28 August 2012
Swinburne Vice-Chancellor Professor Linda Kristjanson has been awarded the Bethlehem Griffiths Research Foundation (BGRF) Medal for her contributions to palliative care research and education over the past three decades. Professor Kristjanson’s pioneering work has resulted in better symptom management and a reduction in psychological distress for palliative care patients as well as more effective support for their families.
In making the award, BGRF Chairman Mr William Clancy said:
Professor Kristjanson has played a major role in the recognition of palliative care as a legitimate medical specialty. This has made it possible to extend the benefits of her research beyond the cancer population to assist the aged as well as children and other patients with terminal diseases.
Throughout her career, Professor Kristjanson has attracted an impressive $30 million in competitive research grants from national bodies in Canada, the USA and Australia and has published more than 200 refereed journal articles and chapters on palliative care. In 1997 Professor Kristjanson migrated to Australia and was appointed the inaugural Chair of Palliative Care, funded by the Cancer Council of Western Australia, where she established the West Australian Centre for Cancer and Palliative Care- collocated at Edith Cowan University and Curtin University. In accepting the award, Professor Kristjanson said:
When I started nursing cancer patients in Canada in the late 1970s, so little was known about pain management that it was not unusual to blame patients for their low pain threshold. My feelings of frustration and not being able to adequately respond to the pain and distress of advanced cancer patients compelled me to become an early pioneer in palliative care research in the early 1980s.
Past winners of the BGRF medal have included some of Australia’s top researchers including: Professor Ian Maddocks, Professor Claude Bernard, Professor Frederick Mendelsohn, Professor Colin Masters, Professor Geoffrey Donnan, Professor Sam Berkovic, Professor Philip Beart and most recently, Professor Stephen Davis.