In memory of Professor Amber Young, Lead of the Global Burn Injury PSP

Published: 26 October 2022

By Suzannah Kinsella, JLA Adviser for the Global Burns Injury PSP

Life is full of highs and lows.  For the Global Burns Priority Setting Partnership, this has been a month of wonderful highs and deeply painful lows.

At the beginning of September, the PSP’s first survey to gather questions about burns care closed with 1,600 responses from more than 80 countries. An unprecedent global reach for a PSP. All of the Steering group, with members across the world were ecstatic that their hard work had paid off.

But just two weeks later, our PSP Lead and the originator of the project, Professor Amber Young (shown in the photograph above), died of breast cancer. 

As the PSP’s JLA Adviser, I met with Amber in the months running up to the launch of the PSP. When we first met on a zoom call, Amber told me she was being treated for breast cancer and that she may have to miss a few meetings for her treatment.  But as things turned out, the only Steering Group meeting that Amber missed was the one that took place five days after she died.  Throughout her cancer treatment, she worked on and made it clear that the Global Burns research priorities would be her legacy.

Losing Amber has hit everyone on the Steering Group hard.  Some members had worked with Amber as clinicians over several years, one had been treated by her as a child and – in one of life’s strange twists of fate - had now become her mentee. Others had only ever met her through the PSP and didn’t know about her cancer.  But regardless of how long anyone had known Amber, everyone fell under her spell.  Amber’s warmth, intelligence and kindness were combined with an extraordinary energy and focus to get things done.

It is these qualities that the Steering Group are now seeking to emulate as we all pull together to continue the work of the PSP and establish the Top 10 global priorities for burns care in 2023.

Read Amber’s University of Bristol obituary

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