News from the IAHPC Board

2016; Volume 17, No 3, March

News from the IAHPC Board

Welcome aboard – new members join IAHPC’s Board of Directors

The IAHPC is privileged to have a strong and committed Board of Directors comprising a diverse group of professionals from across the world. Each one brings different experiences, expertise and skills to enrich our organization and helps us to reach our vision of universal access to palliative care and better quality of life for adults and children with life-threatening conditions and their families.

We are delighted to present three new members of the board: Dr. Esther Cege Munyoro (Kenya), Dr. Chitra Venkateswaran (India) and Dr. Dang Huy Quoc Thinh (Vietnam), who were elected for a three-year term.

Dr. Chitra Venkateswaran (MD Psychiatry) is the Founder and Clinical Director of the Mehac Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that works towards improving the quality of lives of mentally ill people and their families in Kerala, and throughout India, by incorporating the principles of palliative care. The foundation strives to deliver exceptional care focusing on strengthening mental health services and access to medications in the community, and improving quality of care.

Dr. Venkateswaran is a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and is a faculty member of the Department of Oncology and Palliative Care of Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi. She has focused on identifying psychological distress in the palliative care population as part of her research and has carried out projects both in India and the UK. She has initiated psycho oncology clinics in the Pain and Palliative Care Society, Calicut, (2003) and in the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (2008).

Alongside her research work, Dr. Venkateswaran is a member of the National Faculty in Palliative Care in India, the Indian Association of Palliative Care and Faculty/Consultant for Cairdeas International Palliative Care Trust, Scotland, UK. She also holds a Diploma in Leadership from the International Palliative Care Leadership Development Initiative (2012-2013).

Outside of palliative care, Dr. Venkateswaran enjoys reading, music and singing. Her husband is a leading media professional with ‘Hindu Publications’ and her daughter is currently pursuing her Masters in Archaeology at Oxford Univesrsity, UK.

Read the full bio for Dr. Chitra Venkateswaran.


Dr. Dang Huy Quoc Thinh is currently the Vice Director of Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) Oncology Hospital, Viet Nam. He is also Head of the Department of Radiation Oncology and Head of the Palliative Program in HCMC. He serves as the Vice-Secretary General of the HCMC Cancer Society, Executive Council Member of the VN Cancer Society and HCMC Pain Society; Executive Council Member of the Asian Clinical Oncology Society (ACOS); Study Member on Nasopharyngeal Cancer (NPC) of the Forum of Nuclear Cooperation in Asia (FNCA) and Consultant Member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)’s Advisory Group on Increasing Access to Radiotherapy Technologies in developing countries (AGaRT).

Thanks to the support of Dr. Eric Krakauer, Dr. Thinh has been a pioneer in developing and implementing cancer palliative care in Viet Nam since 2008. In September 2015, at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congress in Vienna, Dr. Thinh’s palliative care unit was accredited as an ESMO Designated Centre of Integrated Oncology and Palliative Care.

Dr. Thinh lives in Ho Chi Minh City with his wife who is a pediatrician, and two daughters. He enjoys running with his wife every morning in the park near his house.

Read the full bio for Dr. Dang Huy Quoc Thinh.


Dr. Esther Cege Munyoro is a neuro-anaesthetist and palliative care specialist with a master’s degree in Palliative Care from Dundee University. She currently heads the Pain and Palliative Care Unit at the Kenyatta National Hospital Nairobi, in Kenya, a unit she founded in 2007. This was the first palliative care unit within the public healthcare system in Kenya. The hospital is a tertiary referral hospital and educates the bulk of healthcare workers in Kenya. Currently the unit serves to offer palliative care to patients but more importantly offers pain and palliative care education to local and international healthcare workers.

Dr. Munyoro is particularly interested in improving ‘total’ pain management for both adults and children, especially those with life-threatening illnesses for which a good quality of life is a priority. An example is a program that trains nurses on the care of patients with stoma, wounds and continence issues. She has lectured in various venues in Kenya and hopes to get pain and palliative care curriculums offered to all healthcare workers in Kenya. She currently serves as a board member in three organizations that advocate for improving treatment and support for patients with life-threatening diseases, Hope for Cancer Kids, Kenya Hospices and Palliative Care Association (KEHPCA) and Professionals against Cancer (PAC).

Away from work, Esther is a ‘mother’ to two adult children and an adorable dog, ‘Lulu’.

Read the full bio for Dr. Esther Cege Munyoro.


We are delighted to welcome these new colleagues whose skills and experiences will complement those of our other current board members. You can read more about all the IAHPC Board of Directors.


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