Charting a Palliative Revolution: Dr. Harvey Chochinov Speaks Ahead of CHPCA Conference

In anticipation of the upcoming CHPCA Conference in Ottawa this October, we decided to reach out to our lineup of incredible plenary speakers and ask them a few questions about the Conference, Ottawa, and palliative care in Canada! 

In the first article in the series, we’re featuring Dr. Harvey Max Chochinov – Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Manitoba, Senior Scientist at CancerCare Manitoba Research Institute, and co-founder of Canadian Virtual Hospice.

CHPCA:What aspect of the CHPCA Conference are you most looking forward to?
Dr. Harvey Max Chochinov: I am most looking forward to connecting with colleagues from across Canada. After the restrictions imposed by COVID, there is something intoxicating about spending time with people in that old fashion, non-Zoom kind of way.

CHPCA: Have you ever been to Ottawa? Any favourite spots?
H: I’ve spent lots of time in Ottawa. For many years, I visited monthly as a member CIHR’s Governing Council and Chair of their Standing Committee on Ethics. I also chaired the Federal Government’s External Panel on Options for a Legislative Response to Carter versus Canada. My associations with Ottawa are of intense national challenges, and working with talented, intelligent people who care passionately about our country and the well-being of Canadians.

CHPCA: Do you have any advice for a first-time conference attendee?
H: Feed yourself in various ways. Your intellectual appetite will be quenched by taking in learning opportunities, both formal (lectures/workshops) and informal (talk to people you are keen to meet and learn from). Feed your soul and be sure to have fun. Palliative care tends to attract wonderful people, and very few sociopaths. Get to know some like-minded colleagues from across Canada. Take in some of the beautiful sites in and around Ottawa. Our national capital also features wonderful restaurants, guaranteed to satisfy any palate. So, indulge. Life is short.

CHPCA: This year’s theme is ‘A Palliative Revolution’ – what opportunities for change do you see in Canada’s healthcare system? If you could change one thing about our current system, what would it be?
H: That dying would be treated with the deference it deserves. We would anticipate it well in advance, prepare for it, attend to it, and do everything humanly possible to get it right.

CHPCA: Can you give readers a bit of a teaser about what you’ll be talking about at the CHPCA Conference?
H: Without giving too much away, I’ll be talking about my work; where it started, where the path has taken me, and what I see ahead.

CHPCA: Are there any resources, projects or research that you’re involved with that you’d like folks to check out?
H: I am the co-founder of the Canadian Virtual Hospice – Those interested in learning more about my research, books and papers, please visit


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