Meet the 2024 Scientific Committee
Prof. Dr. Christoph Ostgathe trained as an anaesthesiologist, pain and palliative care specialist in Bonn, Germany. 2004 -2010 he worked as a Consultant and Associate Director at the Centre for Palliative Medicine at the University of Cologne. In April 2010 he was appointed University Professor for Palliative Medicine at the University of Erlangen-Nuernberg. His research is mainly dedicated to issues of Screening for Palliative Care Needs, Outcome Assessment and Health Services Research, currently focusing e.g. on sedation in palliative care. Additionally he is working on integrating medical technology into palliative care. Christoph was President of the European Association for Palliative Care from 2019 – 2023. (EAPC).
PhD, MPH and RN Marianne Jensen Hjermstad works as a Senior researcher at the Department of Oncology, Oslo University Hospital and at the European Palliative Care Research Centre (PRC), at the Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.
Her scientific interests include cancer epidemiology, delivery of health care services, palliative care, patient-centered care, and patient-reported outcome measures. She has authored/co-authored around 180 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, and has been the PI or part of the core management team in several national and international clinical trials. She has served as a committee member of several scientific research boards, and as a reviewer in international scientific journals.
I am grateful for over 25 years of research and lecturing in palliative care. As a sociologist, it was not easy to find my way in palliative care, but over the years, I have experienced that palliative care needs more social scientists to support the research, to apply excellent social science methodologies in designing and conducting studies, to understand and change the social paradigms of palliative care research, and to introduce new methodologies deriving from several social sciences research domains, e.g. health promotion, implementation sciences, qualitative research or population studies.
Trained in Sociology and Health Sciences, I became a Full Professor of Palliative Care Research at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and Ghent University (UG) in Belgium. I am proud to be the Founding Director of the End-of-Life Care Alliance Research Group of both universities (www.endoflifecare.be) and grateful for the over 60 PhD students that I have been supervising. Between 2005 and 2014, I was Professor of Public Health and Palliative Care at the EMGO+ Institute, VU University Medical Centre, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Since 2018, I am also adjunct professor at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia.
Since 2000 in Brussels and Ghent, I gradually developed the End-of-Life Care Alliance Research Group, which is by now a unique interdisciplinary (e.g. medicine, public health, sociology, psychology, law, ethics, communication sciences, anthropology, health sciences) and interprofessional (e.g. GPs, oncologists, geriatricians, palliative care physicians, nurses, social workers, clinical psychologists) research team of over 70 staff members. This team is one of the leading research teams on end of life and palliative care research in Europe.
Dr. Nicoleta Mitrea, APRN, PhD, FAAN is Senior lecturer at Faculty of Medicine, University of Transilvania from Brasov and Director of Clinical Practice, Education and Research – Nursing in HOSPICE Casa Sperantei, Romania. Dr. Mitrea is actively involved in organizing, supervising and teaching the subjects in Palliative Care (PC) at all three levels of education for nurses: undergraduate, advanced and specialized. She started her nursing career at a very young age in the pediatric hospital. December 1998 marked her beginning of an unexpected career in Palliative Nursing and Nurse Advocate, when she joined the Hospice “Casa Sperantei” (HCS) as a home care nurse. Her knowledge, abilities and revolutionary style has been increasingly polished and appreciated. Currently Dr. Mitrea leads the education and clinical practice of PC nurses in HCS, other PC services around the country and in several Eastern European countries and is coordinating the national specialization program in PC for nurses. Dr. Mitrea had graduated the Master Program in PC in 2012 and the Medical Doctoral Studies in November 2017. She never stopped caring for patients and is currently performing her clinical duties in the HCS lymphedema ambulatory service. In 2022 Dr. Mitrea’s life time efforts and achievements in promoting and developing Palliative Nursing as an independent, autonomous professions, working collaboratively with other professions in the PC services from Romania and other Central-Eastern European countries, has received the recognition of the American Academy of Nursing by having Dr. Mitrea inducted as a new Fellow. Since 2016, she is running in marathons to fund raise for free of charge care delivered by HCS to patients (children and adults) and their families.
Professor Irene Higginson is Professor of Palliative Care and Policy at King’s College London. She is dual-trained and registered in palliative medicine and public health medicine. Her research interests and publications are in the following areas: quality of life and outcome measurements, evaluation of palliative care especially of new services and interventions, epidemiology, clinical audit, effectiveness, psychosocial care, symptom assessment, breathlessness, cachexia/anorexia, and elderly care. She is the Founding Professor of the Cicely Saunders Institute at King’s College London, the world’s first purpose-built Institute of palliative care, integrating research, education and clinical services. In 2013, she was awarded Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences, for her contribution to the field. She is Scientific Director for the charity Cicely Saunders International. She has several active research programmes, teaches on the MSc in Palliative Care and medical students, supervises several PhD students, and is clinically active with a hon consultant in palliative medicine contract for local NHS services. She is dedicated to ensuring research influences and improves care and practice and working with patients and families.
Jesús González Barboteo is currently developing his tasks as Deputy Head of the Palliative Care Department at the Catalan Institute of Oncology L’Hospitalet in Barcelona (Spain). He has exercised medical practice in palliative cancer care as an associate physician for over two decades. Additionally, he leads the Research and Knowledge Group in Palliative Care (GRICOPAL) at the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL) in Barcelona, Spain.
With a specialization in Geriatrics and Gerontology, he holds a Doctorate in Health, Well-being, and Quality of life from the University of Vic, where he received an “excellent” rating and a “cum laude” mention. He also holds a Master’s degree in Bioethics from the Spanish National School of Health, as well as a Master’s degree in Palliative Care from the University of Barcelona.
His experience includes past coordination of the Palliative Care Unit at the Virgen de la Salud Hospital in Toledo, Spain. Currently, he serves as both coordinator and professor for the subject “Advanced Approach to the Patient with Pain” in the University Master’s Degree program in
Palliative Care at the University of Vic, in addition to other teaching responsibilities.
He is the president of the Healthcare Ethics Board at the Catalan Institute of Oncology, Bellvitge University Hospital, and Viladecans Hospital. Furthermore, he is the editor-in-chief of the journal “Medicina Paliativa,” which is published by the Spanish Society of Palliative Care.
He has contributed to numerous articles in nationally and internationally indexed journals and book chapters on the subject of Palliative Cancer Care.
Barbara Gomes is a coordinating researcher at the University of Coimbra and visiting research fellow at King’s College London. She holds a first degree in Psychology and Health from University of Porto (2001), and an MSc and PhD in Palliative Care from King’s College London (2006, 2012). The aim of Barbara’s research is to proof care at the end of life, to ensure it matches people’s preferences and priorities. She has surveyed patient and family experiences with end of life care and analysed population mortality data across nations, with a focus on tackling the mismatch between where people would prefer to die and where they actually die. In 2022, Barbara has been awarded a Starting Grant from the European Research Council to research dying places cross-nationally.
Dr Agnès Calsina-Berna is a Family Medicine that works taking care of people with cancer as a palliative care physician at Catalan Institute of Oncology, in Badalona. She started her training in palliative care joining the International Fellowship of Hospice and Palliative Medicine at San Diego Hospice, led by doctor Frank Ferris. She also has a Masters in Primary Care, a Masters in Palliative Care, a Masters in Bioethics and a PhD in Health, Welfare and Quality of Life from the University of Vic (UVic-UCC). Dr Calsina is actively involved in teaching palliative care for medical students at University of Vic. She also coordinates a Masters in Palliative care for nurses and physicians currently working in the field of palliative care or willing to do so. Her research interests are focused on studies who identify people with palliative care needs, as well as topics such as constipation or pain. She is a member of the ICO’s GRICOPAL Research Group and the UVic-UCC Palliative Care Chair team, participating in teaching and research activities