ICPCN welcomes Professor Julia Downing as their new Chief Executive

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The Board of Trustees of the International Children’s Palliative Care Network (ICPCN) is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Julia Downing as the charity’s new Chief Executive, having taking over from Joan Marston from the beginning of November 2016, and to welcome her to the post. 

Speaking on this new appointment, Sabine Kraft, Director of Bundesverband Kinderhospiz in Germany and the Chair of the ICPCN Board of Trustees told ehospice, “As Chair of the ICPCN, I was very concerned about how we would find a Chief Executive with the complex qualifications and high personal qualities for this demanding job. In German we would say it is like looking for the ‚eierlegende Wollmilchsau‘, a person with so many qualities; practically impossible to find. 

But whenever you feel there is nothing more to do, a light comes on, and this light is our new CEO, multi-talented, academically well established and an extraordinary person with a great compassion for children and their families with life-threatening and life-limiting diseases. As the Board of the ICPCN we express our thankfulness and our willingness to give our best to support to our new CEO in her many challenges.” 

Well qualified
An experienced palliative care nurse, educationalist and researcher, Professor Downing has been working in palliative care for 24 years, with 16 of those working internationally in Uganda, Africa, Eastern Europe and throughout the world, developing palliative care services for adults and children. She has also held the position of Director of Education and Research for the ICPCN since 2010. 

She is an Honorary Professor at Makerere University, Kampala with extensive experience in research, presenting at conferences and writing for publication and sits on the editorial board of the International Journal of Palliative Nursing (IJPN). She is a Visiting Professor at Edge Hill University and the University of South Wales in the UK and the University of Belgrade in Serbia and also an Honorary Research Fellow with the Cicely Saunders Institute of Palliative Care, Policy and Rehabilitation, at King’s College London, England. 

Professor Downing also serves on the Boards of several NGOs including the International Association of Hospice and Palliative Care (IAHPC), Hospice in the Weald, the African Palliative Care Association UK, the Palliative Care Association of Uganda and the Palliative Care Research Society. An accomplished musician, when not working in palliative care she is involved in running a music school in Kampala and various local choirs and orchestras and is the Director of Music at her local church.

Recognition for her work
In recognition of her accomplishments, Professor Downing has been presented with a number of awards over the past 10 years. In 2006 she was the recipient of the International Journal of Palliative Care Nursing (IJPN’s) Development Award, the Robert Tiffany lectureship from the International Society of Nursing in Cancer Care (ISNCC) in 2014, the Pearl Moore “Making a Difference” International Award for Contributions to Cancer Care from the Oncology Nursing Society in 2015 and was made an Honorary Fellow of Cardiff University in 2016.

Asked for a comment on her appointment, Professor Downing said, “It is a privilege to take over as the Chief Executive of the International Children’s Palliative Care Network. I am passionate about the work of ICPCN and the need to expand children’s palliative care to all children with life-limiting and life-threatening illnesses around the world.

I am excited about my new role and look forward to working with everyone connected to ICPCN to take it forward over the coming months and years and to work towards realising our goal of palliative care for all children.”

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