Keynote speakers

Alyson Kilpatrick, Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC).  She has practised at the Bar (in London and Belfast) since 1992. Throughout she has published extensively including legal textbooks, law reports’ series and encyclopedia of law and practice. For example, she was a contributing author to The Human Rights Act 1998: A Practitioner’s Guide. She has specialised in human rights law and its application in operational settings including housing, policing and health. Alyson was a Commissioner on the Independent Commission on the Future of Housing in Northern Ireland and until November 2017 she was Chair of the Simon Community Northern Ireland. She is a member of the Board of the Foyle Family Justice Centre and Vice Chair of the Board of the Northern Ireland Co-Ownership Housing Association. Between 2009 and September 2017, Alyson was the Independent Human Rights Legal Advisor to the Northern Ireland Policing Board. During that time, she published annual human rights reports and thematic review reports on, for example: domestic violence; child sexual exploitation and the rights of LGBTQI people. In 2016, she was appointed special legal advisor to the UK’s Independent Reviewer. She sits on an Independent Commission on counter-terrorism. In 2018 Alyson conducted an independent human rights inspection of An Garda Síochána. She carried out an independent review of the human rights compliance of a number of NI ‘legacy’ investigations. In September 2021, Alyson was appointed Chief Commissioner to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. She is an expert advisor to the Royal Foundation of the Prince and Princess of Wales.

Dr Claire Lougarre is a Lecturer at Ulster University School of Law and a member of the Transitional Justice Institute. Claire’s primary research expertise lies at the intersection of human rights law and health. Claire is currently working on the operationalisation of the right to health in the context of sexual and reproductive health (i.e., access to antenatal screening services in Northern Ireland) and in the context of global health threats such as COVID-19 and antimicrobial resistance. Claire has provided consultancy services to the Council of Europe and has submitted evidence to Parliament on various occasions.

Dr Felicity Hasson is a Senior Lecturer in the Institute of Nursing Research at Ulster University with over twenty-five years’ experience in research in palliative and end of life care. A marketing and social research background, she has extensive experience and knowledge of qualitative, quantitative and mixed method research. Her research interests include workforce,  palliative care and chronic illness (malignant and non-malignant with patients, families and multi-disciplinary health care professionals) and public awareness of palliative care and end of life issues. Felicity sits on the Council of Partners for the All-Ireland Institute of Hospice and the Palliative Care and is on the executive board of the Palliative Care Research Network (PCRN) and Palliative Care Research Society UK.

Professor Joachim Cohen is a social health scientist and a professor of the End-of-Life Care Research Group of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. In the research group he is chairing a research program on public health and palliative care.

He graduated in 2001 as a Master in Sociology and in 2007 as a PhD in Social Health Sciences.

His research has been awarded with the Kubler Ross Award for Young Researchers and the Young Investigator Award from the European Association of Palliative Care 2010. Both prizes were awarded to him, mainly because of his large-scale population-based and population-level cross-national research on end-of-life care.

Prof. Cohen has published over 220 articles in international peer reviewed journals and co-edited the Oxford University Press book: “A public health perspective on end of life care”. He has 5870 citations in Web of Science and a h-index of 41.

Dr Libby Sallnow is a palliative medicine consultant with CNWL NHS Trust in London, UK, an honorary senior clinical lecturer at St Christopher’s Hospice and the UCL Marie Curie Palliative Care Research Department, UK and a post-doc researcher and guest professor at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Belgium. She has helped lead and develop the fields of new public health approaches to end of life care, compassionate communities and social approaches to death, dying and loss over the past two decades in the UK and internationally. She is an Honorary Consultant at the WHO Collaborating Centre for Palliative Care in Kerala, India, Vice President of Public Health Palliative Care International, and the first author of the new Lancet Commission on the Value of death: bringing death back into life (2022).

Sharon Williams, Project Manager, Compassionate Communities NI.

Originally from Northern Ireland Sharon grew up in Ireland and England and has spent time in the US and Spain.  Graduating from the University of Leeds with a B.A. Hons Degree in Psychology and Business, she has a background in HR and project management, with 12 years’ experience in the hospice environment.  

Married with 2 girls, Sharon finds time to slow the pace of life by connecting with nature through photography and travel. A compassion champion, she advocates compassion and   connection as essential to living well and dying well.