UK’s first chair of paediatric palliative care at UCL Institute of Child Health

4 February 2010

Professor Myra Bluebond-Langner

Professor Myra Bluebond-Langner has become the UK’s first chair of paediatric palliative care at the UCL Institute of Child Health and Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Professor Bluebond-Langner – whose new role is funded by the True Colours Trust – is a distinguished anthropologist whose 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 the involvement of children in decision-making and research.

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.

She will work closely with the existing palliative care sector, drawing on the networks established by 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.

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 workforce to carry on the research and clinical work necessary to deliver the highest standard of care to these children and their families."

Professor Andrew Copp, director of the UCL Institute of Child Health, said: "Professor Bluebond-Langner’s 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.

She said Professor Bluebond-Langner’s role would unite research, teaching and clinical practice to find ways of improving children’s palliative care, and help not only those treated at Great Ormond Street Hospital, but children across the UK and throughout the world.

A spokesperson for the True Colours Trust added: “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.”

For more information follow the links above.

Image: Professor Myra Bluebond-Langner


UCL context

The UCL Institute of Child Health (ICH) is one of the world’s pioneering paediatric research centres and represents the largest concentration of people dedicated to advancing paediatrics outside of the United States. ICH works in partnership with Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children. Together, they carry out research into the causes of and treatments for childhood illnesses, and help create international standards for other children’s hospitals to follow.

Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, UCL and three other NHS hospital Trusts (Moorfields Eye Hospital, UCLH and the Royal Free) together form UCL Partners, Europe’s largest academic health science partnership.

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