In your view, what does it mean to be Executive Director of the WHPCA?
Since its inception, the WHPCA has been led by our international Board of Directors. The WHPCA has now grown to a point where we must transition from Board to staff leadership. The Board will continue to govern, but to be an effective International Non-Governmental Organisation we need to build the WHPCA into a dynamic international organisation with a staff leadership team to move us forward in helping to address the major challenges facing our field. This begins with the appointment of a chief executive and I am honored to be able to serve as the organisation’s first Executive Director.
What have been the highlights for you in working with the WHPCA in the past?
Major highlights for me have been the joint publication of the Global Atlas of Palliative Care at the End of Life with the World Health Organization, and the passage of the World Health Assembly (WHA) resolution on palliative care!
We have also made good progress in getting palliative care into the major international discourse on non-communicable disease, the sustainable development goals and universal health coverage, building World Hospice and Palliative Care Day, and the creation of ehospice.
What are your top three priorities for the WHPCA and palliative care in 2016?
- Ensuring that the actions called for in the WHA resolution on palliative care are implemented, especially in low and middle income countries.
- Expanding and nurturing our membership and partnerships with key national and international organisations; and
- Increasing financial and material support for palliative care development globally, including the core operation of the WHPCA.
In your opinion, which of the WHPCA’s activities will best assist the WHPCA members worldwide?
The hospice and palliative care community worldwide needs to share common advocacy messages to advance the field. We need to work more closely with our international, regional, and national partners to develop these messages and strategies and to raise our voice in the global community to demand change and access to care for the 40 million patients each year that need palliative care!
Is there anything else that you would like to add?
I consider it a privilege and an honour to have an opportunity to work with the Board and staff to lead the WHPCA in helping to overcome the challenges palliative care faces globally. We don’t underestimate the difficulties that lie ahead and know that it will not happen overnight but together we must make sure that “no one with a life-limiting condition should live and die with unnecessary pain and distress due to lack of access to quality palliative care.”