This series introduces candidates for the European Association for Palliative Care Board of Directors who will be standing for election (or in some cases re-election) in May 2015. We hope the blog posts provide an opportunity for candidates to explain more about themselves and how they might contribute to the EAPC and the palliative care community more generally. Board members are nominated by national associations or, in a few cases, by individual members. They are elected as individuals to service the EAPC for a four-year term, with one additional opportunity to be re-elected. The EAPC is keen to have Board members from all disciplines, at all stages of their career, and from all parts of Europe.
The series continues today with Tiina Saarto, Professor of Palliative Medicine at Helsinki University and Chief Physician of the Helsinki University Central Hospital, Cancer Center, Palliative Care Unit, Finland.
I am a clinical oncologist and palliative care physician. I have been working in the Cancer Center of Helsinki University Central Hospital for 25 years. For the past 15 years I have been in charge of palliative care in the clinic and in our hospital district as chief physician of the palliative care unit. Since February 2014 I have been a professor of palliative medicine in Helsinki University.
I fully support the World Health Organization vision to improve integration of palliative care into healthcare systems. I regard the early integration of palliative care with other therapies that are intended to prolong life as essential – palliative care is much wider than end-of–life care. With chronic, life-threatening illness patients need continuous palliative care throughout the disease trajectory, including treatment of disease and treatment related symptoms, psychosocial support, spiritual care, rehabilitation, and finally end-of-life care. As a current board member of the EAPC, I have been particularly involved in working with the integration of palliative care and oncology in collaboration with oncology societies.
My other special interest is palliative care education. As a professor of palliative medicine, I am responsible for the education of medical students. We have a close Nordic collaboration organising education for postgraduate students and in 2007 I was involved in developing special competence for palliative medicine for physicians. In addition, I participated in the EAPC Task Force on Specialization for Physicians. Right now I am working on the undergraduate curriculum for palliative medicine at Helsinki University. My future task is to organise formal palliative care educational programmes for physicians and other healthcare professionals, both for undergraduate and postgraduate students, with the help of EAPC task forces.
My research interest is palliative care of cancer patients, in particular quality of life and rehabilitation. I am also involved in studies on spiritual care, health economics and palliative care pathways in different diseases. I have seven PhD students.
Being in charge of the palliative care unit in the University Hospital, with long-standing experience in clinical care, teaching and research, I would like to share my experience and collaborate with other European palliative care specialists in the development of palliative care across Europe and worldwide.
Medicine and research are not just a job for me, but they are also my passion. Nevertheless, everyone needs a break and away from work I enjoy gardening and getting out in the fresh air.
More about the EAPC Board elections…
EAPC Board elections take place on Saturday 9 May from 10.00 am until 3.00 pm in room 171 of the Congress Center. If you are a member of the EAPC and eligible to vote please do go along and place your vote. Members can find more information on voting procedures and all the candidates standing for election on the EAPC website. (Members will need to login to access these pages).
We are also publishing candidates’ posts on the EAPC Blog in the run-up to the elections. Click here to read previous posts from other candidates.
Are you coming to Copenhagen?
See you at the 14th World Congress of the European Association for Palliative Care – Copenhagen, Denmark, 8-10 May 2015. Download the final programme and book of abstracts.
Follow us on Twitter @EAPCOnlus – our official congress hashtag is #eapc2015