2020 Fulbright Future Postdoctoral Scholar

Xavier was awarded a 2020 Fulbright Future Postdoctoral Scholarship funded by the Kinghorn Foundation, and he was a scholar in residence at Georgetown University's Kennedy Institute of Ethics from September 2021 to March 2022.

2020 Fulbright Future Postdoctoral Scholar

Recent ACU doctoral graduate Dr Xavier Symons was awarded a Fulbright Future Scholarship to continue his work on healthcare ethics. Dr Symons completed his PhD in 2019 at ACU, supervised by Dr Steve Matthews and Dr Stewart Braun, studying the ethics of healthcare distribution. At the time of receiving this award, Xavier was a Research Associate in the Institute for Ethics and Society at the University of Notre Dame, where he convened a bioethics and healthcare ethics research program.

His Fulbright scholarship took him to the Kennedy Institute for Ethics (KIE) at Georgetown University in Washington DC where he completed a research project on the ethics of dementia, focusing in particular on issues identified in the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. Working with leading aged care and disability scholars at the KIE, Xavier critically evaluated the conceptions of autonomy, personhood and personal identity that inform current medical models of dementia. His research drew upon an extensive body of philosophical and social scientific research to explore how

patients with even severe forms of dementia retain communicative and decisional capacity, albeit in a diminished form. He also offered recommendations for how practice can be adjusted to affirm the dignity and enduring personhood of individuals with advanced dementia. Dr Symons is passionate about aged care reform, having volunteered in nursing homes in Sydney and Melbourne for several years and experienced first-hand the many human and organisational challenges facing aged care providers in Australia.
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2020 ACU Alumni Research and Scholarship Award


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