Dr Charles Douglas

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Dr Charles Douglas is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Medicine and Public Health (Clinical Ethics and Health Law) at The University of Newcastle, Australia

Dr. Douglas is a relatively early career academic, having not taken an academic appointment, or commenced a PhD until establishing himself in his clinical career in 2004. He originally studied mathematics and physics at the University of Adelaide, and worked as a school teacher, which gave him a strong background in science generally and in teaching. He commenced medical training at the University of Newcastle in 1985, and completed his B Med with honours in 1990, having also completed a Bachelor of Medical Science in transplantation with first class honours, further strengthening his research background.

Dr. Douglas then undertook post-graduate training in surgery, taking a break from this in 1999 to do a year of research in ethics (relating to surgery). Soon after completion of his surgical training, an opportunity arose to take an academic position at the University of Newcastle as a Lecturer in Clinical Ethics and Health Law. He has continued in this role while developing his surgical expertise in the areas of breast cancer and melanoma surgery. He now works as a consultant surgeon at the Breast Centre, Gateshead, and at the Newcastle Melanoma Unit, and as a VMO surgeon at the Calvary Mater and Lake Macquarie Private Hospitals. In 2008 he was promoted to Senior Lecturer.

Dr. Douglas has developed a very wide range of research interests in ethics, clinical decision making, basic science and surgery. He was awarded his PhD (on end-of-life decision making) in 2012. He was holder of a Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Research Scholarship in 1999 and a Fellowship of the Federation of European Cancer Societies in 2003. He is also winner of the inaugural General Surgeons Australia Best Paper Prize for his work on the ultrasound diagnosis of appendicitis and the winner of the Sir Edward Hughes Memorial Research Prize for this project (1999). He was shortlisted again for the Sir Edward Hughes Memorial Research Prize for his work on surgeons attitudes to euthanasia (2000). He is the winner of the Ethel and Olive Hewitt Medical Research Scholarship in 2001. He won two ECR grants relating to his work on interviews with palliative care physicians regarding the use of palliative sedation at the end of life in 2007 and 2009, and is already internationally recognised for his work in this area.

Research Expertise
I have a very wide range of expertise, covering a number of different areas. My doctorate (submitted August 2011) is on 'end-of-life decision making' and incorporates 5 papers, two of which relate to moral psychology / philosophy, and 3 of which are sociological studies of doctors, in both qualitative and quantitative research traditions. While working on my PhD I have also published or am conducting clinical studies (a randomised controlled trial on the diagnosis of appendicitis using ultrasound), studies on clinical decision making (using decision aids, using different forms of communication), basic science studies (on the transplantation of thyroid tissue in mice, and on the tension properties of human skin as it relates to reconstructive surgery), and papers on bioethics, particularly the issue of informed consent.

Teaching Expertise
I am the Discipline Lead for ethics and I teach clinical ethics and health law to all years of the JMP program with the exception of Year 5, having developed this course myself. I have a broad interest in other areas of ethics, and have given talks to a variety of other schools in the past. I also teach into the surgery program and am involved in assessment of most years of the JMP program in a number of different areas, most importantly in clinical assessments.

Administrative Expertise
Program Convenor, Bachelor of Medical Science School Student Academic Conduct Officer HES course coordinator Discipline Lead, Clinical Ethics and Health Law Director, Melanoma Unit, Calvary Mater Newcastle.

Bachelor of Medicine (Honours), University of Newcastle
Bachelor of Science, University of Adelaide
Bachelor of Medical Science (Honours), University of Newcastle

Any contributions will be gratefully accepted


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Last modified: Monday, 25 March 2024