Ira Byock, MD
is a leading palliative care physician,
author, and public advocate for improving care through the end of life.
He is Professor of Medicine at the Geisel
School of Medicine at Dartmouth.
He served as Director 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 co-founder
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 hospice, palliative and end-of-life care. His
first book, Dying Well, (1997) has become a standard in
the field. 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 and recognized by POLITICO as a key issue book for the
2012 presidential campaign.
Dr. Byock has been a consistent advocate for
the voice and rights of dying patients and their families. He has been
the recipient of the National Hospice Organizations Person of the
Year (1995), the National Coalition of Cancer SurvivorshipÕs
Natalie Davis Spingarn Writers Award (2000), the American College of
CHEST Physicians Roger Bone Memorial Lecture Award (2003) and the
Outstanding Colleague Award (2008) of the National Association of
Catholic Chaplains. Community Leadership Award, American
Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (2011, Compassion in
Action Award, Santa Clara University (2011).
He has been a featured guest on numerous
national television and radio programs, including NPR: All Things
Considered, Talk of the Nation, and On Being, CBS 60 Minutes, Fox and
Friends, and PBS The News Hour.