Using empathy and a clear-eyed view of mortality, BJ Miller shines a light on health care's most ignored facet: preparing for death.
Why you should listen
Palliative care specialist BJ Miller helps patients and families face illness and death realistically, comfortably, and on their own terms. Miller is cultivating a model for palliative care organizations around the world, and emphasizing healthcare’s quixotic relationship to the inevitability of death. He is a hospice and palliative medicine physician and sees patients and families via telehealth at Mettle Health, a company he co-founded with the aim to provide personalized, holistic consultations for any patient or caregiver who needs help navigating the many practical, emotional and communication issues that come with serious or chronic illness, end of life and disability.
Miller’s passion for palliative care stems from personal experience -- a shock sustained while a Princeton undergraduate cost him three limbs and nearly killed him. But his experiences form the foundation of a hard-won empathy for patients who are running out of time.
What others say
“Having heard more than 200 talks at three TED conferences in the past two years, I can truly say that none has stayed with me more piercingly and offered more wisdom and clarity and depth, all delivered with rare humanity and calm, than the address I was privileged to hear from BJ Miller. With each passing sentence, I felt I was being ushered into a grounded, lucid, compassionate and possibly life-changing perspective on dying, living and all that sits at the center of our existence. Many TED talks have offered me exhilarating glimpses into possibility and the new—but this one was the perfect note on which to end a rich and idea-filled conference, coming right after His Holiness the Dalai Lama and teaching us unforgettably about reality and all the changeless truths that guide and steady us in a world of change.” — Pico Iyer, March 2015