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Speaker Biographies

Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care Annual Conference 2015
From Worms, Butterflies and Veils to Outcomes

Professor Sheldon Solomon

Sheldon Solomon is Professor of Psychology at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs New York. His studies of the effects of the uniquely human awareness of death on behavior have been supported by the National Science Foundation and the Ernest Becker Foundation, and were featured in the award winning documentary film Flight from Death: The Quest for Immortality. He is co-author of In the Wake of 9/11: The Psychology of Terror and The Worm at the Core: On the Role of Death in Life. Sheldon is an American Psychological Society Fellow, and a recipient of an American Psychological Association Presidential Citation, a Lifetime Career Award by the International Society for Self and Identity, and the Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs Annual Faculty Award.

Miriam Johnson

MDres; FRCP; MRCP; MBChB(hons)

Miriam Johnson is Professor of Palliative Medicine at Hull York Medical School, and is Co-Director of the Supportive care, Early Diagnosis and Advanced disease (SEDA) Research group at the University of Hull and the Yorkshire and Humber Clinical Academic Training Programme Deputy Director. Her clinical and research interests include the palliation of breathlessness and palliative care for patients with advanced heart disease. The projects employ a wide range of research methodologies (clinical trials of drug or complex interventions, qualitative studies, observational, secondary data analysis, data linkage studies) and collaborative partners are involved across different disciplines and countries.

She has published widely in her field and holds grants from a variety of bodies (NIHR, NHMRC, Dunhill Medical Trust, Marie Curie Cancer Care/CRUK, Yorkshire Cancer Research, British Heart Foundation).

She is a member of the NCRI supportive and palliative care clinical study group and palliative care specialty joint lead for the Yorkshire and Humber Comprehensive Research Network. She holds clinical sessions with St. Catherine’s Hospice, and the York Foundation Hospitals NHS Trust in Scarborough, North Yorkshire and set up one of the UK’s first integrated palliative care services for people with heart failure.

Dr Fliss Murtagh, FRCP PhD MRCGP

Fliss qualified in medicine in the UK in 1986. She worked in General Practice for almost 10 years, and then undertook specialist training in palliative medicine between 2000 and 2004. She went on to undertake a PhD at King’s College London, on ‘Improving the quality of care of patients with Stage 5 Chronic Kidney Disease’ at King’s College London. She is now a Reader in Palliative Medicine at King’s College London, and works at King’s College Hospital as a palliative care consultant.

She is experienced in providing palliative care to a wide range of people with far advanced disease and their families, and has published extensively on palliative and end-of-life care needs, especially of older people and those with advanced kidney disease.

She led analytical modelling work commissioned for the Palliative Care Funding Review, and is currently working on evaluating complexity in palliative care, and mapping needs, service provision, and outcomes. She is co-leading an NIHR funded national research project to take forward recommendations from the Funding Review, and in particular, to validate a case-mix classification for palliative care, and test different models of care.

Mark Sheridan, Reader in Music and Creativity at the University of the Highlands and Islands

Mark Sheridan is Reader in Music and Creativity at the University of the Highlands and Islands and is course director for MA Music and the Environment which specialises in community engagement and social practice. He led the development of the new Applied Music Degree in 2011 at UHI and also leads the music research group across the UHI network. He has worked in music education for 35 years as academic, composer and performer with commissioned works and invited presentations, papers and events.

His compositions embrace traditional Gaelic, Celtic styles and classical art music interface and he has worked with leading performers such as Alasdair Fraser, Fred Morrison, Pat Kane and Julie Fowlis and Scottish Opera Orchestra.

He teaches composition, music in social and historical context, education and community development and applied music honours projects. His work in research and creativity encompasses community engagement, professional training for facilitators and teachers - and research in evaluation of creativity and arts activity in palliative care with children and families in Children’s Hospice Association Scotland. He is Vice-chair of the board of Fèis Rois and has led EC funded programmes on music trainers and facilitators and CPD for professional musicians during 2011-13

Shona Robison MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing & Sport

Shona Robison was born in Redcar in 1966. Educated at Alva Academy, she went on to graduate from Glasgow University with a Social Sciences MA and Jordanhill College with a Postgraduate Certificate in Community Education. Previously she worked for Glasgow City Council’s Social Work Department.

She was MSP for the North East from 1999-2003 and elected MSP for Dundee East in 2003. Latterly she was Shadow Minister for Health and Social Justice and a member of the Parliament’s Health Committee before being appointed Minister for Public Health in the Scottish Government formed after the May 2007 election.

She was re-elected at the May 5, 2011 election and appointed as Minister for Commonwealth Games & Sport. She became Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing & Sport in November 2014.

She is married to Stewart Hosie, the Westminster MP for Dundee East and SNP deputy leader. They have a daughter and live in Dundee.

Dr Deans Buchanan

Deans is a Consultant in Palliative Medicine in Ninewells Hospital, Dundee. He trained in medicine at the University of Glasgow and also undertook a BSc (Hons) in pharmacology. He completed his medical doctorate from the University of Dundee in 2010 on the unmet supportive care needs of lung cancer patients.

Following his specialist training in Palliative Medicine in Tayside, he was appointed to a Consultant post there in 2011. He is currently Lead Clinician for NHS Tayside Palliative Care. He has maintained links to research and has interests in pain management, lung cancer and dignity in care. He has recently co-authored papers on the effectiveness of the Patient Dignity Question in the acute setting.

In addition to this, he is the Co-director of the Master of Public Health (Palliative Care Research) programme at the University of Dundee and is an honorary clinical tutor for the University of Dundee. Deans is a member of the Council of the Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care.

Dr Marilyn Kendall

Dr Marilyn Kendall is a Qualitative Researcher and Senior Research Fellow with the Primary Palliative Care Research Group at the University of Edinburgh. Having completed a Ph.D. concerned with service users’ experience of severe mental illness, she has since 1999 worked with patients, and their carers, in the last year of life, on a variety of palliative care studies. She has a particular interest in narrative inquiry and service user involvement in research.

Elaine Rae, DipSW, BA Social Work, MSC Social Work, PGD Palliative Care, MA Leadership

Elaine is a senior social worker and an enthusiastic footballer. She has been manager of Patient and Family Support Services at St Vincent’s Hospice, Renfrewshire for 8 years. From 2009-2014 she co-managed an innovative child and young person’s bereavement project (known as Butterfly) across Greater Glasgow & Clyde with Linda McEnhill (Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice) and Alison Bunce (Ardgowan Hospice). Over 5 years the success of this work resulted in 594 children and young people being supported through very challenging times in their lives. 2015 has been a year of sustainability, with the three adult hospices integrating project work into their core services. After a recent engagement initiative with Renfrewshire schools, Elaine is growing her service; adding additional support needs Schools and Colleges to St Vincent’s reach. Elaine’s vision is to continue widening access while working with others to build a more compassionate community.

Dr Kirsty Boyd

Dr Kirsty Boyd is consultant in Palliative Medicine at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh where she leads the medical school Communication Programme Theme and is a member of the Primary Palliative Care Research Group. She also co-leads the Effective Communication for Healthcare education programme. Kirsty has recently been working on bringing together patient identification using the SPICT clinical indicators and an education programme to enable staff to have effective conversations with patients and their families about their goals, deteriorating health and dying that will inform better shared decision-making about treatment and care options

Patricia Brooks Young

MSc (distinct.), PGDip Pall Care, PGCTHE, FHEA, RNLPE, RMN, RGN

I am Lead Nurse for Palliative Care in NHS Lothian and hold a joint appointment with Edinburgh Napier University as Lecturer and Researcher. From a background in mental health, acute medicine and oncology within the UK and USA, I moved into to specialist palliative care almost 20 yrs ago and have since worked within hospice and hospital services. My research and development activities centre on the experience and outcomes of care for people with a life-limiting illness in the hospital setting, and I have been fortunate to work with inspiring colleagues locally, nationally and internationally in this respect. Most recent publications include the Keystone Model for Person-centred Care, a systematic review of evidence re diagnosing dying and evaluation of advanced practitioner roles in palliative care. Exploring the feasibility and acceptability of approaches to anticipatory care planning for hospital clinicians, patients and families is the focus of my current work.

Andy Lowndes, Deputy Chair, Playlist for Life


The charity Playlist for Life, encourages families and other caregivers of people living with dementia to offer on an mp3 player device such as an iPod, a thoughtfully compiled and highly personal playlist of music that has been meaningful to them during their life.

Andy Lowndes has been Deputy Chair of the charity Playlist for Life for the last two years. He is a nurse and academic and is a lecturer / researcher at Glasgow Caledonian University. He has worked in mental health care for the last 35 years, specialising in the last 16 years in the care of older people and people with dementia in all care settings. His particular interests are in the use of reminiscence and cognitive stimulation therapies.

Andy was part of Glasgow Caledonian University’s team researching an innovative and hugely successful knowledge exchange project that used football reminiscences to stimulate memory and social interaction.

For Playlist for Life, Andy brings both his dementia research background and his nursing experience to showing people how to work with a personal playlist and to training carers and volunteers.

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