Dr Katherine Sleeman appointed to new Professorship in Palliative Care

5th February 2021

Dr Sleeman is the first person appointed to the new endowed Laing Galazka Chair.

Dr Katherine Sleeman is the inaugural appointee to the Isobel Laing Michal Galazka Chair in Palliative Care, to be known as the Laing Galazka Chair, a new endowed Professorship in the Faculty. The introduction of this new Chair will enhance and strengthen the research the Faculty delivers to transform health care and services for the future palliative care and ageing populations.

Katherine is currently an NIHR Clinician Scientist and Reader in the Cicely Saunders Institute of Palliative Care, Policy & Rehabilitation and is an Honorary Consultant in palliative medicine at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Katherine was the first person to hold an NIHR Clinician Scientist Fellowship in Palliative Medicine, and she has an international research reputation. Her work focuses on the use of large datasets to understand patterns of care before death particularly for people with dementia, and the intersection between palliative care and policy. In 2019, Katherine was the first to be awarded the European Association for Palliative Care Award for Women in Palliative Care, in recognition of her work as part of the Cicely Saunders Institute Athena Swan team, analysing gender bias at palliative care conferences.

As the Laing Galazka Chair, Katherine will play a pivotal role in the academic work of the Cicely Saunders Institute and the Faculty. She will lead applied health services research, clinical research and education focused on palliative care, older people, people with dementia and the interface between these. Katherine will develop innovative methods of cross-sector stakeholder engagement, particularly policy engagement, to ensure that the research findings are used to improve outcomes for patients, carers, and society. Underpinning these activities are the objectives of the donor charities, The Kirby Laing Foundation and Cicely Saunders International, which are to prioritise research that reflects the national demographic of an increasingly ageing population, including the care and health services of older people needing palliative care. Michal Galazka, a long-time collaborator and friend to Cicely Saunders International and to the Institute, who led the Hospice Education Institute, USA, and The Atlantic Philanthropies made pivotal support to Cicely Saunders International to enable this Professorship to be realised. 

I am thrilled and honoured to be appointed as the inaugural Laing Galazka Chair in Palliative Care. I am excited about building a programme of research in palliative care for older people and those with dementia and developing innovative cross-sector stakeholder engagement to ensure that the research is used to drive change. As a world-leading centre for palliative care, policy and rehabilitation, the Cicely Saunders Institute is the ideal place to build this vision. I am indebted to the colleagues, collaborators and friends who have supported me in my career to date and look forward to growing impactful collaborations within the Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery & Palliative Care, across King’s and externally. I am hugely grateful to the funders of the Chair, The Kirby Laing Foundation and Cicely Sanders International, for this wonderful opportunity.

– Dr Katherine Sleeman, inaugural appointee to the Laing Galazka Chair

Katherine will be delivering her research programme and play a leading role in nurturing clinical and non-clinical early career researchers and students (including PhD and MSc students) to build the field for the future. 

Professor Irene Higginson, Director of the Cicely Saunders Institute and Faculty Vice Dean (Research) said:  

‘I am delighted that Katherine will be our first ever Laing Galazka Chair. The donor charities have shown great leadership in this transformational endowment. We are extremely grateful to The Kirby Laing Foundation, Cicely Saunders International, The Atlantic Philanthropies and the Hospice Education Institute, and their trustees and officers, and to the family of Michal Galazka. Michal was a pioneer of international hospice education and a great mentor and friend to me personally. It is a tribute to his and our donor charities vision that the post attracted so many strong, internationally competitive applicants.

Katherine has been with the Cicely Saunders Institute for some years and has made an enormous impact on palliative and end of life care for patients and those important to them, through her research, education, and policy. I am excited to see what Katherine will achieve in her new role and the impactful programme of research and partnerships she will deliver.’

Katherine will take up her Professorship in March 2021. You can find out more about her research through the links listed below.

Key links

More about Dr Katherine Sleeman’s research:

About Michal Galazka https://cicelysaundersamericas.org/index.php?page=michal-galazka