Steering Group

The ILC’s international Steering Group was established in September 2014, and includes representatives from Australia, Sweden, and Canada. The Steering Group oversees and coordinates activity between the annual Conference and Summit.


Professor Alison Kitson

Professor Alison Kitson

Vice President and Executive Dean, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Flinders University, Australia

Prof Kitson has had a long, successful career in executive leadership, education and research in the UK and Australia, publishing extensively in the areas of fundamental care and implementation science. From 2013-2015 Alison was the Executive Director (Innovation & Reform) of Nursing for the Central Adelaide Local Health Network, providing leadership in models of care and workforce planning and redesign. Her contribution to nursing is recognised through prestigious accolades, including the Florence Nightingale Leadership Award (2004), Distinguished Graduate of the Year from the University of Ulster (2002), and a Fellowship of the Royal College of Nursing (1991). In 2009, Alison became a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing for her work on standards of nursing care and translating evidence into practice. In 2013 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Malmo, Sweden, for her contribution to nursing scholarship and leadership.

Tiffany Conroy

Senior Research Fellow, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Flinders University; Deputy Director, Centre for Evidence-based Practice South Australia, Australia

Tiffany has a Bachelor of Nursing from Flinders University and a Master in Nursing Science from the University of Adelaide, and is a Fellow of the Australian College of Nursing. Tiffany’s research interests include the fundamentals of care, knowledge translation and the methodology and conduct of systematic reviews. Tiffany is currently a PhD candidate. Her doctoral work focuses on the “Factors influencing nurses’ delivery of the Fundamentals of Care”. Tiffany has been involved in the preparation of several papers relating to fundamental care with other members of the ILC.

Professor Erik Elgaard Sørensen

Professor in Clinical Nursing and Head of Clinical Nursing Research Unit, Aalborg University and Aalborg University Hospital, Denmark

Prof Sørensen worked in clinical nursing practice for 20 years, followed by roles as a nurse director, and has been working as a researcher in clinical nursing for the past 16 years. As a researcher, he has been working with leadership, technology and nursing, capacity building in clinical nursing research and fundamentals of care. His current work involves a mix of research and doctoral supervision; academic publishing; service to the hospital, university and public; media work; editorial functions;  service to the profession; and international collaboration. Erik has been a member of ILC since 2012. He is the head of the six-institute cross-collaboration Danish Programme Fundamentals of Care 2018-2024.

Professor Debra Jackson

Professor of Nursing, Faculty of Health, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia

Prof Jackson is a Fellow of the Australian College of Nursing, and a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing (Xi Omicron & Phi Mu). She leads research programs in patient safety, with a particular focus on pressure injury and workforce development. Prof Jackson is a committed and experienced mentor and supervisor of developing researchers, scholars and leaders. Prof Jackson has over 350 publications, is Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Clinical Nursing, and sits on the Editorial Boards of Journal of Child Health Care, Nursing Inquiry, and Nursing and Health Science. In 2016, Prof Jackson was named as a Principal Fellow, NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, awarded in recognition of her outstanding and sustained contribution to translational clinical research.

Associate Professor Mette Grønkjær

Associate Professor, Department of Clinical Medicine, Aalborg University and Clinical Nursing Research Unit, Aalborg University Hospital, Denmark

Assoc Prof Grønkjær has a Master in Nursing from Flinders University, Australia, and a PhD in Medicine from Aarhus University, Denmark. Since 2002, she has worked in the areas of teaching, research and development within nursing. Assoc Prof Grønkjær’s research interests include the fundamentals of care, particularly among vulnerable and stigmatized groups; alcohol and other drugs; public health; health behaviour; mixed methods research and methodology development. In her current role as Associate Professor, she is highly engaged with PhD supervision, international research collaboration and research management. Assoc Prof Grønkjær has been a member of the ILC since 2012.

Dr Lianne Jeffs

Scientist, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St Michael’s Hospital; Associate Professor (status), Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing and Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto, Canada

Dr Jeffs’ research interests include patient safety, quality improvement, and knowledge translation. Her research program at University of Toronto aims to generate insight into how care transitions for complex medical patients can be enhanced to improve quality patient care and outcomes. In her role at St Michael’s hospital, Dr Jeffs focuses on patient safety and health services research, with a focus on safe transitions across the healthcare sector. Previous work has included investigating near miss occurrences in the healthcare system and safety and leadership in critical care. She currently holds research funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. Knowledge generated from her research provides foundational knowledge around the design and delivery of safer healthcare in Canada.

Jane Merkley

Executive Vice-President, Chief Nurse Executive and COO, Sinai Health System; Adjunct Professor, Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto, Canada

Jane is a nurse executive with expertise in leading strategic change initiatives that deliver the highest quality patient care across the healthcare continuum. Jane co-chaired the Orthopaedic Capacity Planning initiative to review and evaluate the delivery of orthopedic services, and the MSK/Stroke Implementation Task Force to support adoption of best practices for joint replacement, hip fracture and stroke. She is the chair of the Rehab/CCC Vice President Steering Committee, providing strategic leadership to influence system-level change and promote rehabilitative care. In 2013, Jane was the Bridgepoint lead in the Toronto Central Integrated Client Care Program, which received a Minister’s Medal Honouring Excellence in Health Quality and Safety. For her work as an academic practice leader, Jane received the Award of Merit for Excellence in Nursing Administration from Sigma Theta Tau, Lambda Pi Chapter.

Associate Professor Åsa Muntlin Athlin

Head of Research, Department of Emergency Care, Uppsala University Hospital; Associate Professor, Adjunct Senior Lecturer and Researcher, Uppsala University, Sweden; Adjunct Research Fellow, Adelaide Nursing School, University of Adelaide, Australia

Assoc Prof Muntlin Athlin has specialist training in emergency care and extensive clinical and research experience in Emergency nursing. Her current research areas include health services research, pain management, emergency care, patient experiences, knowledge translation and fundamentals of care. Assoc Prof Muntlin Athlin was the inaugural recipient of the University of Adelaide School of Nursing Eleanor Harrald Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, working with Professor Kitson on the fundamentals of care research program. She is the Co-Principal Investigator and coordinator of a joint fundamental of care research program between Sweden and Australia, and is involved in different projects through the Nordic Health Research and Innovation Networks and Swedish Society of Nursing. She is also involved in teaching fundamentals of care to students at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Professor David Richards

Professor of Mental Health Services Research and Head of Nursing at the University of Exeter, UK

Prof Richards is a distinguished health services researcher with a global reputation in developing, testing and evaluating complex, non-pharmacological interventions. He is one of only five nurses to be awarded ‘Senior Investigator’ status by the UK National Institute for Health Research, recognising the top 200 UK health service researchers. Prof Richard’s research focuses on: improving access to healthcare for people with common mental health disorders, the effectiveness of primary care telephone triage, and improving the evidence base for fundamental nursing care. He leads the University of Exeter’s Complex Interventions Research Group, and is responsible for strategic leadership of the University’s Academy of Nursing. Prof Richards was President of the European Academy of Nursing Science (EANS) from 2012-2018 and, with EANS colleagues, edited the seminal textbook Complex Interventions in Health: An Overview of Research Methods

Professor Yvonne Wengstrom

Professor of Nursing, Neurobiology Care Science and Society, Karolinska Institutet; Radiumhemmet, Karolinska University Hospital, Sweden

Prof Wengstrom’s work involves ensuring quality care around fundamental aspects of patient care, such as adequate nutrition, comfort, and hygiene. This work involves understanding the fundamentals of care, and how they are delivered, from the view of patients, including those with cancer and survivors of stroke. Prof Wengstrom has been involved in an intervention study to implement and test a clinical practice development intervention to promote compassionate care for older patients in the acute hospital setting, primary care and care homes. The intervention used cluster randomization procedures and focused on the quality of the relationship between the patient and healthcare staff.