2017 Speakers

Amanda Brisebois
University of Alberta and
Grey Nuns Hospital
Dr. Brisebois is an active member of the Internal Medicine community, and has been an Attending physician on the Grey Nuns Hospital inpatient medicine units since 2000 and currently its Medical Site Chief. She graduated from Medical School from the University of Calgary in 1995. After attending a first year of residency at the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester Minnesota. She returned to Canada to complete her Internal Medicine residency, as well as completing a year of Oncology training at the University of Alberta. After experiencing multiple years of helping patients live with chronic illness, she returned to do a year of added competency in Palliative Care which was completed in 2012 in Edmonton. She spent 2012-2013 working both on the Palliative Care Consult Service at the Royal Alexandria Hospital and the Palliative Care Unit at the Grey Nuns Hospital. Currently, she is focused on helping non-cancer patient populations, live well with better symptom control and understanding of how disease progression impacts a patient’s life. She founded PPRISM, a non-cancer palliative care outpatient clinic, which is located in the Kaye Edmonton Clinic at the University of Alberta. She is thrilled to now have adjunct appointments in the Division of Palliative Care and the Division of Internal Medicine, as she is actively involved in caring for patients in both of these domains.

Dr. Brisebois is deeply involved in Provincial Networks and co-chairs the Strategic Care Network Committee for Palliative Care Pathway and Guidelines. She is passionate about furthering Provincial education opportunities for families and practitioners, and continues to promote a wider understanding of palliative services in Alberta.

Eduardo Bruera
MD Anderson Cancer Center
Dr. Eduardo Bruera is a medical oncologist who specializes in Palliative Medicine. Dr. Bruera holds the F.T. McGraw Chair in the Treatment of Cancer and is Chair of the Department Palliative, Rehabilitation, and Integrative Medicine at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
His clinical and research interests are related to the assessment and management of physical and psychosocial symptoms in patients with advanced cancer.Dr. Bruera has conducted and published a large number of clinical trials on the assessment of complex symptoms by patients, families, and health care professionals. He has also conducted a number of randomized, controlled trials and prospective cohort studies on treatment preferences, decision-making, and practical aspects of communication between health care professionals and patients and families. Dr. Bruera has been awarded three RO1 grants by the National Institutes of Health in the United States
William Chimich
Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital
Dr. William Chimich is a geriatric psychiatrist at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital. He also consults to the Continuing Care Psychiatric Consulting Service. He is an Associate Clinical Professor at the University of Alberta. His clinical and academic interests include pharmacotherapy, psychotherapy, mood disorders and spirituality in the elderly, and also has a special interest in end of life care.
Bibiana Cujec
University of Alberta
I am a professor of medicine and cardiologist at the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute . My areas of focus are in echocardiography, heart failure and medical education. I am past president of the Canadian Society of Echocardiography and of the Canadian Cardiovascular Society Academy.
James Downar
University Health Network and
Sinai Health System
James Downar is a Critical Care and Palliative Care Physician at the University Health Network and Sinai Health System in Toronto, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto. He has a Master’s degree in Bioethics from the Joint Centre for Bioethics at the University of Toronto. He is the Program Director for the Subspecialty Residency Program in Palliative Care at the University of Toronto, the chair of the Postgraduate Education Committee of the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians, and the chair of the Ethical Affairs committee of the Canadian Critical Care Society. His research interests include communication and decision-making for seriously ill patients and their families; Palliative Care for the Critically Ill; and Palliative Care for Noncancer Illnesses
Robin Fainsinger
University of Alberta
Dr. Fainsinger graduated from the University of Cape Town in South Africa in 1981. In 1991, he completed the first fellowship in Palliative Care medicine at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. He continues to reside in Edmonton where he was Director of the Palliative Care Program at the Royal Alexandra Hospital from October 1994 – April 2006 and Director of the Division of Palliative Care Medicine, University of Alberta 1999 – 2014. He is the Clinical Director of the Tertiary Palliative Care Unit at the Grey Nuns Hospital and Section Chief – Edmonton Zone Palliative Care Program. He is a Professor in the Division of Palliative Care Medicine, Department of Oncology at the University of Alberta. He is active in education and research, and has published articles on a number of palliative care topics, with an interest in dehydration, delirium, sedation at the end of life, and a classification system for cancer pain. He has over 180 publications in journals and book chapters.
Pippa Hawley
University of British Cioolumbia
Dr. Hawley is an internist and palliative medicine specialist in Vancouver, and set up the BC Cancer Agency’s Pain and Symptom Management/Palliative Care Program in 1997. She has led the use of methadone in ambulatory cancer care in BC, and co-wrote the College and Physicians and Surgeons of BC/s Methadone Handbook for Analgesia. She co-led the creation of the online Methadone4Pain module for Canadian Virtual Hospice. She is head of the Division of Palliative Care for UBC and has given many presentations on the use of methadone for analgesia.
Ashley Heaslip
University of British Columbia
Ashley Heaslip, MD, CCFP, MPH, PhD (student)
Ashley Heaslip is a family physician in Victoria, BC as well as a PhD student at the University of British Columbia. Her clinical and academic work is focused in the areas of palliative care, geriatrics, and care for marginalized populations. Her doctoral work, which is supported by a Vanier Fellowship, takes place at the intersection between public health and sociology, examining concepts of intimacy and sexuality within end-of-life care settings.
Jennifer Hughes
University of Calgary
Dr. Hughes is an emergency physician and a palliative care consultant in Calgary. She holds an appointment in the Department of Emergency Medicine and Division of Palliative Care at the University of Calgary. She is certified in both Emergency Medicine and Palliative Medicine. Dr. Hughes has an interest in improving palliative care access and quality in the emergency department, in part through changing palliative care education for ER physicians and residents.
Wendy Johnston
University of Alberta
Wendy Johnston, MD, FRCP(C), Professor of Neurology at the University of Alberta, directs the University of Alberta ALS Clinic and Programme. She is a graduate of The University of Toronto (BSc. Hon), Queen’s University (M.D.) and McGill (Neurology) after which she completed a neuromuscular fellowship at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital.  At Oregon Health Sciences University she established the first ALS clinic in Oregon where collaboration with Linda Ganzini focused on end of life issues and desire for hastened death in patients with ALS (including Ganzini L, Johnston W, McFarland B, Tolle S, Lee M. Attitudes of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and their caregivers toward assisted suicide. New England Journal of Medicine. 1998). Moving to Edmonton in 2000, she re-established the ALS clinic at University of Alberta, now an interdisciplinary clinic and research programme. Recently she co-edited “Palliative Care in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Oliver, Borasio and Johnston, 2014, 3rd ed.) and, with Dr. Harvey Chochinov, completed a 3 year study “Dignity and distress toward end of life in four non-cancer populations”. She is an invited speaker nationally and internationally on end-of-life care in ALS, desire for hastened death in neurological populations and on Neurological Palliative Care.
Meena Kalluri
University of Alberta
Dr. Kalluri is the founder and director of the Multidisciplinary Interstitial Lung Disease Clinic at the University of Alberta. She is trained in Pulmonary and Critical Care medicine in addition to interstitial lung diseases. Her clinical practice emphasizes the role of early integrated palliative care in IPF. Her research interests include improving the health-related quality of life and death for patients with fibrotic lung disease like IPF.
Angela King
Good Samaritan Society
A Certified Spiritual Care Practitioner (Specialist) with the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care, Angela has been a Chaplain with the Good Samaritan Society since July 2013. As a certified Positive Approach to Care™ Trainer in dementia care, Angela is as passionate about her work with people living with dementia as she is about reframing our understanding of brain change and the skills needed to connect with our loved ones who are living with dementia.
Serena Lewis
NS Labour and Advanced Education
Serena Lewis believes that exceptional dying in Canadian society is something all practitioners and members of society need to strive towards. A social worker who has established the first community based hospice in Nova Scotia, she has also provided care to many individuals, families and the community at large.

She also is providing education to front line practitioners in acute, long term care and community based agencies to improve communication with and amongst teams. She lives on the shores on the Minas Basin in Nova Scotia with her two sons.

Janis Miyasaki
University of Alberta
Dr. Miyasaki, MD, MEd, FRCPC is a graduate of the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine, Neurology residency program and on faculty until 2013. In 2007, she started an interdisciplinary Palliative Care Program for Parkinson’s Disease and Related Disorders. Since 2014, she has been on faculty at UA and is Director of the Movement Disorders Program and Co-Director of the Complex Neurologic Symptoms Clinic with Dr. W. Johnston at UA.  She is a PI for the first large study of ambulatory palliative care in Parkinson’s disease and related disorders.
Rachel Moll-Dowdell Rachel Moll-Dowdell, BScN, is a Registered Nurse who works with the Continuing Care Psychiatric Consulting Service.  Rachel has over 15 years of experience providing psychiatric nursing support to clients in continuing care.
Janice Richman-Eisenstat Dr. Janice Richman Eisenstat is a Pulmonary Rehabilitation Medicine and Palliative Respiratory Care Specialist in Edmonton, Alberta. She is an Associate Clinical Professor in the Pulmonary Division, Department of Medicine at the University of Alberta. Four years ago, she and her colleague, Dr. Meena Kalluri, started a multidisciplinary Interstitial Lung Disease Collaborative and a community pulmonary rehabilitation program specifically for ILD. She and Dr. Kalluri work closely with community-based health care teams to provide early integrated palliative care for their patients.
Daryl Rolfson
University of Alberta
Darryl Rolfson MD, FRCPC, graduated in medicine at the University of Alberta in 1993 and went on to complete residencies in Internal Medicine in 1996 and Geriatric Medicine in 1998. Dr. Rolfson is currently a Professor with the Department of Medicine at the University of Alberta.  His clinical practice is in Geriatric Medicine at the University of Alberta.  His research interests are in Frailty in the Elderly and Medical Education. He is also the Assistant Chair, Postgraduate Medical Education at the University of Alberta, a position which he has held since 2007.
Amanda Roze des Ordons
University of Calgary
Jessica Simon
University of Calgary
Dr Jessica Simon is Associate professor and Division head for Palliative Medicine at the University of Calgary. She co-leads a provincial research program on Advance Care Planning in Alberta (www.acpcrio.org) and is also Physician Consultant for Advance Care Planning and Goals of Care, in the Calgary Zone of Alberta Health Services. Clinically, she works as a palliative care physician in Calgary’s hospitals.
Puneeta Tandon
University of Alberta
Dr. Puneeta Tandon is Associate Professor in the Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, at the University of Alberta. Her research interests include frailty and palliative care (end of life communication, symptom control) in cirrhosis and the impact of nutrition, physical activity and mind-body therapies (meditation, yoga, ayurveda) on health and well-being. Her current projects include a pilot trial in non-cirrhotic participants evaluating the impact of a 14 day healing meditation retreat intervention on serum cytokines and the gut microflora. Dr. Tandon is actively seeking collaborators with expertise in utilizing PBMC samples to evaluate the gene expression associated with energy metabolism, mitochondrial function, insulin secretion, telomere maintenance, the inflammatory response and stress-related pathways. Future projects will evaluate the patient adherence to and impact of integrated mind-body therapy interventions on clinically relevant outcomes in cirrhosis. In 2016, Dr. Tandon will also be starting funded projects to i) develop resources to improve the quality of end-of-life discussions in patients with cirrhosis and ii) develop educational nutritional resources for patients with cirrhosis. – See more at: https://www.ualberta.ca/integrative-health-institute/scholars/puneeta-tandon#sthash.iQJnK36u.dpuf
Christina Vadeboncoeur
Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario
Dr. Vadeboncoeur is a pediatrician who is the Associate Lead Physician for the Palliative Care Program and has been practicing in Palliative Medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, at Roger Neilson House and in the community in Ottawa for the past 10 years. She has been coordinating the educational component of the program since its’ inception. She is actively involved in advocating for awareness of the need for palliative care for children on a local, provincial and national level.
Charles von Gunten
Ohio Health
Dr. Charles F. von Gunten is a widely known as a pioneer in palliative medicine. He led the effort for recognition of the specialty in the US. He is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Palliative Medicine. He received a life-time achievement award from the American Academy for Hospice and Palliative Medicine in 2011 when he was only 54 years old. When he was 56, the American Cancer Society gave him its prestigious pathfinder in palliative care award. In 2015 he was named a top cancer doctor in Newsweek Health. He has been particularly interested in the integration of hospice and palliative care into standard medical care. He now serves in an executive role for implementing hospice and palliative care in a large health system in central Ohio.