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The Gillian Gilchrist Chair in Palliative Care Research: A Queen’s – Lakeridge Health Partnership

On Friday we celebrated the establishment of a new chair in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Queen’s.

This chair, which will be dedicated to palliative care research, will be unique, in that it stems from a partnership between Lakeridge Health (LH) and Queen’s. The intent is to attract an academic palliative care physician who will do his or her clinical work in the Durham Region and have protected time for scholarly work, done out of Queen’s.

The genesis of the chair comes from the generosity of Dr. Hak Ming Chiu and Deborah Chiu. Dr. Chiu is a medical oncologist at LH and Debbie worked as an emergency room nurse for 14 years. She then moved to a small oncology clinic, finding a special passion in this work. Over the next number of years she helped the clinic grow and built a close connection with Dr. Gillian Gilchrist.

Together, Dr. Chiu and Debbie decided they wanted to give back to their community and developed the notion of an academic chair in palliative care. They approached the CEO of LH, Kevin Empey, who suggested to the Chius that they consider working with Queen’s to develop the chair. This stemmed from a growing and vital partnership between LH and Queen’s. In the last few years we have significantly increased our studentship at LH. We have a longstanding family medicine residence program in Oshawa, and emerging plans to develop an integrated clerkship at this site. Dr. Gillian Gilchrist was the Medical Director of the Palliative Care Team at Oshawa General until she retired in the mid 90’s. She was also considered a pioneer in providing palliative hospice care within her community. Dr. Gilchirst’s interest in palliative medicine started in the 70’s and she was the driving force behind the establishment of the first palliative care unit at Oshawa General Hospital (now a part of LH). She staffed the unit, co-opted other clinicians and volunteers to work there, nurtured its development and fostered its growth.

At the LHEARN center at Lakeridge, a center developed by LH and Queen’s to support our joint educational mission, Mr. Empey hosted a lovely ceremony attended by over a hundred members of LH and Queen’s staff, the Mayor of Oshawa, and friends and colleagues of the Chius and the Gilchrists. Dr. Deborah Dudgeon, the W. Ford Connell Professor of Palliative Medicine at Queen’s gave presentation outlining the importance of such a chair at Queen’s. This was followed by a moving account from Dr. Gilchrist of the development of palliative care in the Durham region and the Chius spoke eloquently of their desire to support this academic initiative.

If you have any thoughts about this gift, or about palliative care research, respond to the blog, or better yet…please drop by the Macklem House, my door is always open.



john arber, medicine 1971

Mon, 06/26/2017 - 14:04

Dean Reznick. This couldn’t come at a better time with the current controversy and dilemma surrounding end of life issues and assisted dying, especially with the punitive odour coming from the college. I wish this project all speed and success.

john arber, medicine 1971

 Dear John,

Thanks for your comments on the chair. We are all very excited about recruiting a palliative care scholar.

I would comment that the association between palliative care and physician assisted death is very complex, and there widely disparate views in the intersection between palliative care and PAD. I do know that the focus of our search will be for someone who wants to further research into better ways of delivering palliative care, in its truest interpretation.

All my best.



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