People

EOLinPLACE is a research project led by the palliative care researcher Barbara Gomes and hosted by the University of Coimbra at the Faculty of Medicine.

Our team is international and interdisciplinary.

Team

Barbara Gomes
Principal Investigator | PhD

Barbara Gomes is invited coordinating researcher (equivalent to full professor) at the University of Coimbra and principal investigator (PI) of the EOLinPLACE Project. She holds a first degree in Psychology and Health from University of Porto (2001), and an MSc and PhD in Palliative Care from King’s College London (2006, 2012). The aim of Barbara’s research is to proof care at the end of life, to ensure it matches people’s preferences and priorities. She has surveyed patient and family experiences with end of life care and analysed population mortality data across nations, with a focus on tackling the mismatch between where people would prefer to die and where they actually die. Barbara has published over 60 papers (H index = 27; >4000 citations in high impact journals, with first authored publications in the BMJ, Annals of Oncology and JAMA). She is currently supervising 5 PhD students.

Sílvia Lopes
Senior Researcher | PhD

Sílvia Lopes is assistant professor at the NOVA National School of Public Health (ENSP-NOVA), seconded to University of Coimbra to work on the EOLinPLACE Project. She holds a first degree in Economics from University of Coimbra (2000) and a PhD in Public Health from NOVA University Lisbon (2011). Sílvia’s main research interests are end-of-life and hospital care utilisation, risk adjustment and hospital care outcomes measurement. In the EOLinPLACE Project she is co-PI for the fieldwork in Portugal and responsible for the international comparative analysis of place of death classifications and data. At ENSP-NOVA, Silvia also teaches and supervises Masters and PhD students, together with the coordination of several courses and programs.

Elizabeth Namukwaya
Senior Researcher | PhD

Elizabeth Namukwaya is a palliative care physician, part-time researcher in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Coimbra, and part-time lecturer in the Department of Medicine, Makerere University College of Health Sciences. She holds a Masters of Medicine in Internal Medicine from Makerere University (2009) and a PhD in Palliative Care from the University of Edinburgh (2016). Elizabeth’s main research interests are in improving holistic care for people with cancer and non-cancer conditions and the use of digital technology in palliative care. In the EOLinPLACE Project she is responsible for the fieldwork in Uganda and for examining the content validity of the proposed international classification of dying places. Elizabeth also teaches and supervises medical and postgraduate students.

Dorothea Touwen
Senior Researcher | PhD

Dorothea Touwen PhD is associate professor of medical ethics at Leiden University Medical Center, in the Netherlands. The focus of her research is on elderly care and end of life care. She has conducted studies on ethical complexities of proxy decision making, advance care planning and living wills; on palliative care for people from ethnic minorities; on family care giving and on dementia care. Currently she supervises a study on the balance between freedom of movement and safety in the care for people with dementia, on shared decision making with cancer patients of ethnic minorities and on the wishes and values of refugee patients. Her approach is always very practical in order for projects to lead to conclusions that are applicable in daily care. Most of her studies use qualitative research methods, thus ensuring a thorough and in depth investigation of the interests and complexities. In EOLinPLACE, Dorothea is collaborator, leads the ethnographic component of the project and is local co-PI in the Netherlands.

Jenny van der Steen
Senior Researcher | PhD

Jenny van der Steen is an epidemiologist and associate professor at Leiden University Medical Center and senior researcher at Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen. She studies how to improve care at the end of life, in particular for persons with dementia and their family. Her research covers palliative care including advance care planning and non-pharmacological interventions. She has been awarded national and European prizes. She aims at optimising research design, employing rigorous quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods, preferably in international comparative and with parallel methodological work. In EOLinPLACE, Jenny is collaborator and local-PI of the project in the Netherlands. Of note, Jenny is an ERC Consolidator Grantee (CONT-END) and promotes links between the two projects, particularly on end of life care in dementia.

Emma Belanger
Senior Researcher | PhD

Emma Belanger is associate professor of Health Services, Policy & Practice at the Center for Gerontology and Healthcare Research, Brown University School of Public Health. Her background includes training in both social and health sciences. She obtained her PhD from the Departments of Psychiatry and Family Medicine at McGill University, on patient participation in palliative care decisions. She then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Montreal Public Health Research Institute in social epidemiology of aging. Her research interests involve mixed-methods designs and addresses the assessment and management of patient-reported symptoms among older adults, the delivery of end-of-life care in a variety of settings, as well as decision-making processes about palliative options of care. In EOLinPLACE, Emma is collaborator, leads the longitudinal quantitative study and is local co-PI in the US.

Joanna Brooks
Senior Researcher | PhD

Joanna Brooks is associate professor in Population Health and Program Director of the Masters of Health Services Administration at the University of Kansas Medical Center. She is a medical sociologist and health services researcher with specific expertise in qualitative methodologies, palliative care, and health care workforce and delivery. After completing her PhD in Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholar in Health Policy Research at Harvard University, where she trained in an interdisciplinary environment with scholars studying innovative approaches to health care, medical education, primary care, and health care teams. Cross-trained in both pure social science and interdisciplinary environments, she is committed to using her theoretical knowledge and training as a social scientist in order to understand complex problems in health care, especially those that evade simple answers, such as end of life care issues. In EOLinPLACE, Joanna is collaborator and local co-PI of the project in the US.

Andrea Bruno de Sousa
Postdoctoral Researcher | PhD

Andrea Bruno de Sousa has worked as postdoctoral researcher of the EOLinPLACE project at the University of Coimbra from May 2022 to February 2023 and is involved in the project as external collaborator since then. She is a health psychologist with a PhD in Dynamics of Health and Welfare from Linköping University and NOVA National School of Public Health (2021). Andrea also holds a MSc in Psychology and Health from the University of the West England (2014) and a fellowship in Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disorder from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (2009). Andrea’s main research interests are complex health issues, family related subjects and lay people’s perspectives. In the EOLinPLACE project Andrea has contributed to various components of the research work, including the development of protocols and methods, data collection, analysis and writing of reports.

Mayra Delalibera
Postdoctoral Researcher | PhD

Mayra Delalibera is a clinical and health psychologist and invited researcher in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Coimbra. She holds a first degree in psychology from Federal University of Sao Carlos – Brasil (2006), a Master degree in Palliative Care from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Lisboa (2010), and a PhD in Health Psychology from ISPA - Instituto Universitário (2016). Mayra’s main research interests are caregiver's needs and burden in palliative care and grief. In the EOLinPLACE, she collaborates with the international comparative analysis of place of death classifications and data, and the ethnographic component of the project.

Sara Pinto
Postdoctoral Researcher | PhD

Sara Pinto is nurse and assistant professor at the Nursing School of Porto, and has completed a postdoctoral program in health sciences at the University of Coimbra in 2023 in the context of the EOLinPLACE project. Sara holds a first degree in Nursing from Escola Superior de Enfermagem Dr. Ângelo da Fonseca - Coimbra (2005), a Master degree in Palliative Care (University of Porto, 2012), and a PhD in Nursing Sciences (University of Porto, 2017). Sara’s main research interests are focused in comfort, spirituality, and information and communication technologies in palliative care. In the EOLinPLACE she conducted an umbrella review of the evidence on the preferences about place of end of life care and death of patients with life-threatening illnesses and their families. Sara continues to be involved in other project components as external collaborator.

Dorothy Olet
PhD Fellow | MSc

Dorothy Olet is an invited assistant investigator at the Faculty of Medicine of University of Coimbra who will undertake her PhD as part of the EOLinPLACE Project. She is based and works in Uganda, locally supervised by Liz Namukwaya. Dorothy is also palliative care lecturer at the Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care in Africa, affiliated to Makerere University, in Kampala, where she supervises undergraduate and posgraduate students in palliative care. She holds a first degree in Medicine from Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST 2001) and a Masters in Public Health Methodology (MPHM) from Université Libre de Bruxelles (2007). Dorothy’s research interests are in improving the quality of life of patients with palliative care needs, especially children. The focus of her PhD dissertation will be on the diversity of end of life pathways among children with life-threatening conditions.

Sifra van de Beek
PhD Fellow | MSc

Sifra van de Beek is a PhD fellow at the Faculty of Medicine of University and Coimbra, undertaking her PhD at the department of Ethics and Law at the Leiden University Medical Center, in the Netherlands. She holds a first degree in Health Sciences (University of Maastricht, 2021) and a masters degree in Vitality & Ageing (Leiden University, 2022). Sifra has an affinity with existential questions, and the dynamics in end of life conversations between the patient, the informal and the formal caregivers, with a focus on older individuals (with cognitive impairment). In the work she is developing in the EOLinPLACE project in the Netherlands, she is supervised locally by Dorothea Touwen and Jenny van der Steen. The ethical perspective will be prominent in her PhD dissertation.

Inês Dias da Silva
PhD Fellow | MSc

Inês Dias da Silva is invited assistant researcher at the Faculty of Medicine of University and Coimbra, is enrolling in the PhD at the Faculty and is also undertaking project management under Barbara’s supervision within the EOLinPLACE Project. She holds a first degree in Psychology (University of Lisbon, 2004) and a MSc in Economic and Consumer Psychology (University of Exeter, 2006). She has been a family carer for her 10 year-old child with palliative needs and is interested in giving her contribution to the advancement of palliative care with a special focus on enhancing choice and diversity in end of life care for both the patient and the carers. She is based and works in Portugal, supervised locally by Barbara Gomes on her work on the psychometric characteristics of place of death classification.

Beatriz Sanguedo
PhD Fellow | MSc

Beatriz Sanguedo is a researcher at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Coimbra under the EOLinPLACE Project enrolling as PhD student at the Faculty, supervised by Barbara. She holds a first degree in Psychology and a Masters Degree in Psychology with a specialization in Clinical and Health Psychology from the Faculty of Education and Psychology of the Catholic University of Portugal - Porto (2019, 2021). Beatriz's main interests are end-of-life care, oncology, the bereavement process, neurodegenerative diseases and intervention with patients and caregivers.

Krista Eckels
PhD Fellow | MSc

Krista Eckels is a PhD student at the University of Kansas Medical Center, actively participating in the EOLinPLACE project. She is supervised locally by Joanna Brooks and Emma Belanger. She holds a master's degree in occupational therapy and a bachelor's degree in occupational sciences. She has experience working on interdisciplinary research teams addressing multifaceted healthcare delivery challenges. Her primary interest in the EOLinPLACE project is driven by her affinity for qualitative methods and deep, complex research questions, particularly focusing on patient preferences and experiences in end-of-life care. In EOLinPLACE, she collaborated with the ethnographic component of the project.

Consultants

Jorge Soares
Ethics advisor | PhD
Julia Downing
Pediatric palliative care expert | PhD

Advisory group

Irene Higginson
Chair | Professor at King's College London
Luc Deliens
Professor at Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Joan Teno
Professor at Brown University
Donna Wilson
Professor at University of Alberta
International Children's Palliative Care Network (ICPCN)
Represented by Chief Executive Julia Downing
European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC)
Represented by former President Christoph Ostgathe
International Association for Hospice & Palliative Care (IAHPC)
Represented by Chair of the Board of Directors Lukas Radbruch
International Alliance of Patient's Organizations (IAPO)
Represented by Policy and Communications Lead Antonia Gama
Eurocarers
Represented by Director Stecy Yghemonos
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
Represented by Research Officer Paola Sillitti
World Health Organization (WHO)
Represented by Eric L Krakauer, MD, PhD

Patient and family representatives

Antonia Gama
Patient representative
Stecy Yghemonos
Family carer representative

Institutional collaborations

NOVA National School of Public Health
Coimbra University Hospital Center
Mulago National Referral Hospital
Leiden University Medical Center
Brown University
University of Kansas Medical Center

Other collaborations

Marjolein Gysels
Ethnography expert | PhD
Kawaldip Sehmi
Patient representative | IAPO
Joachim Cohen
Social health scientist | PhD