An international expert in end-of-life care has been appointed Perron Institute Research Chair in Palliative Care at The University of Western Australia.

Professor Samar Aoun joined the Perron Institute as head of Palliative Care Research in 2018 and is an international leader in promoting and advocating for a public health approach to palliative and end-of-life care. Professor Aoun has published extensively and her research has fed into policy and practice guidelines at national and international levels.

In her role as Chair, Professor Aoun will focus on developing models of integrated care which mobilise community assets, better primary care engagement, and improved partnerships between specialist and generalist services.

Other areas target improved models of care for non-cancer conditions such as motor neurone disease (MND), dementia, other neurodegenerative conditions and organ failure, increasing support for family carers, grief and bereavement support, and improving the levels of health literacy and grief and death literacy around end-of-life and palliative care.

“My overall aim is for palliative care to be accessible to everyone, everywhere,” Professor Aoun said.

“The ethos underpinning my research sees the community as an equal partner in the long and complex task of providing quality health care at the end of life. End-of-life care is everyone’s responsibility, not just those working in healthcare services,” she said.

“My work focuses on the core issues of the public health approach such as building community capacity, creating constructive collaboration between formal and informal care networks and addressing inequalities that lead to skewed provision of end-of-life care.”

Professor Aoun is chair of the South West Compassionate Communities Network, which she co-founded in 2018.

“The aim of setting up this network is to ensure that every person, every family and every community knows what to do when someone is caring, dying or grieving,” she said.

Compassionate Communities is a global movement that encourages social networks to play a much stronger role in supporting those at the end-of-life; increasing people’s sense of connectedness to their community.

Professor Aoun has won many awards including a Centenary Medal, Rotary International Paul Harris Fellowship, Eleanor Mounsher Medal and a Medal for Excellence from the European Society for Person Centred Healthcare.

Professor Aoun is President of the MND Association in Western Australia, a Director of the MND Australia Board, a member of the Scientific Committee of MND Research Australia and Palliative Care WA. At the international level, she is a member of the Public Health Palliative Care reference group of the European Association of Palliative Care the EAPC task force on Last Aid and Public Palliative Care Education and Public Health Palliative Care International.

Professor Aoun has established and chaired the West Australian Country Health Services Research Ethics Committee for 23 years. She has served on two principal National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) committees (2012-15): the Australian Health Ethics Committee and the Prevention and Community Health Committee. She also chaired NHMRC grant review panels over several years.

Announcing the appointment, Perron Institute Chair, Professor Alan Robson AO CitWA, said Professor Aoun had an impressive record of achievement.

“We warmly congratulate her and look forward to her continued excellent contribution,” he said.

“Perron Institute is proud to be partnering with UWA in this exciting new role.”

Professor Anna Nowak, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) at UWA, said Professor Aoun would bring valuable expertise and leadership to the position.

“I have been aware of Professor Aoun’s innovative work in Palliative Care for a number of years,” Professor Nowak said. “She is an exceptional contributor to her field, and I am delighted that she will be bringing her expertise to UWA and further strengthening our partnership with the Perron Institute”.

Tennille Kroemer (Perron Institute Communications Manager) 0426 044 223
Simone Hewett (UWA Media and PR Manager) 08 6488 3229 / 0432 637 716