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August 10, 2020 47 min

This conversation with BJ Miller covers his ideas on  de-pathologizing death, the difference between necessary and unnecessary suffering, our neurotic relationship to experiencing pain and how best to be present for others when they are suffering. We address the distinction between curing and healing and discuss how caregiving, at its best, is a reciprocal relationship. BJ’s perspective on end of life is important because our culture puts so much emphasis on avoiding something that we can’t avoid, instead of integrating it into our lives.

Dr. Bruce (BJ) Miller Jr. is a hospice and palliative care specialist who treats hospitalized patients with terminal or life-altering illnesses. His expertise includes symptom management for patients with cancer. In his work in end-of-life care, he seeks to connect art, spirituality and medicine.

A native of Chicago, Miller studied art history as an undergraduate at Princeton University. He worked at nonprofit organizations for the arts and disability rights for several years before coming to UCSF to earn his medical degree. He completed an internal medicine residency at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, where he was chief resident. He completed a fellowship in hospice and palliative medicine at Harvard Medical School, working at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Click to see Dr. Miller's TED Talk, What really matters at the end of life.

Click to read about or purchase Dr. Miller's book, A Beginner's Guide to the End: Pactical Advice for Living Life and Facing Death.

(This episode is sponsored by LetsGetChecked. Go to and use promo code: TOGETHER30 to receive 30% off an at-home health test!)

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