Dignity Worldwide

Dignity in Care is gaining momentum around the globe with the aid of international research and collaboration. The worldwide team includes distinguished researchers and champions of dignity based in Australia, Europe and the United States.


Linda Kristjanson, RN, PhD

Professor Kristjanson has helped research the Patient Dignity Inventory, Patient Dignity Question and Dignity Therapy. She is Deputy-Vice Chancellor Research and Development for Curtin University in Perth, Australia, and from 2000 to 2006 was the Chair of Palliative Care for the Western Australian Centre for Cancer and Palliative Care, where she remains a senior researcher. She was also a member of the National Health and Medical Research Council from 2003 to 2006.

As a researcher, Professor Kristjanson has published more than 200 refereed papers and chapters, and has received $30 million in competitive research grants from organizations in Canada, the U.S. and Australia. In 2002 she was chosen Australian Business Woman of the Year for her entrepreneurial work in health research and science.

Liz Lobb, BAE, M.App.Sci, PhD

At Calvary Health Care in Sydney, Australia, Dr. Lobb is preparing to lead a controlled trial on use of the Patient Dignity Inventory to improve couples communication about end-of-life issues. She was involved with Dignity Therapy trials in Perth, and later collaborated on developing a protocol for expanding the therapy to patients with advanced breast and ovarian cancer.

Dr. Lobb has collaborated on multi-disciplinary clinical studies in oncology, haematology, cancer genetics and palliative care since 1996, and has worked clinically as a bereavement counsellor for 16 years. Her research interests include communication of prognosis, the process of genetic counselling, and complicated grief.

She is the Cunningham Centre for Palliative Care’s Associate Professor of Palliative Care at Calvary Health Centre Sydney, as well as an Adjunct Associate Professor at Curtin University of Technology and Notre Dame University.

United Kingdom

Sue Hall, BSc, PhD, CPsychol

Dr. Hall is a Charted Health Psychologist working in the Department of Palliative Care, Policy and Rehabilitation at King’s College London. She has collaborated on research exploring the views of older people in care homes on maintaining dignity, and she is now conducting two Phase II RCTs of Dignity Therapy. The first (in the analysis stage) involves 60 older people living in care homes. The second, involving 40 people with advanced cancer who have been referred to hospital-based palliative care teams, is nearing completion.

Dr. Hall’s research program also includes a new publication for the World Health Organization, Palliative Care for Older People: Better Practices, as well as studies of symptom burden for older people in care homes and end-of-life care in care homes.

Irene Higginson, BMedSci, BM, BS, FFPHM, PhD, FRCP

Professor Higginson has dual training in palliative medicine and epidemiology/public health, and has led national and international multidisciplinary collaboration in palliative care. For the past 10 years she has been Head of Department and Professor of Palliative Care and Policy at King’s College London, where her department has been designated a WHO Collaborating Centre for Palliative Care. She was awarded an Order of the British Empire in 2008.

Her publications include more than 250 scientific papers and 14 books, and she is an advisor to many governments in research and policy in palliative care. Professor Higginson has developed the Support Team Assessment Schedule and the Palliative Care Outcome Scale, tools used widely in the UK and other countries. She is leading the assessment strand of the NCRI Supportive and Palliative Care Collaborative COMPASS, and is working on two European Palliative/End of Life Collaboratives.

United States

William Breitbart, MD

Dr. Breitbart was Co-Investigator of a NIH-funded randomized control trial of Dignity Therapy that took place in Perth, Australia, New York City, U.S., and Winnipeg, Canada. His research on psychiatric aspects of palliative care has focused on interventions for anxiety, depression, desire for death and delirium in cancer and AIDS patient. He recently developed and tested Meaning-Centered Psychotherapy, a novel intervention aimed at sustaining meaning and improving spiritual well-being in the terminally ill, and a textbook is in the works.

At the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, Dr. Breitbart is Chief of the Psychiatry Service, Vice-Chairman and Attending Psychiatrist of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, as well as Attending Psychiatrist of the Pain and Palliative Care Service. He is also a Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Cornell University. His numerous honours include lifetime achievement awards from the Society for Liaison Psychiatry and the International Psycho-oncology Society. Since 2003 he has been Editor-in-Chief of the international journal Palliative and Supportive Care.

Linda Emanuel, BA, MA, PhD, MB, MD

Dr. Emanuel is working on ways to include Dignity Therapy as a standard palliative care service, particularly in hospices. She is also is the Founder and Principal of the Education in Palliative and End-of-Life Care Project and the Patient Safety Education Project.

As an educator, Dr. Emanuel currently serves as the Buehler Professor of Geriatrics and Director of the Center on Aging, Health and Society at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, and as an Adjunct Professor at the Kellogg School of Management. In the last decade she has served as Deputy Editor of the Archives of Internal Medicine and Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Organizational Ethics. Her recent honours include the Pellegrino Award for lifetime achievement in medical ethics.