Professor Samar Aoun

Professor Samar Aoun, PhD, MPH, BSc (Hons)

Perron Institute Senior Research Fellow Professor Samar Aoun’s research focus is palliative care in ALS/MND and the principles are applicable to a number of other neurological conditions.

Professor Aoun adopts a public health approach and a focus on under-served population groups such as people with Motor Neurone Disease (MND), Dementia, terminally ill people who live alone and family carers before and after bereavement. Professor Aoun strongly advocates for a person-centred health and social care. Her research programs on supporting family caregivers at end of life and the public health approach to bereavement care have informed policy and practice at the national and international levels. Her recent work on social models in bereavement support has provided empirical evidence to strengthen the Compassionate Communities movement in bereavement support.

Professor Aoun obtained her BSc (1981) from Leeds University, UK, her MPH (1983) from The American University of Beirut, Lebanon and her PhD in Medical Demography (1989) from the University of London, UK.

Professor Aoun currently holds the position of Professor of Palliative Care at La Trobe University, and Adjunct Professor at the University of Notre Dame and Monash University. Having published over 110 papers in peer-reviewed journals and presented over 100 conference presentations, she has gained an academic reputation at both the national and international levels.

Recognised for her exceptional commitment and dedication to improving health and community engagement, Professor Aoun has been awarded the South West Woman of the Year (2001) award, the “Centenary Medal” (2003) and the Paul Harris Fellow award (2008). Furthermore, in 2016 she received the Eleanor Mounsher Medal in recognition of her outstanding commitment, dedication and service to people living with Motor Neurone Disease and their families in Australia. More recently, she was awarded from the European Society for Person Centered Healthcare, the 2018 Senior Vice-Presidential Medal for Excellence in Person Centered Healthcare for her work in this field.

Professor Aoun currently holds several voluntary positions including a Director on the Motor Neurone Disease Australia Board, Vice President of the Motor Neurone Disease Association WA, a board member of the Neurological Council of WA and an executive committee member of Palliative Care WA. She has recently co-founded the South West Compassionate Communities Network (2018).

Professor Aoun has established and chaired the West Australian Country Health Services Ethics Committee for 23 years. She has served on two principal National Health and Medical Research Council committees (2012-15): the Australian Health Ethics Committee, and the Prevention and Community Health Committee. She is currently a member of the NHMRC National Statement Review working group, and the NHMRC Indigenous Research Ethics Guidelines Review working committee. She has chaired NHMRC grant review panels for the past five years. She is a member of the editorial advisory board of Palliative Medicine journal, a member of an expert advisory group for the development of best practice guidelines in bereavement care in Europe and a member of the reference group on Public Health Palliative Care of the European Association of Palliative Care.