Internationally respected medical sociologist Professor David Clark from Lancaster University has been appointed as Visiting Professor of Hospice Studies in Ireland. The announcement was made by the Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) on 10 November. 

The Faculty of Health Sciences at Trinity College Dublin and the School of Medicine and Health Sciences at University College Dublin will co-host the visiting Professor and the IHF will fund the position for the next three years.

IHF Chief Executive, Mr Eugene Murray, said that: “Professor Clark is highly regarded in the palliative care community in Ireland and internationally.  The Foundation is funding this part-time post in an effort to stimulate interest in research and teaching on hospice and palliative care in Ireland.  We hope that Professor Clarke will provide valuable advice to researchers and act as a mentor for palliative care professionals.”

Professor Clark is the Professor of Medical Sociology and the Director of the Institute for Health Research and International Observatory on End of Life Care at Lancaster University.  He has worked as a researcher and teacher in palliative care for 16 years. 

A Professor since 1993, he has held Chairs in three universities.  He established the International Observatory on End of Life Care when he moved to Lancaster University in 2003.  He became a Director of the Institute for Health Research in January 2005. The Observatory, which is a part of the Institute of Health Research, aims to provide evidence and ideas to support improvements in end of life care around the world.

An elected member of the European Academy of Sciences and Art, Professor Clark is also a Trustee of the UK charity Help the Hospices and a member of the board of the European Association of Palliative Care.

Professor Clark has a particular interest in the global and historical development of the modern hospice movement.  He has engaged in research in Ireland by conducting work on the archives of the Marymount Hospice in Cork and Our Lady’s Hospice, Harold’s Cross. 

He has recorded an extensive collection of oral history interviews with key figures in hospice and palliative care in Ireland.  He has also undertaken workshops on research methods training in Dublin and in Limerick.  Professor Clark has also collaborated on writing papers with Irish consultants.    In his new role he intends to consolidate these activities and to work with colleagues in Ireland to advance the field of palliative care research and education.

The IHF is a not-for-profit organisation that has supported the development of hospice and palliative care in Ireland over the past 20 years.  The Foundation currently runs two third level programmes in association with the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland: a Higher Diploma in Bereavement Studies and a Certificate in Children and Loss. 

The IHF also funds research in hospice, palliative and bereavement care and has a current financial commitment of over €100,000 per year to research.  In recent years it initiated, with the Health Research Board, a Research Fellowship in Palliative Care and since 2004 has co-funded three major palliative care studies through the Health Research Board research partnership scheme.   The current Therese Brady Scholarship is focused on research into hospice bereavement services.  An annual programme of seeding grants is also awarded for pilot and small scale research studies and research training.