Samar Aoun

Professor, Perron Institute Research Chair in palliative Care

  • The University of Western Australia (M503), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


  • The University of Western Australia (M518), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


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Personal profile


Samar Aoun is Perron Institute Research Chair in Palliative Care at the University of Western Australia and Perron Institute and has a PhD in Medical Demography from London University. As a palliative care researcher (since 2004) engaged in health services research, Prof Aoun focused on a public health approach and translation into practice or policy, with an emphasis on under-served population groups such as family carers before and after bereavement, people with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) and Dementia and terminally ill people who live alone. Samar strongly advocates for person-centre health and social care and a public health approach to palliative care that views the community as an equal partner in the long and complex task of providing quality health care at the end of life.

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 (UK National Bereavement Alliance 2019, the NICE model of care, The Irish Hospice Foundation -Adult bereavement Care Pyramid: A national framework, 2020; and Palliative Care Australia, 2021). In addition, the research has informed the work of the bereavement care Taskforce of the European Association of Palliative Care (EAPC) to develop best practice guidelines. Her recent work on social models in bereavement support has provided empirical evidence to strengthen the Compassionate Communities approach in end of life care and bereavement support. She co-founded and chairs the South West Compassionate Communities Network in WA and is currently leading The Compassionate Communities Connectors model for end of life care, which has been taken up as standard practice by the health service to support the practical and social needs of families with life limiting illnesses. She recently reviewed the palliative care needs of consumers in WA and the recommendations are guiding the work of WA Health.

Prof Aoun has made a significant contribution in the MND field to address the physical and psychosocial support needs of people living with MND and their families and to improve service provision in collaboration with all MND Associations in Australia under the banner “until there is a cure, there is care”. She led an educational program for general health professionals in MND care, the palliative approach to care, and assistive technology. She investigated the practice of delivering the MND diagnosis (breaking bad news) through a national survey of neurologists, patients and their family carers, and the need to improve it according to international standards. The study has been replicated in the UK, the US and the Netherlands. She investigated the experiences of bereaved family carers in end-of-life care and bereavement support which provided the foundation to develop best practice guidelines of national and international significance. She led a policy chapter on MND in Australia (2021) in a book on Public Policy in ALS/MND Care - An International Perspective.

Prof Aoun served as a member of two principal national committees of the National Health and Medical Research Council in Australia (NHMRC) (2012-15): the Australian Health Ethics Committee and the Prevention and Community Health Committee. She has chaired grant review panels for NHMRC for several years. She Chairs the MND Association in WA and is a board member of MND Australia and a member of the scientific committee of MND Research Australia. Among her awards: “the Centenary Medal” from the Prime Minister of Australia in 2003, and the medal for excellence in Person Centered Healthcare from the European Society for Person Centered Healthcare in 2018.

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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