Ira Byock 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 at Providence St. Joseph Health.
Dr. Byock is also active emeritus professor of medicine and community & family medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. He served as director of palliative medicine at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., from 2003 through July 2013.
Dr. Byock has been involved in hospice and palliative care since 1978. His research has contributed to conceptual frameworks for the lived experience of illness that encompasses a continuum from suffering to wellbeing; related measures for subjective quality of life during illness; and effective life-completion counseling methods. From 1996 to 2006 he directed Promoting Excellence in End-of-Life Care, a national Robert Wood Johnson Foundation program that developed prototypes for concurrent palliative care of people with life-threatening conditions. He is a past president of the Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.
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. The Best Care Possible (2012) tackles the crisis that surrounds serious illness and dying in America and the transformation that is possible.
Dr. Byock has been a featured guest on national television and radio programs, including CBS’ 60 Minutes (on three separate occasions), PBS News Hour, Fox and Friends, and NPR’s All Things Considered, Talk of the Nation, and On Being.