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    30th Pre-Meeting Conference

    International Work Group
    on Death, Dying and Bereavement


    Dying Matters: Current Issues and
    Approaches in Hospice Palliative Care

    Saturday, June 23, 2018 in London ON, Canada
    Hosted by King's University College - London ON, Canada
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Presenter Biographies

Ira Byock

Ira Byock, MD, FAAHPM

The Best Care Possible: Clinical and Cultural Leadership in the 21st Century

Ira Byock, MD, FAAHPM is a leading palliative care physician, author, and public advocate for improving care through the end of life.
He is Founder and Chief Medical Officer of the Institute for Human Caring of Providence St. Joseph Health, a 50 hospital health system serving communities across 7 states. Dr. Byock advances efforts to measure, monitor and improve whole-person health care system-wide and supports culturally diverse communities in expanding models of caring. He is a practicing physician and is based in Torrance, CA. Dr. Byock is Active Professor Emeritus of Medicine and Community & Family Medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. He served as Chair of Palliative Medicine at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire from 2003 through July 2013. 

Dr. Byock has been involved in hospice and palliative care since 1978, during his residency. At that time he helped found a hospice home care program for the indigent population served by the university hospital and county clinics of Fresno, California. He is a Past President (1997) of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. During the 1990s he was a cofounder and principal investigator for the Missoula Demonstration Project, a community-based organization in Montana dedicated to the research and transformation of end-of-life experience locally, as a demonstration of what is possible nationally. From 1996 through 2006, he served as Director for Promoting Excellence in End-of-Life Care, a national grant program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Dr. Byock has authored numerous articles on the ethics and practice of care. His research has led to conceptual frameworks for the lived experience of advanced illness, subjective quality of life measures, and simple, effective life-completion counseling. His leadership in development of groundbreaking prototypes for concurrent care of people through the end of life has been foundational to advancing patient-centered care.

Dr. Byock’s first book, Dying Well, (1997) has become a standard in the field of hospice and palliative care. The Four Things That Matter Most, (2004) is used as a counseling tool widely by palliative care and hospice programs, as well as within pastoral care. His most recent book, The Best Care Possible (March 2012) tackles the crisis that surrounds serious illness and dying in America and his quest to transform care through the end of life. It has been praised by the Wall Street Journal, the Economist and other major publications, and won the Annual Books for a Better Life Award in the category of Wellness.

Dr. Byock has been the recipient of numerous awards for academic achievement and community services. In 2014 he was recognized as a Visionary by the Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, as well as being given the Academy’s most prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. He has been a featured guest on national television and radio programs, including NPR’s All Things Considered, Talk of the Nation, and On Being, CBS 60 Minutes, Fox and Friends, and PBS The News Hour. More information is available at IraByock.org

James Downar

James Downar, MD, CM, MHSc, FRCPC

MAiD in Canada: Two Years On

James Downar is a Critical Care and Palliative Care Physician at the University Health Network and Sinai Health System in Toronto, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto. He graduated from McGill University Medical School and completed residency training in Internal Medicine, Critical Care and Palliative Care at the University of Toronto. Dr. Downar has a Master’s degree in Bioethics from the Joint Centre for Bioethics at the University of Toronto. He serves as Program Director for the Subspecialty Residency Program in Palliative Care at the University of Toronto, Chair of the Postgraduate Education Committee of the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians, as well as Chair of the Ethical Affairs Committee of the Canadian Critical Care Society. James has authored more than 50 peer-reviewed publications, has been principal investigator on 9 peer-reviewed grants, and is an Associated Medical Services Phoenix Fellow for 2016-7. His research interests include communication and decision-making for seriously ill patients and their families; Palliative Care for the Critically Ill; and Palliative Care for Non-cancer Illnesses.

Andy Ho

Andy Ho, PhD, EdD, FT, MFT

Caring for caregivers: processing loss and building sustained resilience with Mindful Compassion Art Therapy (MCAT)

  • ADEC Fellow in Thanatology,
  • IWGDDB Elected Member,
  • Assistant Professor of Psychology,
  • School of Social Sciences,
  • Nanyang Technological University Singapore .

Dr Andy Hau Yan Ho is Assistant Professor of Psychology at the School of Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work and Thanatology from the University of Hong Kong, and a Doctor of Education in Lifelong Learning from the University of Nottingham. He is an elected member of the prestigious International Work Group on Death Dying and Bereavement and a Fellow in Thanatology. Andy specializes in the research and teaching of public health palliative care, life and death education, psychosocial gerontology, holistic therapy and community empowerment. Based on this body of work, he has produced many acclaimed population health campaigns and short film documentaries; authored over 60 chapters, books and articles in prominent journals, as well as presented more than 100 keynotes, plenary and competitive conference presentations across the globe. Andy’s scholarly contributions have been recognized with distinction by the Association of Death Education and Counseling, the International Palliative Care Network, the International Academy of the Visual Arts, and the Hong Kong International Cancer Congress.

Donna Schuurman

Donna Schuurman, Ed.D., FT

No Secrets, Please: What Youth Want Us to Know When Someone is Dying

Donna Schuurman is the Sr. Director of Advocacy & Training/Executive Director Emeritus at The Dougy Center for Grieving Children & Families in Portland, Oregon, where she has served since 1986. She writes and trains internationally on children’s bereavement issues, and authored Never the Same: Coming to Terms with the Death of a Parent. Dr. Schuurman is a member of the International Work Group on Death, Dying, and Bereavement, and a founding board member of The National Alliance for Grieving Children. She has trained the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and FBI’s Rapid Deployment teams, as well as medical personnel, NGO staff and caregivers following major disasters including the Oklahoma City bombing, 9/11, Japan’s 1995 Kobe earthquake and 3/11 tsunami, and the Sandy Hook School and Umpqua Community College shootings. She was the recipient of the Association for Death Education & Counseling’s Annual Service Award (2004) and Annual Clinical Service Award (2013).

Dying Matters:

Current Issues and Approaches in Hospice Palliative Care

A one day conference held on June 23, 2018. Hosted by the International Work Group for Death, Dying and Bereavement and co hosted by King's University College at Western University Canada.


Conference Schedule

8.00 AM
Registration opens

Pre-Meeting Conference Parking

8.30 AM
Land Acknowledgement, Welcome, & Introductions
  • Dr. Darcy Harris – King's Thanatology Program Coordinator; meeting co-chair
  • Dr. Amy Chow, Hong Kong University; IWG Board Chair
  • Dr. Susan Cadell—Renison College at University of Waterloo; meeting co-chair
8.45 AM
Donna Schuurman
Dr. Donna Schuurman

No Secrets, Please: What Youth Want Us to Know When Someone is Dying

10.10 AM
10.30 AM
James Downar
Dr. James Downar

MAiD in Canada: Two Years On

12.00 PM
1.00 PM
Andy Ho
Dr. Andy Ho

Caring for caregivers: processing loss and building sustained resilience with Mindful Compassion Art Therapy (MCAT)

2.25 PM
2.45 PM
Ira Byock
Dr. Ira Byock

The Best Care Possible: Clinical and Cultural Leadership in the 21st Century

4.15 PM
Conclusion—Dr. Phil Carverhill, Saskatoon, IWG Board Member; meeting co-chair

Thank You for joining us today.

With Grateful appreciation for support from . . .
Mount Pleasant Group
Calming Tree Counselling


King's University College
Address: 266 Epworth Avenue,
London ON, N6A 2M3

Phone: (519) 679-4546

Directions  Info

Venue Info

About King's University College

Founded in 1954, King’s University College at Western University is a Catholic, liberal arts university college affiliated with a large, world class university. King’s students enjoy “The Best of Both Worlds” - small classes led by outstanding faculty on a small, beautiful campus while enjoying the experiences of being part of a comprehensive university. King’s students have complete access to all the facilities and services at Western University and graduate with a Western degree. As a Catholic university, King’s emphasizes the value of each individual and the importance of social justice. Students from all faiths and backgrounds are most welcome. Respect for the human person is behind our commitment to diversity, accessibility, social justice and to building the common good. An inclusive, supportive community is one of King's greatest strengths.

King’s is recognized, both nationally and internationally, for its excellent academic programs, generous scholarships and comprehensive student services. Offering degree programs in the arts, social sciences, management and social work [both BSW (honors) and MSW], King’s is home to approximately 3500 full and part time students from across Canada as well as 35 other countries. 

Getting here

The London International Airport (YXU) is served by Air Canada, Westjet, and their partner airlines. The airport is approximately 20 minutes from the King's University College by Checker Limousine or by Uber. Rates to King's University College run approximately $26.00 CDN per car.

Parking for Pre-Meeting Conference

Conference Welcome

(IWG Logo)

The International Work Group on Death, Dying and Bereavement


Dying Matters: Current Issues and Approaches in Hospice Palliative Care
1-day Conference – Saturday June 23, 2018

Welcome to Dying Matters: Current Issues and Approaches in Hospice Palliative Care, a conference brought to you in conjunction with the 30th Meeting of the International Work Group on Death, Dying and Bereavement (IWG).

The IWG is a non-profit, invitational organization, comprised of leaders in the field of death, dying and bereavement from around the world. Its mission is to support such leaders in their efforts to stimulate and enhance innovative ideas, research, and practice in the field.

A tradition within IWG is for members to provide their time and expertise in offering a conference to the local community/host country on the day prior to the commencement of their 6-day meeting. As such, this is a very unique opportunity to hear speakers of international calibre, with a wealth of experience, who would otherwise not typically be gathered under one roof!

We are most appreciative to IWG members Dr. Ira Byock, Dr. Donna Schuurman, and Dr. Andy Ho for their generous participation in this day, as well as our guest Dr. James Downar.  Palliative Hospice care has experienced significant advances as well as important challenges in recent times. This day promises to offer meaningful insights and truly innovative ideas and practices related to the present-day challenges that lie before us in providing the best care possible.

We are grateful to you for coming to this event and our hope is that you leave having been stimulated and inspired by some new thought, innovative idea or person-to-person connection.

Enjoy the day!

2018 IWG Meeting Co-Chairs

Darcy Harris Darcy Harris
Phil Carverhill Phil Carverhill
Susan Cadell Susan Cadell