The Cicely Saunders Seminar and Lecture Series at King’s College, London

Categories: Education.

The Institute houses the Department of Palliative Care Policy and Rehabilitation, and, under the leadership of Professor Irene Higginson OBE, has built a formidable reputation as a world leader in palliative care research and education.

Located in a light, free standing building on the grounds of Kings College Hospital, the spirit of palliative care extends from the work of the researchers and educators within it, to the design of the building itself. Artist Tania Kovats’ spindly sculptures of stripped silver birch trees in the stairwell recall the stripping back of the self that accompanies a terminal diagnosis, and along the interior walls hang framed images from the ‘Lights for Cicely’ project, by Caroline McCarthy, an art project inspired by the legacy of Dame Cicely Saunders.

The Cicely Saunders Instituteforges international links between the UK and countries all over the world. Much of the seminal research on palliative care in Africa, including the widely-used APCA-Palliative Outcomes Scale (POS), was undertaken in collaboration with Cicely Saunders Institute researchers. Additionally, the IARE (International Access, Rights and Empowerment) study, a component of the BuildCARE project, is a collaboration between CSI and research teams in Dublin, New York and San Francisco.

The Cicely Saunders Seminar and Lecture Series brings together clinicians, academics, and service users and  provides a space for a new generation of palliative care researchers and clinicians to learn from and interact with the people at the forefront of palliative care research.The lecture topics are a mix of service delivery innovations, as well as innovations in research methods. Each event in the series is CPD accredited.

The series is currently resourced by the BuildCARE project and has existed in its current format for the last two years. However, the Institutehas been running a lecture series since before 2005, when it was coordinated by department members involved in the Compass Collaborative, an NCRI Supportive and Palliative Care Research Collaborative.

The Institute seeks to conduct and promote cutting-edge research to inform multi-professional and evidence based palliative and rehabilitative care, and the lecture series was established to facilitate this. The events disseminate developments in palliative care and research methods and related policy implications to both researchers and clinicians.

Dr Catherine Evans, co-coordinator of the series, said: “The lecture series is an opportunity to share cutting edge research, and a way of bringing together clinicians, academics, and service users to talk about the research that is being undertaken, both in terms of clinical implications, and also what is important for service users.

“We seek out people who are in the forefront of the sector, both in palliative care and in rehabilitation, and invite researchers working in areas in which we are looking to undertake studies, particularly around home care. “

Dr Evans commented on the commitment of the Cicely Saunders Institute to honouring the experiences of patients and their family members, while conducting the highest standards of empirical research. She said: “We want to explore how to take robust work that is going to deliver the evidence at the same time capturing the experience of patients and families.”

Speakers at the series include international leaders in palliative care, and the programme is quite varied. Recent events include seminars on spiritual care as a dimension of palliative care, palliative care as a human right from the South African perspective, as well as Professor Joan Tenospeaking on the variation of hospice care in the USA.

The 2013 Cicely Saunders Institute Annual Lecture ‘Can (or should) palliative care meet the challenge of care for persons with long term chronic illness versus remaining in our end-of-life corner?’ was led by Dr Diane Meier and streamed live to sites in the UK and USA.

Dr Barbara Daveson, co-coordinator of the series and BuildCARE said: “The annual lecture is one of our showcase events of the year, which many policy makers and experts look forward to. In the past we have had eminentspeakers such as Professor David Currow and Dr Kathleen Foley, and we will soon release details for our lecture in 2014.”

Rowena Vohora, who works on the BuildCARE projects and assists with the coordination of the series, said: “Attendees value the series both as an educational resource and as forum for discussion and networking across disciplines.”

To find out more about the Cicely Saunders Seminar and Lecture Series, please visit the following web pages:

CSI mission –

CSI events pages-

Further information about BuildCARE –

For queries or to participate in the programme, please email Rowena Vohora

The Cicely Saunders Institute is also on Twitter – @CSI_KCL

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