Meet the Editors: Mark Taubert

 

Meet the Editors: Professor Mark Taubert
Associate editor: Prof Mark Taubert

 

Hello Mark, where do you work?

I work at Velindre University NHS Trust in Cardiff, for the cancer hospital and also University Hospital Llandough as a full-time NHS palliative medicine consultant. I also work for Cardiff University on the palliative care programme, and do academic work, including advance and future care planning at a national level.

 

What types of roles do you currently hold?

I have quite a few hats! I won’t bore you with all of them, but an interesting role I have taken on recently is to be elected onto the European Association for Palliative Care executive board of directors, where I have been serving as vice-president since 2023. It really helps see what is happening in palliative care in Europe and beyond. And you get to see how research conferences are planned and organised. I also feel we should strengthen our links internationally, not sever them.

 

Tell us about your career journey.

I started off in Germany, did my Abitur (baccalaureate) there, then did a year compulsory military service in the German army, the medical division of the Luftwaffe. I then went to Scotland to study medicine, a move I will never regret. I’m a Dundee Uni graduate, and it was a fantastic place to study medicine and learn about the National Health Service. I remember sitting in the medical library at Ninewells hospital, leafing through a 1990’s copy of the British Medical Journal and thinking “I’ll never publish anything in a learned journal this clever!”.

I still work with, and collaborate on a number of projects with colleagues in Scotland, have spoken at the Edinburgh Fringe, and take any excuse to go back to Dundee.

The Edinburgh Fringe?

Yes, I spoke at a ticketed (!) Edinburgh Festival Fringe event, called Death on the Fringe. We talked about palliative care, David Bowie and how humour has an important place in medicine. There’s a blog about it on the EAPC website. I think there is a real interest amongst the public about what we do, and I’ve given Tedx talks, and spoken at music festivals like Green Man and Sorveiv in Norway. The Edinburgh Fringe event ended with me going out on the town with Henning Wehn, the German comedy ambassador who’s been a friend for many years.

What attracted you into Palliative/Supportive Care?

I have always mainly disliked people, and have tried to avoid them, as best I can! Ok, that is of course a joke, it really is the opposite, I find the individuals I meet interesting and like to find out about their stories and background. I’m curious and a bit nosey. When you use that as a starting point, the medical history falls into line neatly at a later point. I need that connection with my patients and those close to them

 

What tips do you have for early researchers?

Ask some questions? If the absence of a clear answer bothers you, then do something about it. Create a new set of answers that others will benefit from, especially palliative care patients and those nearing the end of their lives.

 

What is your favourite novel?

I like magical realism, and Haruki Murakami is great, especially Hard-boiled Wonderland and the end of the world, and also Norwegian Wood.

 

What do you do outside work?

My children are a very important aspect of outside-work-life, and we play a lot of football together, and enjoy making food. I also love music, and of course art. My son Idris last year created a drawing that his school then put forward to the Royal Academy of Arts Young Artist Awards 2023. Out of over 24,000 entries, his sketch, of the Great Wall of China, was selected to be amongst 200 to be exhibited at the Royal Academy in London that year. He meticulously drew every brick into the wall, and kept a running log of how any bricks were being used. Quite methodical, really. Perhaps a future in research!

Certainly a proud dad moment, he was even interviewed for TV and attended a meet the artist event at the RA. Not something anyone in his wider family is likely to emulate! I will be sure to send you a picture.

Idris Taubert: “Six Thousand Bricks and Counting” exhibited at Royal Academy Young Artist Summer Show 2023, London.  Link: https://youngartists.royalacademy.org.uk/exhibitions/2023/95525

 

If you could choose a different career, what would it be?

I like medicine, but I also have found law very interesting, so perhaps that could have been another career path.

 

Any tips for people who want to pitch articles to your BMJ SPC Forum?

Keep it short (under 1000 words), choose a good title and add some photos, to draw people in. Here are some tips we wrote for prospective authors.

 

Mark’s research output:

https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0454-5609

https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=Z124OQQAAAAJ

 

Mark’s University Profile:

https://profiles.cardiff.ac.uk/honorary/taubertm 

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