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I am an interdisciplinary researcher interested in how we talk about medicine and care – in public, in practice, and in policy – with particular attention to pain, ageing, and the end of life, as well as holistic and whole-person approaches.

I have a BA from Durham University and did my Medical Humanities MSc here at King’s. My PhD is from the University of Glasgow and was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. It looked at the contemporary legacies of Cicely Saunders’ idea of ‘total pain’ in hospice and palliative care.

I received an Early Career Foundation award from the Glasgow Medical Humanities Network in 2021 and was an Early Career Fellow at the Northern Network of Medical Humanities Research Jan-Feb 2022.

I joined King’s in April 2022 as a Research Associate on the UKRI-funded project The Sciences of Ageing and the Culture of Youth.

Research interests:

  • ageing
  • dying, death and loss
  • narrative in medicine
  • holism in medicine and healthcare
  • professional and public discourse 

I am interested in how the way we talk about medicine and care both reflects and conditions how care is delivered, experienced, and researched. I use text-based and archival methods to examine the history of certain terms and ideas in professional writing. My work consequently engages with medical history, narrative medicine, and philosophies of care. My current research concerns professional healthcare responses to universal human experiences of ageing (throughout the life course) and dying, and how ideas of personhood or holistic approaches are described and deployed.

Selected publications:

  • Wood, J. (2021) Cicely Saunders, 'Total Pain' and emotional evidence at the end of life, Medical Humanities, online first/issue forthcoming
  • Wood, J. (2019) Fragments and Silences: Rethinking Narrative in End-of-Life Care, The Polyphony: Conversations Across the Medical Humanities, online, June 2019
  • Krawczyk, M., Wood, J. and Clark, D. (2018) Total pain: origins, current practice, and future directions. Omsorg: The Norwegian Journal of Palliative Care, 2018(2)

Expertise and public engagement

I currently work with St Christopher's Hospice in Sydenham, south London developing their engagement and enrichment programme, including their oral history project. I have given public talks on my research, including at the Royal College of Nurses and as part of the Atlas Pandemica arts project at The Stove, Dumfries.


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