Dr Lucy Selman BA MPhil PG Cert Pall Care, PhD

Cicely Saunders International Faculty Scholar

Cicely Saunders Institute, Department of Palliative Care, Policy & Rehabilitation, Denmark Hill, London SE5 9PJ, United Kingdom

Phone: +44 (0)20 7848 5566
Fax: +44 (0)20 7848 5517

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Outcome measurement and tool validation, spiritual care and assessment of spiritual outcomes, integrative medicine interventions, palliative care in non-cancer (HIV, heart failure) and developing country settings (Africa, India),  models of palliative care delivery including public health approaches to palliative care, audit and quality improvement, mixed methods and qualitative research, phenomenological approaches to illness, the philosophy of palliative care


Lucy Selman did her first degree in Philosophy at the University of Nottingham (1st; 2000), followed by an MPhil specialising in epistemology and the philosophy of science at Birkbeck College, University of London (2003). Lucy joined King’s as a Research Associate in 2005, completed the King’s Post-graduate Certificate in Palliative Care with distinction in 2006) and was awarded a PhD in Palliative Care in February 2012.


Most recently, Lucy was appointed Cicely Saunders International Faculty Scholar, a prestigious post-doctoral post for future leaders in palliative care. From 2013-14 Lucy is a Visiting Scholar at the University of California, San Francisco, where she is contributing to a pilot study of a yoga intervention for patients with heart failure and COPD as well as leading the San Franciscan arm of the International Access, Rights and Empowerment (IARE) study. The IARE study, funded by Atlantic Philanthropies and Cicely Saunders International and coordinated by Dr Daveson and Prof Higginson, is examining models of hospital-based palliative care in the UK, USA and Ireland. Lucy also continues to collaborate with Dr Harding on the IMPAQT study evaluating and improving quality of palliative care in South Africa (funded by the European Commission).

Key Leadership Roles

In 2012 Lucy was awarded the European Palliative Care Association (EAPC)’s Early Researcher Award for her PhD studies. The prize is awarded by the EAPC to honour a young scientist or clinician in the field of palliative care who has made an outstanding contribution to research. She has been co-chair of the Research Sub-Group of the EAPC Spiritual Care Taskforce since 2011, leading on a 2012 survey on research priorities in spiritual care. She is an invited member of the National Council of Palliative Care’s Faith, Meaning & Belief Advisory Group and in 2009 was awarded the Frances Sheldon Prize by the Palliative Care Research Society.

Selected Publications

Selman  L, Speck  P, Gysels  M, Agupio  G, Dinat  N, Downing  J, Gwyther  L, Mashao  T, Mmoledi  K, Moll  T, Sebuyira Mpanga L, Ikin  B, Higginson J I, Harding  R. 'Peace' and 'life worthwhile' as measures of spiritual well-being in African palliative care: a mixed-methods study, Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 2013, Jun 10;11(1):94.


Selman L, Siegert R, Higginson IJ. , Dinat N, Downing J, Gwyther L, Mashao T, Mmoledi K, Moll T, Mpanga Sebuyira L, Ikin B, Harding R. The “Spirit 8” successfully captured spiritual wellbeing in African palliative care: factor and Rasch analysis, Journal of Clinical Epidemiology 2012, 65(4): 434-43.


Selman L, Harding R, Gysels M, Speck P, Higginson IJ. The measurement of spirituality in palliative care and the content of tools validated cross-culturally: a systematic review. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management 2011, Apr;41(4):728-53.


Selman L, Higginson IJ, Agupio G, Dinat N, Downing J, Gwyther L, Mashao T, Mmoledi K, Moll T, Mpanga Sebuyira L, Ikin B, Harding R, Quality of life among patients receiving palliative care in South Africa and Uganda: a multi-centred study. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 2011, 9:21, doi:10.1186/1477-7525-9-21


Selman L, Siegert R, Higginson IJ, Agupio G, Dinat N, Downing J, Gwyther L, Mashao T, Mmoledi K, Moll T, Mpanga Sebuyira L, Ikin B, Harding R, The MVQOLI successfully captured quality of life in African palliative care: a factor analysis, Journal of Clinical Epidemiology 2011, Aug;64(8):913-24


Selman L, Higginson IJ, Agupio G, Dinat N, Downing J, Gwyther L, Mashao T, Mmoledi K, Moll AP, Mpanga Sebuyira L, Panajatovic B, Harding R. Meeting the information needs of patients with incurable progressive disease and their families in South Africa and Uganda: a multi-centre qualitative study, British Medical Journal, 22 April 2009;338:b1326 – Also invited podcast interview: podcasts.bmj.com/bmj/2009/04/


Selman L, Harding R, Beynon T, Hodson F, Coady E, Hazeldine C, Walton M, Gibbs L, Higginson IJ. Improving end of life care for chronic heart failure patients – “Let’s hope it’ll get better, when I know in my heart of hearts it won’t” Heart 2007, 93:963–967


King’s MSc in Palliative Care: Research Methods and Statistics (core module), Psychosocial, Cultural, Ethical and Spiritual Issues (core module)  

King’s Intercalated BSc in Global Health

King’s Special Study Modules on Global Health for medical students

Current PHD Students

Keira Lowther
Krista Wolcott (UCSF)

Selected Grants

Selman 2012: UCSF-KHP Travelling Fellowship Grant (NIHR), for a period of research at UCSF investigating the feasibility and acceptability of a yoga intervention in patients with COPD and heart failure (£20,000)

Selman, Speck, Koffman, Bausewein, Higginson 2012: Sir Halley Stewart Trust Symposia in Spiritual Care in Palliative Care and the InSpirit International Focus Group Study on Spiritual Care (£32,200)

Selman, Harding, Higginson 2010: Wellcome Trust Value in People Award (£17,617.50)

Harding, Higginson, Selman 2008: Improving spiritual care in advanced disease among African communities. Project grant from the Sir Halley Stewart Trust (£55,891)


Critical Impact

During Lucy’s PhD study she collaborated with UK and African experts to produce two sets of spiritual care recommendations for palliative care services in the UK and Africa, with a foreword by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. These recommendations have been referenced by the Department of Health and the African Palliative Care Association and are used by service providers. Lucy contributed to the UK Department of Health’s eLearning module on spiritual care in end of life care www.e-lfh.org.uk/projects/e-elca/index.html.

The APCA African Palliative Outcome Scale is now widely used across clinical care and research in sub-Saharan Africa, including in the PEPFAR Public Health Evaluation of HIV Care Services. The Spirit 8 spiritual well-being measure is also being used in studies in sub-Saharan Africa.

International Links

Studies in India, South Africa, Kenya and Uganda (McDermott et al 2008, Selman & Higginson 2010, Harding et al. 2010, 2011, 2012a, 2012b, 2013, Lowther et al. 2013).


Teaching for the African Palliative Care Association and the Indian Association of Palliative Care.


Partnership visit to the University of Carolina, USA (2010). Currently on secondment to the University of California, San Francisco, funded by a UCSF-KHP Travelling Fellowship Grant (NIHR).