Professor Barbara Jack, Head of Research and Scholarship and Director of the Evidence-based Practice Research Centre at the University, has a strong interest in the care of the dying and has been involved in pioneering research to help terminally ill people in Africa.
She said: “I am delighted to be invited to become a trustee of Hospice Africa and to play an increased role in supporting the work the Hospice is doing. Having had the first-hand experience of working with the team in Uganda and seeing the challenges they face and what they can achieve will be invaluable to my role as trustee.”
Ann Vassie, Chair of Hospice Africa UK, added: “We are delighted to have Professor Barbara Jack as a trustee of Hospice Africa UK. Barbara has always been a great source of support to us and we know that she will add great value to our work as we endeavour to spread the practice of good palliative care across sub-Saharan Africa. We welcome her onto our Board of Trustees and are excited at the work we can do together to bring pain relief to all who suffer in Africa.”
The appointment reflects Professor Jack’s strong links with the Hospice and the pioneering research she has carried out in their country, including developing clinical staff to conduct their own research to address the shortage of academic palliative care researchers on the continent.
“Through my clinical background as a registered nurse, I had a lot of contact with terminally ill patients in a hospital setting,” said Professor Jack. “Palliative care as a specialism was still in its infancy but I could see its value from my own experiences and it sparked an interest in the development of end of life care. Everyone should have the right to die with dignity and without pain, and it is this notion of a ‘good death’ that has influenced the direction of my research in the UK and Africa.”
Professor Jack has been involved with Hospice Africa UK since 2005, a specialist home care programme which cares for those with terminal illnesses. It is a UK registered charity and was created in 1993 by Dr Anne Merriman, a Liverpudlian and pioneer of the international hospice movement, who received an honorary degree from Edge Hill in 2009 in recognition of her work.
Professor Merriman said: “Professor Barbara Jack has brought an academic approach into our Education Department at Hospice Africa Uganda. Her research, and publications with the Community Volunteer Workers has promoted our service for identifying those in need in the community who have never seen a health worker. Those who have been trained bring such patients to our attention so we go to them at home, control their pain and give holistic care so they can be at peace with their families and their God. Several other countries have taken up this model through reading her papers or hearing her presentations. Her teaching on the degree programme last year was excellent and the first graduates are already using the methods she imparted for audit and research. Barbara will bring a lot of wisdom as a trustee.”