“Inspirational” academic’s legacy continues at RGU

An academic at Robert Gordon University (RGU) has pledged to carry on the good work of her colleague who passed away unexpectedly this summer.

Pamela Kirkpatrick and YashPamela Kirkpatrick has taken on directorship of The Scottish Centre for Evidence-Based Multi-professional Practice – a role which was previously held by Dr Yash Kumarasamy until he died suddenly in July 2012.

Based within RGU’s Institute for Health and Welfare Research (IHWR), the Centre is the local affiliate centre of the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI), a global not-for-profit research organisation which aims to improve healthcare by reviewing best practice.

Pamela has been a member of the Centre since 2008 as a reviewer, trainer and latterly as deputy director. She worked closely with Dr Kumarasamy for the 11 months he held directorship.

On Sunday 22 July, Dr Kumarasamy, died aged 41 due to heart complications. He is survived by his wife, Dr Usha Jayaram - a biology and science teacher at Cults Academy – and family members and in-laws in the UK, Malaysia and Sri Lanka.

The legacy he left behind includes a strong fondness shared among the members of the university community he came into contact with. Students, who he taught in the School of Pharmacy and Life Sciences, held a candlelit vigil in his memory at Aberdeen beach on Monday 23 July.

Pamela describes Dr Kumarasamy as an “inspirational ideas person” who “made you feel like anything was possible”.

She said:  “Yash was passionate about quality and saw personal and professional improvement as a requirement for everything we do in the academic world.

“He was a great role model and I am very fortunate to have been one of his colleagues. I will keep working towards our goals using the many valuable skills I have gained from him.”

One of Pamela’s first responsibilities in her new role was to attend a JBI conference in Chiang Mai, north Thailand, on 12 November. Her time at the three-day colloquium was split between attending key note speeches and critical discussions in sub-groups, before entering two days of directors meetings with her counterparts from some of the organisation’s 70 centres across the world.

Pamela said: “I was delighted to be able to attend what was a fascinating conference. Throughout the course of the five days we addressed the complexity of global health agendas, including diversity in practice, culture, clinical settings and evidence. Through this process we explored the challenges these present to researchers, health professionals and citizens alike.”

This was the third JBI conference she has attended, having previously been to, and presented at, gatherings in Chicago and JBI’s headquarters in Adelaide, South Australia.

Beyond November’s conference, Pamela will work towards achieving her and Yash’s aims to upgrade the RGU branch from “affiliate centre” status to become a full “collaborating centre”. This involves submitting three systematic reviews in a three year period which are peer-reviewed before being published in the JBI Library of Systematic Reviews.

Two studies have already been completed. The first, which was carried out by Pamela and her colleagues and has been published, focused on the roles and systems for routine medication administration to prevent medication incidents in acute care settings. A second study, which is soon to be published, focuses on generating evidence for enhancing community nursing services for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Professor Cherry Wainwright, Director of the IHWR said: "I am delighted with Pamela's appointment.  During her period of association with the JBI Pamela has shown great commitment and initiative and I know that she will continue to drive progress in the way Dr Kumarasamy would have wanted." 

Pamela will combine her responsibilities as director of The Scottish Centre for Evidence-Based Multi-professional Practice with her position as lecturer and course leader within the School of Nursing and Midwifery at RGU’s Garthdee campus.

Photo caption: Dr Yash Kumarasamy and Pamela Kirkpatrick at the Joanna Briggs Institute 2011 conference in Adelaide.

Notes to editors

  • The Institute for Health and Welfare Research is a multi-disciplinary research centre that focuses its activities on addressing major issues around the diagnosis and prevention of illness, and the treatment, care and welfare of patients. Researchers are currently carrying out pioneering cross-disciplinary work in areas including diabetes, heart disease, chronic back pain and bereavement.
  • The Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) is an international not-for-profit, membership based, research and development organisation based within the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Adelaide, South Australia. The Institute collaborates internationally with over 70 entities across the world. The Institute and its collaborating entities promote and support the synthesis, transfer and utilisation of evidence through identifying feasible, appropriate, meaningful and effective healthcare practices to assist in the improvement of healthcare outcomes globally.

Andrew Youngson
Communications Officer | Faculty of Health and Social Care
Robert Gordon University

AB10 1FR
Tel: 01224 262389