The Lien Centre for Palliative Care (LCPC) was established in December 2008 as an academic Centre within Duke-NUS, in collaboration with the National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS) and the Singapore Health Services Group (SingHealth). Phase 1 (2008 through 2013) was successful in creating the Centre. Phase 2 (2014 to 2018) began with a new leadership team (Prof Eric Finkelstein, PhD, as Executive Director, and Dr Alethea Yee, Head of Department of Palliative Medicine at the National Cancer Centre Singapore, as Director of Education). In a period of less than 5 years, Phase 2 has seen LCPC transition into an internationally recognized academic research and education Centre with a portfolio of local and regional research projects that are highly relevant to patients and policymakers and a series of new blended learning courses. The team has grown from 12 to 34 faculty/staff; garnered over S$4M in competitive grants, published over 27 manuscripts, and has ongoing collaborations in ten countries in the region. We have also developed a series of new courses, trained over 1,100 individuals, worked with collaborators to develop guidelines in neonatal palliative care, and incubated an online palliative care e-book, among other accomplishments.
Phase 3 (2019 to 2023) aims to build off the momentum gathered in Phase 2 for both research and education. Whereas Phase 2 research necessarily required us to start with surveys and cohort studies to build trust in the community and to identify successful collaborators, research in Phase 3 will emphasize testing interventions and new models of care delivery. This includes but is not limited to early and integrated palliative care financing and delivery models, how to use patient decision aids to optimize treatment discussions, and how best to improve health communication, a significant concern raised by end of life (EOL) patients in our prior research. Phase 3 will also emphasize regional collaborations and non-cancer research, given that non-cancer deaths represent the majority of deaths today and this remains a significant gap in palliative care research both locally and regionally.