Feb 4, 2022

DFCM welcomes first Chair in End-of-Life Care and Medical Assistance in Dying

About DFCM, Faculty
Dr. Jeff Myers

Dr. Jeff Myers has been appointed the Bresver Family Chair in End-of-Life Care and Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) in the Department of Family and Community Medicine (DFCM), Temerty Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto.

The newly created academic position, the first of its kind in Canada, will cultivate the highest quality education to equip family doctors to support compassionate, appropriate, evidence-informed advance care planning, end-of-life care and MAID, in line with evolving legislation and patient information needs.

Dr. Myers is an Associate Professor at DFCM, palliative medicine physician and is clinically based at Sinai Health’s Palliative Care Unit within the Hennick Bridgepoint Hospital. He is also former head of DFCM’s Division of Palliative Care.

As a palliative medicine physician, Dr. Myers is acutely aware that palliative care is about enabling people to live well throughout the course of a serious illness journey and improving the quality of experiences for both patients and their families. Care at the end of life is an inevitable part of this journey.

It can be uncomfortable to discuss, but at some point every one of us is going to need end-of-life care. Effective advance care planning conversations prepare seriously ill patients and those closest to them for future decision-making. These conversations need to happen in a clear and compassionate way so that future decisions can be guided by individual values.”

“Having these conversations, and having them well, requires training and a foundational set of communication skills. In this new Chair role, I hope to help prepare our medical learners, our faculty and practicing physicians to have open and effective conversations about end-of-life care, which may include MAID, to ensure individuals are heard and respected and optimal outcomes are supported for patients and families.”

The Chair position, made possible by the Bresver family through the Feiga Bresver Academic Foundation, will support education around advance care planning and discussions addressing end-of-life in the areas of undergraduate and postgraduate (residency) medical education, and in continuing professional development. It will also collaborate with relevant research, public health and advisory groups to support education and research in the evolving arena of end-of-life care and MAID.

“We strongly believe that medical personnel should have an all-inclusive framework for end-of-life care so they are able to comfortably discuss prognosis, available treatments, palliative care, pain management, and medical assistance in dying with patients,” explain David and Bunni Bresver, whose family experiences with end-of-life care inspired their involvement.

“This needs to happen well before the end, not just in a person’s last days or in time of crisis, so that patients have the time to consider options, determine and share their priorities and have these acknowledged and honoured. Everyone deserves to be able to die with dignity.”

Dr. Myers’ five-year appointment began December 1, 2021.