Big picture discussions about death and dying.


Dr. BJ Miller, MD is a Hospice and Palliative Care doctor in San Francisco, and runs a fascinating facility called the Zen Hospice Project. His thought provoking TED Talk dives into how we might bring intention and creativity to the experience of dying; to rethink and redesign an inevitable truth for everyone.

Palliative care physician Dr. Timothy Ihrig explains the benefits of a different approach, one that fosters a patient’s overall quality of life and navigates serious illness from diagnosis to death with dignity and compassion.

Amanda Bennett is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who tells her beautiful story of her and her husband’s battle with cancer over several years, pushing the boundaries of new medicines. What’s incredibly compelling is they had advance directives, yet chose other treatments when the end was near. Worth your watching to better understand treatment, communication, and goals of care from a patient’s family perspective.

Dr. Peter Saul, MD is an Emergency Medicine physician and walks through a really interesting talk about how we can’t control that we die, but we can have some say in how we die. He makes note of the US having twice as high of a death rate in the ICU than any other country, which can be contributed to by our culture of not discussing death.

Judy MacDonald Johnston runs a really interesting company called Good End of Life that helps people in developing specific plans for their end of life care and wishes. In this talk, she walks through that process, and her story of how she came to helping people in these times.

Dr. Kelli Swazey is an Anthropologist who examines the cultural and religious practices that influence the different way in which people approach the process as well as ceremonies surrounding death.

Buddhist roshi Joan Halifax works with people at the last stage of life (in hospice and on death row). She shares what she’s learned about compassion in the face of death and dying, and a deep insight into the nature of empathy.

Debra Jarvis had worked as a hospital chaplain for nearly 30 years when she was diagnosed with cancer. And she learned quite a bit as a patient. In a witty, daring talk, she explains how the identity of “cancer survivor” can feel static. She asks us all to claim our hardest experiences, while giving ourselves room to grow and evolve.

Dr. Martha Atkins is a death researcher who breaks down the death bed phenomenon where people actively hallucinate as they begin the process of dying.