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British Medical Association recognition for ‘Coma’ researcher

Posted on 8 September 2015

A University of York academic whose work has helped families of severely brain injured patients has won a major award from the British Medical Association (BMA).

Left to right is: Margaret Kellas (Patient/Family Representative member of our Advisory Group); Jenny Kitzinger; Celia Kitzinger; Gunars Libeks (Patient/Family Representative member of our Advisory Group)

The work of Professor Celia Kitzinger, of the Department of Sociology at York, was awarded first prize for "Information on Ethical Issues" at the 2015 BMA Patient Information Awards. The BMA Patient Information Awards encourage excellence in the production and dissemination of accessible, well-designed and clinically balanced patient information.

It is the second BMA recognition within days for the Department of Sociology – Professor Ellen Annandale was Highly Commended in the Health and Social Care category of the BMA Medical Book Awards for her book The Sociology of Health and Medicine (2nd Edn), Polity. 

Professor Kitzinger and her sister, Professor Jenny Kitzinger of Cardiff University developed an online resource drawing on 65 interviews with relatives of patients in vegetative or minimally conscious states. They created the resource with the help of family members and clinicians who worked as part of the project’s advisory group.

The reviewer for the BMA praised Professor Kitzinger’s team for creating: ‘a profoundly honest and singular resource which will offer wisdom, empathy, insight…and support to others…of great value to both families and clinicians', adding: "In over five years of reviewing for the awards this is the best resource I have seen”.

Professor Celia Kitzinger, co-director of the Cardiff-York Coma and Disorders of Consciousness Research Centre, said: “I am delighted to receive this award through which the BMA recognises the importance of user involvement in creating patient and family information resources. 

The online resource shows a wide range of families with different experiences and views about prolonging life at the boundary between life and death.  We hope it will support and inform other families, healthcare professionals, lawyers and policy makers in addressing complex ethical issues.”

More than 4,000 people used the resource within months of launch and it has already won awards for its impact on policy and society.
The resource can be viewed here.

The resource can be viewed here:

The reviewers for the BMA commented about the Sociology of Health and Medicine (2nd Edn): "This is an excellent update of a classic text in the field. It is approachable, thorough and well-explained and includes new topic areas on globalisation, medicalisation and society. Overall, it is an excellent resource for postgraduate and undergraduate students" (BMA Book Awards 2015).

The annual BMA Medical Book Awards recognise outstanding contributions to medical literature.

The book can be viewed here:

Further information:

Notes to Editors:


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