Primary Care

Palliative care still only reaches a minority of potential beneficiaries and is often introduced too late to prevent much distress. People with multi-morbidities and non-malignant conditions, frailty and dementia are still less likely to receive any form of palliative care than those with cancer. To gain universal coverage, a coordinated primary care and public health approach is necessary. Our vision is that palliative care is fully integrated in primary care systems internationally so that all patients have early access to a palliative care approach in the community (in their own home and in residential care facilities). We also believe that local communities should be involved in providing care and support.

Aims & Objectives
  1. Promote integration of primary care as an essential element of national palliative care frameworks, and palliative care as an essential element of national primary care frameworks.
  2. Foster training and educational development in timely palliative care for all primary care health professionals, at both undergraduate and graduate levels.
  3. Advocate that primary care practitioners providing palliative care have adequate resources and professional support to encourage safe and effective practice, and to promote health equity for people with life-threatening illnesses.
  4. Provide collegiate support to primary care practitioners as they develop evidence- based approaches to high quality primary palliative care.
  5. Support and develop research opportunities in primary palliative care – across EU countries.
  6. Identify mechanisms to support primary palliative care in all countries, with a specific focus on lower and middle income countries.
group chairs primary care Tania Pastrana and Sebastien Moine

The Reference Group is chaired by Tania Pastrana, Assistant Professor for Global Palliative Care, Aachen, Germany and Sebastian Moine, UK

Executive Committe

Tania Pastrana

Tania Pastrana - Germany

Co-chair - MD PD

Brings her exceptional experience and insight into this role. Tania graduated as GP from Universidad de Caldas, Colombia. At the University of Munich, she studied Sociology, Social Anthropology and Social Psychology and obtained a doctorate in Psychosomatic Medicine and Medical Anthropology at the University of Munich and Max Planck Institute. She has a master in Community Health (University of Heidelberg, Germany) and other in Medical Education (University of Heidelberg, Germany). She concluded her postdoctoral training (Habilitation) in Global Palliative Care at the University of Aachen. She was elected president at the Latin American Association for Palliative Care for two periods (2016- 2020) and was member of the executive board of the WHPCA (2016-2018) and is research and academic adviser at the International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care (IAHPC). She collaborates with the World Health Organization in different projects. Tania works in development of palliative care, focusing on advocacy, research, education and access to (controlled) essential medicines. She is author of several journal articles and book chapters. Tania lives in Aachen, Germany, where she works as Assistant Professor for Global Palliative Care. She loves dancing and travelling around the world.

Matthew Grant - Netherlands

Co-chair

Is a Palliative Medicine Physician, General Practitioner and Senior Research Fellow. He originally trained in Australia, and moved to the Netherlands where continues to combine clinical work in General Practice / palliative care with research work as an assistant professor at UMC Utrecht. He is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at University of Melbourne and St Vincent’s Hospital. His research focusing on better integration of primary and informal care for patients with chronic incurable illnesses, including the social and ethical implications of illness.

Alberto Meléndez Gracia - Spain

Studied Medicine at the University of Navarra, Pamplona (Spain). After graduating, he worked at the Hospital San Juan de Dios (1995-1997), where he was introduced to Palliative Care. Between 1997 and 2000 he trained as a Family Doctor. In 2000, he started the Master in Palliative Medicine at the University of Valladolid and at the same time was working as a Family Doctor in Vitoria (Álava, Spain). In 2003, he started the Primary Care Support Team in Navarra. In 2007, he started a similar work in the region where he live that has led to his current work in the team of Palliative Medicine of the OSI Araba (Osakidetza-Basque Country, Spain). Between 2016 and 2021, he was vice-president of Secpal (Spanish palliative care society). And from 2013 to 2023, he was president of Arinduz – Basque Palliative Care Society.

Carlos Seiça Cardoso - Portugal

Is a Portuguese family physician, lecturer at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Coimbra, and researcher at the Palliative, End of Life and Bereavement Care research group at the same institution, with research in primary palliative care.

PhD in health sciences, focusing on the development and evaluation of a new consultation model for people with palliative needs delivered by family physicians. Already with previous collaboration with the reference group, collaborating and assisting others in the translation of tools such as the Toolkit for the development of palliative primary care and SPICT-4All.

David Fearon - UK

Is a family doctor on the Isle of Lewis in North-West Scotland, and a teaching fellow in Family Medicine at the University of Edinburgh. He worked for several years in Mauritania, West Africa, where he started a primary palliative care service and completed a PhD exploring the experiences of women with advanced breast cancer. Since then, he has continued to build on his experiences of cross cultural, primary palliative care provision and research across Africa and Asia. He continues to try and better understand global palliative care, planetary health, sustainability, compassion and spirituality.

Dan Munday

I have been involved in primary palliative care for over thirty years, first as a GP in Scotland and then in an academic capacity at University of Warwick where we evaluated the Macmillan Gold Standard’s Framework. My interests were in the interface between primary and palliative care which I studied in my PhD whilst also working as a community consultant in palliative medicine in Coventry, a post-industrial city with a population of 300,000. Since 2013, I have been working mainly in South Asia developing primary palliative care mainly in Nepal and India. In 2021, with colleagues in the region I convened the Asia Pacific Primary Palliative Care Group and remain an advisor to the group.

Professor Dr Danica Rotar Pavlič - Slovenia

Core Member - Ph.D. med

Is a specialist in family medicine and a lecturer at the Faculty of Medicine in Ljubljana and at the Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of Primorska. In the family medicine outpatient practice in Brezovica near Ljubljana, she cares for defined patients as a selected doctor and participates in the outpatient clinic for patients without doctor. In her work, she is mainly interested in the management of patients who belong to vulnerable groups, preventive activities, management of people with chronic (cardiovascular) diseases in the practice of family medicine, problems of communication between doctor and patient, the influence of the family and social environment on commitment to treatment, and specific conditions in the third period of life – geriatrics.

Irena Laska - Albania

Is Executive Director of “Mary Potter” Palliative Care Center since 2004. Leading an interdisciplinary team of medical doctors, nurses, social worker, financial officer etc.

  • Mrs. Laska is the country leader for palliative care.
  • National trainer and advocator.
  • Lecture of PC in the bachelor’s and master’s degree.
  • Leader of the group of lectures who teach palliative care in all Nursing faculties in the country. Responsible for palliative care curriculum and its continuous update.
  • Member of National Working group for Palliative Care; in preparing the law of palliative care and developing it further.

Really involved in bringing change in the health institutions and integrate palliative care within public health care. She is leader of a training group for the development and reorganization of Primary Health Care in Albania, focusing on home-based care since 2020

Maria Bouri - Greece

Is a primary care doctor in Athens, Greece, specialised in paediatrics. She holds a PhD in palliative care education (National & Kapodistrian University of Athens), a Diploma in Palliative Medicine (University of Wales, UK) and an MA in Medical Humanities (University of Wales, Swansea, UK). Since 2001, she works in primary care for families, including those facing incurable conditions. She is also affiliated at the University of West Attica, Department of Community and Public Health, providing part-time teaching and involved in research on primary palliative care and community health. Her clinical and research interests include: training health professionals to support palliative care in the community, health-promoting/ public health palliative care and incorporating humanities in the education of health professionals.

Maria Bouri

Simone Cernesi - Italy

Is a Family Medicine Physician with a Master’s in Palliative Care, Geriatric Medicine and Medical Humanities. Based in Modena (Italy). He attended the European Palliative Care Academy (EUPCA) leadership course in 2015-2017 and works as a Palliative Primary Care Consultant. He is a member of the Italian Palliative Care Society (SICP) and the Italian Society of Family Medicine (SIMG). Current member of the SICP Regional Board (Emilia-Romagna) and IAHPC member and Italian Advocacy focal point. He attended training abroad: CUN Pamplona, MDACC Houston, Amsterdam, Rotterdam and other countries during EUPCA. The right of older persons and migrants to receive palliative care is the subject of participation in the 73 RC WHO Europe in Astana and participation in the OEWGA. Simone collaborates with EDUCARE UNIMORE on partnership projects with patients and caregivers.
Simone Cernesi

Kirsten Wentlandt - Canada

International Advisor

Is a palliative care physician from Toronto, is the W. Gifford-Jones Professor in Pain Control and Palliative Care, and Head of the Division of Palliative Care at the University of Toronto. Before completing her family medicine and palliative care training, she also completed a PhD, and in her residency did a Masters in Health Sciences (Health Administration). Her clinical work and research are focused on palliative care integration in primary care and in non-malignant populations (advanced lung, heart, pulmonary hypertension and transplant populations).  She has also been known to sit on various international, national and regional committees that focus on developing strategies to improve access to quality palliative care. 

Scott Murray - UK

General advisor and founder

Emeritus Professor of Primary Palliative Care at the University of Edinburgh. He founded a research and teaching unit within the department of General Practice at Edinburgh University in 1999 so that people with life-threatening illnesses might access personalised supportive care from diagnosis of any progressive illness. He has published widely in the BMJ, Lancet and specialist journals, and publicly advocates for “early palliative care in primary care” internationally. Ten years ago he established the EAPC Primary Care Reference Group to fast-forward palliative care in Primary Care internationally,and has recently helped establish similar networks in Africa, Asia-Pacific region and South America.

Scott Murray

Nicole Forster - Ireland

Group Convener Manager

Nicole is the Development Officer in Irish Hospice Foundation’s Dying Well at Home programme. Her background is in social work, community development, adult education, and palliative care, all of which have supported her to work with and learn from individuals and families around areas such as housing insecurity, mental health and wellbeing, grief, and loss. Nicole is especially interested in how social justice practices can be integrated into models of care to increase accessibility to them and safety within them.