Barbara Gomes
  • 6636

Personal profile

Research interests

Place of care and death, palliative care, preferences and decision-making, epidemiology, symptom assessment, evaluation of palliative care services, effectiveness and cost-effectiveness, cancer care, home care, public education about end of life care issues, bereavement and cross-national research

Research interests (short)

Place of care and death, palliative care, home care, preferences, symptoms, bereavement, epidemiology, effectiveness and cost-effectiveness

Biographical details

Dr. Barbara Gomes did her first degree in Psychology and Health at the University of Porto (2001), including a one-year internship in the Palliative Care Unit of the Portuguese Cancer Institute - Porto. She got an MSc in Palliative Care from King's College London with distinction (2006) and a PhD in Palliative Care from the same University (2012). Her other training covers Epidemiology, Statistics and Health Economics. She is Research Fellow at the Cicely Saunders Institute (King's College) since 2004. In 2016, she was awarded the first Professorship in Palliative Care in Portugal, being appointed Invited Assistant Professor at the School of Medicine, University of Coimbra.

In 12 years of research work, Barbara has published over 50 papers in international peer-reviewed journals, some of which are already among the most highly cited in the field. In 2006 she was awarded the Cicely Saunders Academic Excellence Prize for her MSc studies and in 2013 the joint second prize of the Early Researcher Award by the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) for her PhD studies. The latter prize is awarded to honour young scientists in the field of palliative care who have made an outstanding contribution to research. She has led several studies on end of life care, including a mortality followback survey with bereaved relatives of cancer patients in London, UK (QUALYCARE study) and a pan-European population survey on preferences and priorities for end of life care (PRISMA survey). She is first author of a Cochrane review on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of home palliative care services for adults and Principal Investigator of a project to train early researchers and develop an optimised model of home palliative care in Portugal (DINAMO project). She is associate editor of BMC Palliative Care, reviewer for several journals including the Journal of Clinical Oncology and Palliative Medicine, and founding member of the coordination board of the Portuguese Palliative Care Observatory.

Barbara's research interests focus on dying places, in particular the preferences, factors and the outcomes associated with dying at home for patients and their families. Her research has informed health policy and triggered strategic planning, service developments as well as dialogue with the public and the media about palliative care in Europe and beyond. Her work has been referred in several national policy documents in the UK and Portugal and debated at the House of Lords (UK). Several independent organisations have used her work to highlight issues surrounding place and care of death (World Health Organization, Nuffield Trust, King’s Fund, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and National Palliative Care Associations). Her studies have also reached the public arena via press coverage (by the BBC, NPR, Guardian and Huffington Post among others). The research methods she has developed during her MSc and PhD studies have been adopted by others in Europe and beyond (colleagues undertook projections on place of death in Belgium, Germany and Portugal and are conducting QUALYCARE studies in Northern Ireland, Dublin and New York).

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being


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