Dr. BJ Miller is a longtime hospice and palliative medicine physician and educator. He currently sees patients and families via telehealth through 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 practical, emotional and existential issues that come with serious illness and disability.
BJ has worked in all settings of care: hospital, clinic, residential facility, and home. Led by his own experiences as a patient, BJ advocates for the roles of our senses, community and presence in designing a better ending. His interests are in working across disciplines to affect broad-based culture change, cultivating a civic model for aging and dying and furthering the message that suffering, illness, and dying are fundamental and intrinsic aspects of life. His career has been dedicated to moving healthcare towards a human centered approach, on a policy as well as a personal level.
Chris is a pediatric palliative care physician and writer who has worked in medicine and fine arts education for over 20 years. Drawing on his experience as pediatrician, oncologist, humanist, chaplain and psychedelic guide, Chris helps patients, parents and families navigate complicated and chronic illness according to their values. His training in Narrative Medicine and somatic psychotherapy help him seek to connect people to their inner healing intelligence and natural creativity as a means of augmenting resilience. He writes about grief and the magic of mortal life in novels, short stories, and non-fiction pieces for medical journals and national magazines.
Natalie is a psychosocial occupational therapist and spent over a decade providing community-based services. Her work explores skill-building in the face of suffering. This often focuses on developing the skills of receiving love and care, recognizing and expressing wants and needs, identifying as the expert of your own experience, and expanding emotional awareness. She also engages with caregivers as a means to decrease a sense of isolation and promote healthy caregiving. Natalie became interested in palliative care due to her own experience of seeking holistic, patient-centered, communicative care while living with a serious, chronic disease.
Clancy Blair and Cybele Raver each earned their PhDs in developmental psychology and served as professors at New York University. Together, they co-founded the Neuroscience and Education Lab at NYU, developing and testing scalable policy solutions supporting academic success and healthy brain development for children facing poverty and income inequality. Two years ago, Clancy was diagnosed with primarily progressive aphasia (PPA) and Frontoremporal dementia (FTD), a terminal form of neurodegenerative disease. Clancy believes in staying strong and he volunteers at Room at the Inn, a homeless shelter in their new home city, Nashville, as well as participating in Dementia Action Alliance, Abe’s Garden, and Dementia Minds- three advocacy and support programs for individuals with dementia. Cybele balances caregiving and her role as a senior university leader at Vanderbilt University. They are indebted to Mettle Health and BJ Miller for the insights, support, planning, and deep compassion that Mettle Health provides.
Tom is a Nurse Practitioner and psychotherapist who has provided primary, palliative and hospice care for over 40 years. He is a Marriage Family Therapist (inactive) and had a psychotherapy practice focusing on multiple losses and quality of life. Tom worked as a hospice nurse early in the movement and was the Charge Nurse of the world’s first AIDS and cancer in-patient hospice. His symptom-management approach to disease progression empowers patients and families to promote and maximize quality of life in accordance with their values and wishes and make a plan of care that honors those wishes. Tom is the author of “Fallen Sparrows” and lives in San Francisco with his husband and their two rescue cats. He practices yoga daily and sings in a semiprofessional choir.
Wendy MacNaughton’s work is based in the practices of drawing, social work, and storytelling. She combines the practice of deep looking, listening, and drawing to create stories of often overlooked people, places, and things. Wendy has worked on varied projects across mediums and fields, and in collaboration with numerous groups and individuals, but one thing stays consistent: Wendy uses drawing as a vehicle for connection.
She has authored and drawn two books, How To Say Goodbye and Meanwhile in San Francisco, and illustrated many others, including the #1 New York Times Bestseller Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat and New York Times Bestseller The Gutsy Girl by Caroline Paul.
She lives in Oakland, but you can often find her on the road, speaking at conferences, universities, or companies, or in her mobile studio (built inside the back of a Honda Element) doing the thing she likes best: drawing.
Julie McFadden, BSN, RN has been a nurse for 15 years. Julie is an experienced ICU, and now Hospice/Palliative Nurse. Julie has been featured in Newsweek, USA today, The Atlantic, The Business Insider, Medscape, People, Buzz feed, and several other articles worldwide. She is passionate about normalizing death through education to the masses using social media. Her TikTok has 1.2M followers, and you can also find her on Instagram and YouTube.
Michael Murphy is an architectural designer, educator and writer, whose work focuses on how the built environment shapes our lives, our health, and our communities. Michael’s recent book, The Architecture of Health, traces the history of medical design and its attempt to align architecture with health outcomes. Michael’s new practice looks at the ownership of the built environment and how sharing access can solve the climate and social crises we face. Michael is the current Thomas Ventulett Chair of Architecture at Georgia Tech, and serves on the board of MASS Design Group, which he co-founded and led until 2022; where he led design of such projects as the Butaro District Hospital, the National Memorial For Peace and Justice, and the Embrace Memorial in Boston. Michael has a BA from University of Chicago, an M.Arch from Harvard graduate school of Design, and lives in Boston with his wife and two children. Michael is from Poughkeepsie, New York.
Ladybird is a registered nurse, clinical social worker, registered craniosacral therapist practitioner and co-founder of The Humane Prison Hospice Project. She has 20+ years’ experience in hospice and palliative care, addressing trauma, mental health challenges and repercussions of sexual violence. Ladybird guides medical practitioners, families, caregivers and institutions around the world on how to be present to difficult experiences by remembering, embodying and responding from the deepest place of truth. Ladybird also co-facilitates Commonweal’s Cancer Care Help Program: Healing Circles, UCSF’s MERI Center’s Last Acts of Kindness and is a study therapist with a University of Washington study of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy.
Tony Patrick is a worldbuilder, social practice artist, comics creator, and immersive director. Patrick is a Sundance Institute World-building Fellow, 2021 Sundance Film Festival New Frontier Artist, IFP/RYOT 5G Storytelling Alum, Guild of Future Architects Founding Member, NYU ITP & IMA Professor, NYU Future Imagination Collaboratory Fellow, NYU Red Burns Fellow, CommonField Fellow, NEW INC alum, For Freedoms Artist, Wide Awakes Founding Member, Buckminster Fuller Institute Design Science Studio Advisor/Mentor, RLAB Mentor, Today@Apple NYC Youth Program Mentor, Futurist Writers Room Co-Designer, and Restoring the Future Co-Designer. Patrick attended the Dramatic Writing Program at New York University.
Tim is serial entrepreneur and Harvard-trained Emergency Medicine physician whose mission is to guide the Health and Healthcare industries to rethink what’s possible and provide smarter, faster, and more human versions of themselves. At CareScout, Tim is building from previous experiences designing health technology products to create the first long-term care provider network focused on person-centered care and to help families navigate long-term care.
Claudia Peña is an artist and serves as the Executive Director of For Freedoms which is an artist collective that centers art and creativity as a catalyst for transformative connection and collective liberation. She is on faculty at UCLA School of Law and in the Gender Studies department. She is the founding co-director of the Center for Justice at UCLA which works to dismantle the prison industrial complex and racialized mass incarceration by expanding higher education, facilitating creative spaces, transformative practices, and movement building on university campuses, in system-impacted communities and correctional facilities. Claudia is the Co-Founder of Repair, a Los Angeles-based organization focused on the health and the disabling effects of inequity, violence, exploitation. Prior to that, Claudia was the Statewide Director of the California Civil Rights Coalition (CCRC) for over five years. While there, she focused on racial justice, gender equity, voting rights, LGBTQIA+ rights, equal opportunity, progressive taxation, policies, housing rights and coordinating ballot initiative efforts. She was previously Equal Justice Society’s Judge Constance Baker Motley Civil Rights Fellow where she researched and presented on issues of implicit bias and equal protection.
Karen is an Advanced Palliative Care Social Worker with 40+ years of clinical experience. Her work as a clinician, educator, researcher, and psychotherapist focuses on palliative and end-of-life care in a wide range of health care settings with a focus on the impacts of serious illness on individuals, families, and couples. She is committed to the relief of suffering and maximizing quality of life for people, and caregivers, facing any stage of serious illness. Karen enjoys reading, daily meditation practice, walking, pilates, poetry, daily purrs from her cat, Milo, and a hot cup of dark roast French organic coffee from Peet’s.
Emily Silverman is an internal medicine physician at UCSF and Creator/Host of The Nocturnists, an award-winning medical storytelling live show and podcast that has uplifted the voices of 450+ clinicians since 2016. Her writing has been supported by MacDowell and published in The New York Times, The Virginia Quarterly Review, JAMA, CHEST, and McSweeneys. She was the Hellman Artist-in-Residence at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center in 2020 and served on the COVID Crisis Group, which recently published the book, “Lessons from the COVID War.”
Bridget became a social worker to help people living with serious illness. Over the course of the last 10 years, she has worked across settings, providing support and companionship to patients, families, community members, and providers. In addition to her clinical work, she is a writer and educator and edited Palliative Care: A Guide for Health Social Workers (Oxford University Press, 2019). Her practice is rooted in a commitment to social justice and understanding illness and caregiving within the context of a unique life. Above all, she looks to promote connection and well-being.
Viv Tipton is a vibrant and compassionate force in the Nevada County community, where she has been a resident for over three decades. Viv holds a BS degree from Central Michigan University and a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma, she combines her expertise in process improvement with her passion for human connection.
Currently Viv serves as Executive Director of Hospice of the Foothills. Viv spent 28 years at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital, where she held a variety of roles from dishwasher to Director of Mission Integration and Performance Excellence. Alongside her professional commitments, she serves on boards such as Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital, the Center for Nonprofit Leadership, and Rotary which exemplifies her dedication to community progress.
With a love for reading, camping, biking, kayaking, and exploring her remarkable home, Viv Tipton is a true symbol of energy, compassion, and unwavering dedication, leaving a lasting impact on the lives she touches.
Dr. Ben Trappey is Co-Director of the Center for the Art of Medicine at the University of Minnesota. He is an associate professor in the Department of Medicine and works as a hospitalist in internal medicine and pediatrics (Med-Peds). His primary focus is on the intersection of the medicine and humanities, particularly in promoting and studying the types of stories that healthcare professionals and patients tell about their experiences in medicine.
Michelle Woo is a cultural producer, art historian and curator based in Los Angeles. She is a Co-Founder of For Freedoms, an artist-run organization that models creative civic engagement for which she received a ICP Infinity Award in 2017 and a National Art Award in 2022. Her diverse role includes strategy and design of national campaigns, public art initiatives, exhibitions and programming. She also advises artists and organizations on business management and cultural strategy.