Queen’s welcomes new partnership with Lakeridge Health on Chair in Palliative Care Research
Last Thursday, I hosted our annual reception to recognize members of our faculty who had recently been promoted. It is always a pleasure to see so many familiar faces and celebrate some important career milestones, but this reception was made even more special by the faculty’s good fortune in naming several new chairs over the last year. That night, it was a thrill for me to introduce Dr. José Pereira as the inaugural Dr. Gillian Gilchrist Chair in Palliative Care Research to our community for the first time.
Chairs are a very important part of our academic culture and send a strong message about the quality of our university’s scholarship and the investment that others have made in Queen’s future. But this chair is a unique one, in that it draws on a partnership with Lakeridge Health in Oshawa, and it is the first academic chair in palliative care based at a community hospital in Canada. In this position, Dr. Pereira will lead palliative care research in the Durham region sites and contribute to our palliative care program and our Department of Family Medicine here at Queen’s.
“As we look ahead and plan for the future, we know that we’ll need to grow and develop our services to help meet the demand for palliative care in our region,” says Matthew Anderson, Lakeridge President and CEO. “Dr. Pereira’s extensive expertise will help deepen our knowledge in this important area of healthcare so that we can improve the quality of life for more of our patients and their families in our community.”
First announced in February 2016, the chair was made possible by a very generous donation from Dr. Hak Ming Chiu and Mrs. Deborah Chiu, who named it in honour of Dr. Gillian Gilchrist, Medical Director of the Palliative Care Team at Oshawa General until her retirement in the mid 1990s. I am sure that our donors are delighted that we’ve found a chair recipient so passionate and devoted to this field as Dr. Gilchrist was.
Years ago, Dr. Pereira was working as a family doctor out west when a patient with cancer was in pain and came to see him and asked him for help, explaining that “the Demerol shots weren’t working.” He replied, “that’s all we can give you and I’m sorry I can’t help you any further,” but he was plagued by his patient’s reaction.
Soon after, he heard there was a course for family doctors in Hamilton to help equip them with basic palliative care skills, but when he called for a spot so he could learn how to help that particular patient, he was told that they were filled. Undaunted, he went anyhow and asked them to let him in. When they finally did, he was completely inspired and it changed his life.
In the subsequent years, Dr. Pereira went on to found the organization Pallium, which helps equip primary care providers with fundamental information on palliative care. It is one of many prestigious appointments that he holds within this expanding and challenging field of work.
In short, we are so grateful to have Dr. Pereira join Queen’s in this critical role. I have no doubt that both Queen’s and our partners at Lakeridge Health will benefit greatly from his knowledge, expertise, and dedication to his work.
Please join me in welcoming Dr. Pereira to his new role in the comments below.