Speakers (A - Z)

Glenn headshot

Glenn Mbah Afungchwi – Grief, Dying and Death during a pandemic
Childhood Cancer Programme Coordinator
Mbingo Baptist Hospital, Cameroon

Dr Glenn Afungchwi is coordinator for the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services twinning programme with Stellenbosch University and World Child Cancer in Cameroon, and Assistant lecturer at the Baptist Institute of Health Sciences. He holds a BSN from the University of Buea Cameroon, an MPH from University of Roehampton UK and a PhD in pediatrics from the Stellenbosch University South Africa with a focus in childhood cancer nurse training and advocacy. Glenn chairs the research and education committee of the Cameroon Nurses Association and contributes to pediatric oncology nursing development in Africa and other resource-limited settings is his roles as steering committee member for the Collaborative African Network for Childhood Cancer Care and Research and Sub-Saharan Africa Nursing Network for Pediatric Oncology. He is a board member of the International Society of Pediatric Oncology (SIOP) Africa and a member of the SIOP Nursing Baseline Standards taskforce.


Mohammed Alqaddi
Nurse Educator

Mohamed Alqadi worked as a nurse educator at the Augusta Victoria Hospital, who leads the training and education for the nurses at this haematology and oncology and radiation center for both Paediatrics and adult patients. Mohammed had his Higher diploma degree in Paediatric Palliative care, as a pioneer program in the country, the program was managed by UK instructors over two years at Bethlehem University.

This was the road map to plan and ease education and training in the field, since the palliative care is a pioneer service initiated by our hospital to serve our palliative patients. The role of the nurse educator was initiated to be up to date with the education and training requirements. The hospital is JCIA licensed, so as the training were competency-based manner for all the health care providers working inside this hospital.

Shenila Anwarali headshot

Ms Shenila Anwarali – COVID-19 Pandemic: Challenges for Pediatric Oncology in Pakistan
Clinical Nurse Specialist Pediatric Oncology
The Indus Hospital

My name is Shenila Anwarali and I am a registered nurse by profession. Currently I am working as a Clinical Nurse Specialist for Pediatric Oncology at the Indus Hospital, Karachi, Pakistan. I have been working for Pediatric Oncology since past 5 years, previously have been associated with Neurology for 4 year. I have completed by Post RN BSCN from Aga Khan University Hospital in 2013 and Diploma in Pediatric Oncology Nursing in 2017 from Islamic Mission School of Nursing. I have prevented various abstracts at International Society of Pediatric Oncology Conferences as well as at Pakistan Society of Pediatric Oncology. I have been on the blogging team Young Investigators of SIOP and recently published an article on nursing research in lower middle income country. I am passionate of improving Pediatric Oncology Nursing in Pakistan.

Maru Barrera

Dr. Maru Barrera, MA, Ph.D., C. Psych – The Mental Health Effects of COVID-19 in Pediatric Oncology in Canada
Clinician Scientist
SickKids Hospital

Dr. Barrera is a pediatric health psychologist and clinician scientist at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and has been working in pediatric oncology for over 25 years. As a clinician, she is passionate about hearing the voices of children within the context of the family and addressing the psychosocial needs of all family members. Her research program has included quantitative and qualitative longitudinal and cross-sectional studies describing the psychosocial impact of childhood cancer diagnosis and treatment on the child/adolescent, siblings and caregivers, during and after treatment ends. In addition, she continues to examine the importance of systematic, routine psychosocial screening for implementation in clinical care. She has developed and systematically
assessed psychosocial interventions to address identified needs in the youth and their families. Her research has been funded by national (e.g., CCSRI) and international (e.g., NIH, ACS) organizations; she has published over 150 articles in the field. Being a Mexican-Canadian, she is particularly interested in assisting psychosocial health provider in Hispanic countries with low to middle income.

nikolina dodlek

Nikolina Dodlek, MSc  – Oncology Nursing Workforce during Covid-19 – a global perspective”
Lead Nurse of subdepartment, Oncology Inpatient Unit
University Hospital Center Osijek, Croatia, Department for Oncology

Nikolina Dodlek is MSc cancer nurse, YCN Co-Chair and EONS Executive Board Member. She is working at the University Hospital Center Osijek, Croatia, in the Department for Oncology for 11 years now, currently as a shift manager and lead nurse of one of the subdepartments in inpatient Unit, working with younger adult and adult patients ongoing chemo, immuno and radiation therapy, acute oncology and end of life care. From 2015. she is working also at the J.J.Strossmayer University as a teaching assistant and mentoring nursing students. Nikolina is a Secretary, Co-founder and Executive Board Member of Croatian Oncology Nursing Society and also co-founder of Young Cancer Nurses Network in Croatia, where she has established education for young cancer nurses, admitted and approved by Croatian Nursing Council. She is passionate about evidence based clinical practice, research, and education of young nurses, alongside with direct patient care.

Myrna Resize

Dr. Myrna A. A. Doumit -Nursing in the midst of chaos; a leadership approach
Associate Professor
Lebanese American University, Alice Ramez Chagoury School of Nursing

Myrna A. A. Doumit, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN is a tenured founding Associate Professor and Assistant Dean (2011- Dec 2020) at the Lebanese American University (LAU), School of Nursing since 2011. Dr Doumit served as a nursing faculty at AUBSON from 1990-2010. Dr. Doumit was the first hired full time faculty after the appointment of the founding Dean. Therefore, she played an instrumental role in founding the School of Nursing at LAU. She served as lead faculty for the CCNE accreditation and was able to get it twice until 2028. Dr Doumit also served on many school and university committees. Dr Doumit’s scholarship reflects her expertise in oncology nursing, palliative care and nursing workforce. Her publications shed the light for the first time on many gray areas in the field of oncology in Lebanon that were not explored or discussed. She is a co-founder of an NGO “ Awareness” for breast cancer. Dr Doumit is the founding and director of the community project “Courage against breast cancer”.Dr. Myrna Doumit is the immediate past President of the Order of Nurses in Lebanon (2018-2021) and a Fellow at the American Academy of Nursing. She is also a member on the Lebanese Ministry of Public Health National committees for breast cancer awareness and palliative care and pain. Dr Doumit is a representative of the Lebanese Ministry of Public Health on the Arab Nursing Council for Health and she is the interim president of the Nursing and midwifery Scientific council.. She is a founding member of the Chi Iota Chapter at AUBSON(STTI). She also served as the Coordinator of the STTI Middle East region (2015-2017). She is a reviewer for many international nursing journals. Dr Doumit is a member of the Groupe de Reflexion sur L’Ethique en Mediterranee (GREM). She served on the Organizing committee for ISNCC international conferences since 2011. In 2018 Dr Doumit received the past President Award from ISNCC for her work in the field of Oncology. In 2021 she was elected by the United Nations Lebanon as Leader of Change for the response to COVID 19. During the pandemic Dr Doumit proved to be strong fighter for the well-being of nurses and she played an instrumental role in shedding the light on their role and in placing the Order of Nurses at the decision making table in Lebanon. She is on the Emergency National Committee for Covid and the National Committee for vaccination. She is a member of the WHO expert committee supporting the development of a national health sector strategy/vision 2030 for Lebanon.Recently Dr Doumit was nominated by ICN and she received the award “Beyond Applause: Heroines of Health 2021” by Women in Global Health. Also she was received the Health Worker Recognition Award in the category of Leadership by WHO EMRO region. 2021 she was listed as Distinguished Nursing Alumni, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh USA

Matt Fowler

Matt Fowler – COVID-19 pandemic and cancer nursing
Consultant Advanced Clinical Practitioner for Oncology
University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHSFT

Matt is a Consultant Advanced Clinical Practitioner (ACP) for Oncology at University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust. Matt’s interests lie in advanced practice in cancer nursing, vascular access care and the management of low-risk febrile neutropenia. Matt holds a MSc in Nursing, a Post Graduate Certificate in Advanced Clinical Practice from Warwick university. Matt regularly teaches undergraduate and postgraduate nurses, including the higher diploma in oncology and palliative care nursing
at Bethlehem University in Palestine.

Matt qualified as a Registered Nurse from the University of Birmingham in 1997 and completed specialist cancer nursing training at the Royal Marsden in 2000. Matt has worked in both haematology and oncology for nearly 22 years including working as a senior charge nurse managing in-patient oncology and bone marrow transplant units prior to moving into advanced practice nearly 10 years ago.

Matt has recently taken up post as a Consultant ACP for Oncology and is the first consultant ACP in his new Trust. Matt sits on the Executive board of the European Oncology Nursing Society and enjoys travelling, tennis and socialising in his spare time.

Janane Hanna

Janane Elias Hanna – Conflict and other disasters during Covid-19 and oncology nursing
Clinical Specialist
American University of Beirut Medical Center

Janane Hanna holds a Master’s degree in Nursing from the American University of Beirut (AUB). She has been certified as an Advanced Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist from ONCC since 2011. She started her career in nursing as an oncology nurse. Janane thinks oncology brings out the art of nursing and her passion for this field is what moved her to pursue further her career in pain and palliative care nursing. She has received training at a number of leading centers; she recently pursued a fellowship in palliative care at the Institute of Palliative Medicine.

Her efforts locally have led her to be recognized internationally and she has been elected to serve as a task force member in the American Society for Pain Management Nursing (ASPMN). She was selected in 2020 as a pioneer nurse in palliative care by a program led by St. Christopher’s Hospice, London, which celebrates palliative care nursing.

She is a member in many professional nursing societies like Oncology Nursing Society, American Society of Pain Management Nursing, and Honor Society of Nursing Sigma, Theta Tau International. In September of 2016 she was appointed as an Academic Associate at the Hariri School of Nursing, AUB.

Mohammad Asif Hussainyar

Mr. Mohammad Asif Hussainyar – Nurses and nursing profession current situation 
Instructor/Coordinator, Board Member
Aga Khan University Academic Projects Afghanistan, Afghanistan Nurses Association/Afghanistan Nurses and Midwives Council

Mr. Mohammad Asif Hussainyar is BSc Nurse from the Aga Khan University School of Nursing and Midwifery. Currently He is working as Nursing Instructor and Research Coordinator at the Aga Khan University Academic Projects, Afghanistan. Beside his official work, he is the Board Member in the Afghanistan Nurses Association and Afghanistan Nurses and Midwives Council.
Mr. Hussainyar has been working for the capacity development of nursing teachers and implementation of nursing curriculum, standards and policies since 2016.
His great achievements are training of all government nursing teachers including FMIC and Kabul University of Medical Sciences nursing teachers for the Effective Teaching and Clinical Teaching Skills.
Training of all government nursing teachers for the Psychomotor Skills.
Training of Nursing Coordinator and heads of Institute of Health Sciences for the Academic Leadership and Management.
Coordinated and conducted so many trainings and workshops for capacity development of nursing teachers.
Mentor and supervise master trainers for the replication and cascading of trainings and workshops across the country.
Assessed all government nursing programs based on nursing educational standards and made the reports.
Led, coordinated and facilitated the revision of General Nursing Diploma Program curriculum, Policies and Standards.
Attended and presented in many International conferences.
Beside all of those activities, He has voluntary work, He is one of the founder and board member of Afghanistan Nurses Association.
Active member of Leadership Board and at the Afghanistan Nurses and Midwives Council.
Mr. Hussainyar received several appreciation letter from regional Institutes of Health Sciences, Ministry of Public Health and Afghanistan Nurses and Midwives Council.

Recently in November 2020 He is awarded by the Asia-Pacific Action Alliance on Human Resources for Health (AAAH) for his outstanding performances and contributions of health professionals in the HRH field.


Heather Jones – Universality of grief, dying & death during pandemic
Junior Sister
Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust

I have been qualified nurse now for 12 years, starting my career in emergency medicine rotating between the acute medical unit and the emergency department before moving to a haematology oncology ward where I had my first exposure to the teenage and young people demographic.
Within a year of working in that department I gained exposure to all ranges of treatment from radiotherapy, chemotherapy to transplants and end of life. At this point my hospital opened its first Teenage Cancer Trust Unit, an area I have now worked in for 8.5 years within 2 hospitals University Hospital Southampton NHS trust currently the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust.
Since being at the Marsden I have worked my way up from staff nurse to senior staff nurse to the position of Junior sister which I have now held for 7 months.


Ms. Aayushi Khaneja – Childhood Cancer Survivorship in India: Moving Forward, Overcoming All Odds
Counseling Psychologist
Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute & Research Centre, Rohini, Delhi,

Ms. Aayushi Khaneja (MA in Applied Psychology) is a counseling psychologist at the department of Paediatric Oncology, Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute & Research Centre, Rohini, Delhi. She carries an experience of 5 years in Pediatric Psycho-Oncology and Childhood Cancer Rehabilitation & Survivorship. She has a vast experience of working with diverse population ranging from geriatrics to paediatrics. She has also worked with Samvedna Senior Care as an Elder Care Specialist managing patients with Dementia. She is one of the leaders for the SIOP PODC Psycho-social task force. She was invited as a panelist for Childhood Cancer International (CCI)/ International Society of Pediatric Oncology (SIOP) first webinar, supported by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, titled “Understanding and coping with the mental and emotional impacts of childhood cancer among survivors” along with many others. Her article about childhood cancer survivorship in India was published in APHON’s newletter, spring edition. She has also presented papers at various national and international conferences (including St. Jude VIVA forum in Singapore, in March 2018). She has been awarded for her outstanding performance during her institute’s 24th Founders Day. She is actively involved in organizing and coordinating various activities at her institute not only for the patients, but also for the caregivers, family members and employees. She regularly takes soft skills training, counselling skills training, team building, stress management and meditation sessions for the nurses and other staff.


Alison McKinney
Staff Nurse
The Royal Marsden Hospital

I am a staff nurse who has been working on the Teenage Cancer Unit (TCTU) for the past 3 years, an area which is a true passion of mine.
I have worked in both the private sector and the NHS with experience in Trauma & Orthopeadics, Gynaecology and most recently Oncology.
I currently reside in Brussels, Belgium but travel to the UK each month to complete clinical shifts on TCTU as I truly love my job.

Sherily Foto

Sherily Pereira Morales – Climate Change On Nursing Research Agenda
Associate Professor
University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus, School of Nursing
Puerto Rico

Sherily Pereira Morales is an associate professor of the University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus, School of Nursing. She completed her PhD in nursing at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Dr. Pereira’s clinical and scholarly expertise includes critical care nursing, nursing anesthesia, and nursing research. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in nursing, advanced health assessment in anesthesia, nursing theories, and critical care nursing.
Her commitment to nursing excellence and patient-centered care led her to pursue research training and scholarship focused on generating knowledge to improve clinical practice and outcomes related to pain management in oncology patients. Dr. Pereira’s initial dissertation research, published in The Clinical Journal of Pain, addressed acute pain assessment and management for sedated patients during the early postoperative period following general anesthesia. Her scholarship now focuses specifically on pain and symptom management among persons diagnosed with cancer. Dr. Pereira’s long-term goal is to develop an independent and externally funded program of research addressing effective pain assessment and management interventions that will improve cancer patients’ quality of life, and decrease unintended consequences and adverse outcomes of pain management, such as opioid-related substance use disorder.


Saki Narita, RN PhD – Updates on WHO cancer initiatives
Technical Officer, Division of Data, Analytics and Delivery for Impact
Institution: World Health Organization

Saki Narita is a nurse and a cancer epidemiologist from Japan. She joined the WHO cancer team in 2020 where she provided technical and programme management support for WHO global cancer initiatives in childhood, breast and cervical cancers. Prior to joining
the Headquarters, Saki worked in the WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific supporting countries strengthen their capacity to address the growing burden of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), including cancer, through policy and guideline development, training and knowledge sharing. She is currently a Technical Officer in the Division of Data, Analytics and Delivery for Impact and coordinates the global excess mortality estimates country consultation.


Michael Oberreiter – The power of digital: Connecting people to remove barriers to cancer care
Head of Global Access, Roche

Michael Oberreiter is the Global Head of Access at Roche, based in Basel. He is an industrial economist by training and completed post-graduate diploma and master studies in International Politics and Communications.

Michael has been involved in the field of health economics, health systems development and health policy for over 20 years. His experience spans across different therapeutic areas, countries – including Austria, Germany, Hungary and Asia Pacific (APAC) where he was responsible for driving the development of policy and access strategies to demonstrate the value of, and
broaden, sustainable access to Roche products in the region. Michael joined Roche in 2013 with the task of managing market access after the introduction of AMNOG in Germany.

Prior to this, Michael held a number of senior positions within the research based and the generic industry, including General Secretary of national industry associations. Michael has held senior commercial positions in several companies (ratiopharm, Pfizer, Wyeth) related to access and was responsible for developing and implementing market access strategies for established brands and pipeline products and for reimbursement negotiations with payers. He also led stakeholder management and led cross-functional access and patient advocacy teams. His main areas of professional interest comprise healthcare system analysis, funding and organization of health
services and value based pricing and reimbursement.

Roberta Ortiz

Roberta Ortiz, MD
Medical Officer (Childhood Cancer), Division of UHC/Communicable and Noncommunicable Diseases
World Health Organization

I am a Paediatric oncologist from Nicaragua. I joined WHO NCDs Department in 2020 as the focal point for the Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer. I have worked over the past fifteen years with collaborative regional networks of professionals, supported by
international partners, such as St Jude Children ́s Research Hospital and Monza’s International School of Pediatric Hematology-oncology (MISPHO) to improve cancer care through education, implementing protocol-based care, and sharing best practices among centers. Before joining the WHO cancer team, I worked at the National Pediatric Oncology Centre in Managua, Manuel de Jesus Rivera Children’s Hospital, and contributed with the National Ministry of Health to develop a national palliative care program for children with
life-threatening diseases.
As Childhood cancer medical officer I am supporting the implementation of the Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer (GICC) in over thirty five countries, providing technical assistance to Member States and partners to strengthen childhood cancer programmes
towards attaining the initiative’s target of improving survival for children with cancer to at least 60% by the year 2030 while reducing suffering for all.

Lucy Pope Mars

Mrs Lucy Pope-Mars – Conflict and other disasters (eg. Volcano eruption) during covid-19 and oncology nursing“.
Staff Nurse
Modern Medical and Diagnostic Center
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Born on the island of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to both Vincentian parents and been a registered nurse since 2009. The registered nursing training was achieved at the St. Vincent and the grenadines community college, nursing division and a diploma was awarded in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nursing from the University of the West Indies School of Nursing ,St. Augustine, Trinidad
The first work experience as a registered nurse began in 2009, at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Barbados, under a managed migration program which was led by both the governments of St. Vincent & Barbados.
On returning to St. Vincent in 2011, volunteered nursing service was done at a community a health center. In late 2012, I was appointed for the post of staff nurse in the government hospital services, where I worked in multiple areas including: emergency, mental health and geriatric. Presently, I am one of the senior staff nurses at The Modern Medical and Diagnostic center, which is a newly built government facility located in the rural area of St. Vincent, where I works in an outpatient department of general hematology and oncology.

Shi Qian

Shi Qian – Battle against all the odds with hearts of love – a psychological process of the thoughts and feelings of the medical team from Tianjin Medical University Cancer Institute and Hospital for COVID-19 relief in Wuhan
Co-chief Superintendent Nurse
Tianjin Medical University Cancer Institute & Hospital, China

My name is Shi Qian, a nursing come from Tianjin Medical University Cancer Institute & Hospital. I’ve been in critical care for 21 years. As the leader of the fourth batch of Hubei Medical team supporting the Tianjin Cancer Hospital, with the Tianjin
Eleven medical team, I took over the respiratory and critical care ward of Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University and served as the head nurse of the “Red zone”, to be responsible for the management of nursing quality and safety in Ward. I led the team to establish the “Tianjin”nursing management model in the red zone in the face of the complex condition of patients, the accumulation of drugs and the
inconvenience of environmental process, to provide patients with scientific treatment and family services. In addition, I also established contingency plans for handling occupational exposure in isolation wards for patients with new-type 2 coronavirus infection pneumonia, contingency plans for hospital infection prevention and control when medical and nursing staff in contaminated areas deal with abnormal health conditions, and emergency boxes for occupational exposure in infection wards, scientific Regulation Promotes “Zero”infection.

Mauricio Arias

Mauricio Arias Rojas -Adult oncology nursing care experiences during a pandemic in Colombia
Assistant Professor
Universidad de Antioquia

Mauricio Arias is a nurse with a master’s degree in palliative care and a doctorate in nursing. He currently works as a professor and researcher at the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Antioquia. He has experience in caring for patients with cancer at the end of
life and developing intervention studies. He is a member of the Sigma theta Tau International.

Rima Saad resize

Rima Saad – Universality of Grief, dying and death during the pandemic
PhD Candidate
American University of Beirut

Mrs Saad is a master’s prepared and Certified Pediatric Hematology Oncology Nurse (CPHON) with 15 years clinical experience at the Children;s Cancer Institute in Lebanon. Her work experience encompasses several nursing roles the latest being Clinical Nurse
Specialist for pediatric oncology for over 5 years. During her clinical journey, Rima has participated in the development and provision of several specialty courses related to pediatrics, oncology and palliative care to nurses in Lebanon and the Arab region.

Ms Saad completed the nursing fellowship program at Saint Jude Children’s Research Hospital Memphis-Tennessee in 2007, and two research residencies at University of Michigan and Harvard University in 2019. She has participated in several national, regional and international conferences as a speaker or attendee. She received several nursing awards at the national and international levels. Currently, Mrs. Saad is a PhD Candidate in Nursing Sciences at Hariri School of Nursing at the American University of Beirut. Her research focuses on studying pediatric palliative care from the parents’ perspective to ultimately uncover potential areas for improving palliative care in limited resource settings.


Mg. María Lourdes Ruda Santolaria – Mental health in adult cancer patients in the context of COVID-19
Professor of Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú
Psychologist and psichoteraphy with Psychooncology
Pontifical Catholic University of Peru
National Psychooncology Peruvian Association

Graduated in Psychology with a mention in Clinical Psychology and Master in Theoretical Studies in Psychoanalysis from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú.
Psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapist with training in psycho-oncology.
Associate professor of the Department of Psychology of the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. Responsible for the project of Positioning of Psychooncology in Peru with award of recognition of university social responsibility for the work in this area.
Professor of the Master’s Degree in Clinical Health Psychology and the Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychoanalytic Intervention of the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, and of Exchange – Institute of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

Researcher in the area of psychoocology with publications on the subject, and speaker in many academics events. Member of the Coordinating Committee of the Latin American Psychosocial Oncological Research Training team (FIPOL)
Collaborator in interdisciplinary projects for the control and prevention of cancer of the Ministry of Health of Peru.
National Award in Clinical Health Psychology (2009) and recognition for the work done in the area of psycho-oncology awarded by the College of Psychologists of Peru.
Founding member and first president of the National Association of Psychooncology of Peru in 2015. Member of the International Psychooncology Association (IPOS).


Shahnaz Salimiyanrizi – Impact of Covid-19 on Patients in Iran having challenges with cancer screening and starting cancer treatment
Leader and Manager in Covid-19, Advisor in Covid-19 Emergency Committee, Public Health Practitioner, ICU Covid-19 Nurse
Shariati Hospital

My name is Shanaz Salmiyanrizi. I graduated from the University of Esfahan, School of Nursing in 2002 with a BScN, the University of Medical Sciences, Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery Shahid Beheshti, Tehran in 2014 with an MA, and the University of Anglia Ruskin, Faculty of Medicine (England, Cambridge) in 2018 with an MA in Public Health.

I worked for 20 years as a nurse in different wards in Shariati Hospital (ICU Hear Surgery & NICU and CCU). I also worked for three years as a member of the specialized research team on infection control in the hospitals of Tehran University of Medical Sciences (2006-2009). I worked for two years in the delivery room of Emam Khomeyni Hospital and two years in the Emergency Department. I worked as an HCA at Cambridge University Hospital (England). I am now working as an ICU COVID-19 nurse and Public Health practitioner in the leadership and management of COVID-19 in Iran.

With the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, as an advisor on the COVID-19 emergency committee, and as an ICU COVID-19 nurses, it was inevitable that I would face difficult situations in order to manage this pandemic. Health advisors are key stakeholders in developing
and implementing policies regarding standards of care during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Yangden – Universality of Grief, Dying and Death During a Pandemic
Clinical Nurse
Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital, Thimphu

Yangden is the Charge Nurse for the home-based Palliative Care Program at Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) in Thimphu, Bhutan. In 2018, after spending 20 years in midwifery, she was appointed to start and lead the country’s first Palliative Care Service.

Prior to assuming this challenge, Yangden led numerous improvements in the maternity unit that led to reduced maternal and infant mortality, including increased staffing, improved infrastructure, and introduction of computers for patient care.

After spending over a decade focused on improving services at the beginning of life, Yangden was approached to start the palliative care service. With limited resources and no office, Yangden took on the challenge and now heads a team of three nurses. She developed the proposal for introducing palliative care at JDWNRH, prepared the report highlighting the success of the pilot program, and presented these findings to the Ministry of Health.

Yangden has also developed a National Palliative Care Training manual for Bhutanese Health Care Professionals with guidance from WHO SEARO and technical expertise from WHO Collaborating Center at Calicut, India, as a first strategy for national capacity building for Palliative Care. This is the first step towards integrating palliative care into the healthcare system across Bhutan.

Yangden envisions growing the home-based palliative program into a proper palliative care department with a multidisciplinary team and specialist training, taking a holistic approach involving the community, social workers and with spiritual input but she’s realistic in terms of what she can achieve in the short term. She strives to provide her patients and their families with the best possible support and compassionate care.
She is also a proud mother of three children.