Harvey Chochinov

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Harvey Max Chochinov OC OM FRSC is a Canadian academic and psychiatrist from Winnipeg who specializes in palliative care. As of 2016, he was a Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Manitoba.[1] He was offered an appointment to the Senate of Canada in October 2016 by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, but ultimately declined to take his seat for "personal, family, and professional reasons" in February 2017.[2]


Chochinov is a leading expert in palliative care, with a focus on the dignity of patients, proper communication, and existential suffering. He developed dignity therapy, which is currently used by doctors worldwide as its benefits for patients at the end of life, relatives and health professionals have been proved.[3][4][5] Dignity therapy involves creating a narrative document with the dying patient that gives them the chance to reflect on their life experiences.[6]

He was a co-founder of the Canadian Virtual Hospice, which serves as a resource centre for anyone involved with palliative care.[7] He is a distinguished professor of psychiatry at the University of Manitoba and the director of the Manitoba Palliative Care Research Unit at CancerCare.[8]

In 2012, Chochinov won the Canadian Medical Association's Frederic Newton Gisborne Starr Award, for his contributions to palliative care.[9]

In 2015, Chochinov chaired the External Panel on Options for a Legislative Response to Carter v. Canada which informed eventual legislation on medically-assisted death. Chochinov was himself an opponent of medically-assisted death.

In November 2015, Chochinov was invested as an Officer of the Order of Canada for his work on improving end-of-life care for Canadians.[7][10]

In April 2016, Chochinov was named the University of Manitoba's first research chair in palliative care medicine.[8]

Senate appointment[edit]

On October 27, 2016, Chochinov was announced one of the successful applicants to fill three Manitoba vacancies in the Senate of Canada.[11] A statement from the Office of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau noted Trudeau intended to recommend the appointment of Chochinov and other selectees to Governor General David Johnston and that they would sit as independents. As of December 6, 2016, all new senators from that intake round other than Chochinov had been formally summoned to the Senate. On February 2, 2017, the Privy Council Office made public that Dr. Chochinov had advised the Prime Minister that he would not accept the appointment to the Senate, citing "personal, family and professional reasons."[2]


  1. ^ "University of Manitoba - Faculty of Medicine - Psychiatry - Harvey Max Chochinov, MD, PhD, FRCPC". umanitoba.ca. University of Manitoba. Retrieved October 27, 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Trudeau appointee for Manitoba Senate seat turns down the job". CBC News, February 2, 2017.
  3. ^ Martínez, Marina; Arantzamendi, María; Belar, Alazne; Carrasco, José Miguel; Carvajal, Ana; Rullán, María; Centeno, Carlos (2017). "'Dignity therapy', a promising intervention in palliative care: A comprehensive systematic literature review". Palliative Medicine. 31 (6): 492–509. doi:10.1177/0269216316665562. PMC 5405836. PMID 27566756.
  4. ^ Donato, Suzana Cristina Teixeira; Matuoka, Jéssica Yumi; Yamashita, Camila Cristófero; Salvetti, Marina de Goés (2016). "Effects of dignity therapy on terminally ill patients: A systematic review". Revista da Escola de Enfermagem da Usp. 50 (6): 1014–1024. doi:10.1590/S0080-623420160000700019. PMID 28198968.
  5. ^ Chochinov, Harvey Max; Kristjanson, Linda J.; Breitbart, William; McClement, Susan; Hack, Thomas F.; Hassard, Tom; Harlos, Mike (2011). "Effect of dignity therapy on distress and end-of-life experience in terminally ill patients: A randomised controlled trial". The Lancet Oncology. 12 (8): 753–762. doi:10.1016/S1470-2045(11)70153-X. PMC 3185066. PMID 21741309.
  6. ^ "For The Dying, A Chance To Rewrite Life". NPR.org. Retrieved 2018-12-17.
  7. ^ a b "Winnipeg's Harvey Chochinov gets Order of Canada for palliative care work". CBC News. November 18, 2015. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  8. ^ a b "University of Manitoba invests $2.5M to create palliative research chair". CBC News. April 6, 2016. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  9. ^ "Dr. Harvey Chochinov honoured by peers". Winnipeg Free Press. August 1, 2012. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  10. ^ "Canada Research Chairs awarded Order of Canada". www.chairs-chaires.gc.ca. 2012-11-29. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  11. ^ Bryden, Joan (October 27, 2016). "Justin Trudeau set to name nine new senate appointments". Global News. The Canadian Press. Retrieved October 27, 2016.