Ira Byock is a physician specializing in palliative care. In 2014, Byock accepted an offer from Providence Health & Services to develop and serve as chief medical officer of the Providence Institute for Human Caring. The institute’s goal is to advance quality in care through the end of life via training and research. The institute also aims to engage the public by raising expectations and giving consumers the information and tools they need to get better care for themselves.
Prior to joining Providence, he was the Director of Palliative Medicine at Dartmouth–Hitchcock Medical Center, from 2003 through June 2014. He is a professor of medicine and of community health and family medicine at Dartmouth Medical School.
Byock is a past president (1997) of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. During the 1990s, he was a co-founder and principal investigator for the Missoula Demonstration Project, a community organization in Montana dedicated to the research and transformation of end-of-life experience. From 1996 through 2006, he served as director for Promoting Excellence in End-of-Life Care, a national grant program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Byock authored Dying Well in 1997 and The Four Things That Matter Most in 2004. Both are used extensively in the counselling of patients and families dealing with advanced illness. Additionally, Byock co-authored Palliative and End-of-Life Pearls with John E.Heffner, MD in 2002 and A Few Months to Live: Different Paths to Life's End with Jana Staton and Roger Shuy in 2001. His most recent book is "The Best Care Possible" about how 'more' is not always better in end-of-life care.
Byock has appeared as a featured guest on numerous national television and radio programs, including NPR: Talk of the Nation, All Things Considered and Fresh Air; American Public Media: On Being; CBS 60 Minutes; ABC Nightline; and PBS The News Hour.
Awards and recognitions
- Person of the Year, National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization formerly National Hospice Organization (1995)
- Natalie Davis Spingarn Writers Award, National Coalition of Cancer Survivorship (2000)
- Roger Bone Memorial Lecture Award, American College of CHEST Physicians (2003)
- Outstanding Colleague Award of the National Association of Catholic Chaplains (2008)
- 17th Annual Books for a Better Life Award – Best Book: Wellness (2013)
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