BJ Miller, M.D.

Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine, University
of California San Francisco
Former Executive Director, Zen Hospice Project

Pre-eminent speakers on palliative and end of life care

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Dr. BJ Miller is one of the pre-eminent speakers on patient-centered care, palliative and end-of-life care. Drawing on his expertise as a physician, former Executive Director of Zen Hospice Project, and as a patient, he is an advocate for a healthcare system that maximizes quality of life and that minimizes unnecessary suffering.

His TED Talk, “What Really Matters at the End of Life,” about encouraging empathic end-of-life care, with some discussion on keeping the patient at the center of care, has garnered over 5 and a half million views to date and ranked among the most viewed talks.

Dr. Miller also speaks to the therapeutic potential of aesthetics, and how to design for life. 

BJ is also an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), and is an attending specialist for the Symptom Management Service of the UCSF Helen Diller Comprehensive Cancer Center, one of the country’s very first outpatient palliative care clinics. He is the Dream Foundation Honorary Medical Chair, the only national dream-granting organization for terminally-ill adults.

BJ was Executive Director of Zen Hospice Project from 2011-2016 where he helped develop and share a pioneering model of human-centered end of life care. He is currently involved wth the organization as an advisor.

Raised in Chicago, BJ studied art history as an undergraduate at Princeton University. After several years working in both the art and disability-rights non-profit communities he enrolled at UCSF where he completed his MD as a Regents' Scholar in 2001. He completed his internal medicine residency at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, California, where he served as chief resident. He completed his fellowship in Hospice & Palliative Medicine at Harvard Medical School, with his clinical duties split between Massachusetts General Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Among the various awards received, BJ won the William Osler Distinguished Teaching Award as well as the AAHPM/Project on Death in America Palliative Medicine Community Leadership Award.


Dr. Miller tailors each presentation to the needs of his audience and is not limited to the topics we have listed below. These are subjects that have proven valuable to customers in the past and are meant only to suggest his range and interests. Please ask us about any subject that interests you; we are sure that we can accommodate you.


a) public/professional interface of healthcare
b) palliative care development
c) heath, illness & experience
d) interdependence of healthcare system
e) existentialism & philosophy around healthcare


a) how we die/suffer & the human condition
f) expanding interdisciplinary models around death/dying (can also apply to “Healthcare”)


a) healthcare services and infrastructure
g) designing a person centered healthcare system
h) aesthetics/beauty & art



a) development of human/machine prosthetics


SuperSoul Sunday | OWN

In facing death, this doctor sees a way to live well | PBS Newshour

Death as Part of Life | Arts & Ideas at the JCCSF

2015 Spotlight Health Opening and Welcome | Aspen Ideas Festival

What really matters at the end of life | TED


A compassionate care firm for the terminally ill:
Just wanted to let you know that our event with BJ Miller last evening went really well. The venue was just the right mark for his background and he was so personable and engaging. He came to the cocktail hour before the session and then just had some really terrific remarks, and I think we were really struck with how personable and real he was, and he was definitely the right tone for our event. BJ’s approach and personality and down-to-earth nature was really really really well received here.

An organization working to improve patient experience:
Excellent speaker ... Great delivery, great information... Thought provoking ... Very inspirational ... Pertinent topic ... Outstanding!