November 2016 | Samhain 2016

Dr Anne Merriman Receives 2016 UCD Alumni Award

Wed, 16 November 16 09:47

UCD Medicine Alumnus, Dr Anne Merriman has been honoured by the University in its 2016 UCD Alumni Awards which took place on Friday 11th November 2016 in UCD O’Reilly Hall.  Now in their third year, the UCD Alumni Awards proudly celebrate the outstanding achievements of our alumni who uphold values that UCD holds dear – integrity, excellence, collegiality, engagement, creativity and diversity – values that we believe are in the DNA of our University.

Dr Merriman (UCD Medicine 1963) certainly embodies many of these values and has enhanced the reputation of the School and the University with her phenomenal work in palliative care.  Anne is internationally recognised as one of the leading Hospice Movement pioneers in the world, and the undisputed leader of the Hospice Movement in Africa.  The driving motivation behind a distinguished career has been her passionate commitment to bringing affordable and culturally appropriative palliative care to all of Africa. She has received numerous awards throughout her career and was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.

A Distinguished Career

Born and raised in Liverpool, Anne enrolled in UCD Medical School in 1957 and completed her clinical training at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital.  After graduation in 1963, she did her internship in the International Missionary Training Hospital in Medicine in Drogheda.  She completed three two-year stints in South East Nigeria was interspersed with clinical appointments in Drogheda, Dublin and Edinburgh, during which she successfully took her MRCPI and MRCP Edinburgh as well as diplomas in Child Health and Tropical Medicine.

After completing her training in Geriatric Medicine, Dr Merriman was appointed as Consultant Physician and Clinical Lecturer at the University of Liverpool, Senior Lecturer in Geriatric Medicine and Honorary Consultant in the University of South Manchester and subsequently Head of the Department of Geriatric Medicine at Whiston Hospital, Liverpool.

Through appointments as Associate Professor to University of South Manchester in Penang, Malaysia and Senior Teaching Fellow in the National University of Singapore, Anne developed her interest in Palliative Medicine and the Hospice Movement. She became a Founder Member of the Hospice Care Association of Singapore and made major contributions to that discipline, not only in Singapore, but also in South East Asia generally.

Leadership in Africa

In 1990, Anne was invited to be the first Medical Director of the Nairobi Hospice in Kenya.  During her time in that role, she realised the terrible suffering of terminally-ill patients in a country where oncology treatment was available only for the privileged few, and where patients tragically only presented at a late and often incurable stage of their disease.

After publishing a seminal report on palliative care in Africa for the International Hospice Movement, she received numerous requests for various African countries to assist in setting up palliative care services along the lines of the model that her team had successfully pioneered in Kenya. This “Merriman Model” was the inspiration that was to drive the development of affordable and locally accessible services for the African subcontinent in the ensuing decade.

Dr Anne Merriman founded Hospice Africa Uganda which introduced a model system of terminal care customised to developing countries with limited resources. She founded the Palliative Care Association of Uganda and was a founder member of the African Palliative Care Association.

Anne headed Hospice Africa’s International Programs, supporting new initiatives in Tanzania, Nigeria, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Malawi, Ethiopia, Zambia, Sudan and Rwanda, and more recently training, initiators from 11 Francophone countries to suit their different health service and needs.

Her introduction of affordable oral morphine, suitable for use in the home, has revolutionised palliative care in Africa. The Ugandan Government now provides this medication free to any person who is prescribed by a registered prescriber, since 2004, a first in Africa today.

Anne has published over 90 articles and five books, as well as serving as editor and peer-reviewer on several journals. She still receives multiple speaking invitations to address learned associations and organisations all over the world.

Honours & Awards

In 2007, Anne was appointed as an Honorary Fellow of the UCD School of Medicine in recognition of her lifetime’s work.  She received an MBE in 2002 for her contribution to health services in Uganda and in November 2013, Anne was presented with the Irish Presidential Distinguished Service Award at Áras an Uachtaráin in recognition of her charitable works. In 2014 she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of her commitment to palliative care in Africa.

We are delighted that the University has recognised Anne with a 2016 UCD Alumni Award.  In addition to bringing compassionate care to many across Africa, Dr Merriman is a role model who inspires our current students to seek to make an impact during their careers.


Previous UCD Medicine Recipients

Previous UCD Medicine Alumni Recognised with UCD Alumni Awards include :

  • Professor Patrick Bradley (UCD Medicine 1973), Emeritus Professor of Head and Neck Oncologic Surgery at University of Nottingham (Medicine, 2015)
  • Dr Tony Holohan (UCD Medicine 1991), Chief Medical Officer, Health Service Executive (Public Health, 2015)
  • Dr Patricia Scanlan, National Children’s Oncology Centre, Tanzania (Medicine, 2014)