Keynote Speaker: Dr. BJ Miller

Written on June 07, 2021

Dr. BJ Miller has been seen and heard in the New York Times, TEDTalks, and on Oprah Winfrey

and we’re pleased to welcome him to the Phoenix World Burn Congress main stage! 

Dr. Miller is an American physician, author, storyteller, burn survivor and pre-eminent thought leader on patient-centered care. His story is also the main topic of Netflix's Academy Award-nominated short documentary, End Game. 

Dr. Miller has practiced and taught in all major settings: home, hospital, clinic, and residential care facility – but his own firsthand experiences form the foundation of his hard-won empathy for patients. An electrical accident during his college years resulted in the amputation of three limbs and nearly killed him.   

We’re excited to hear Dr. Miller share his journey as a survivor and the impact it's had on his outlook on life. His message will explore how to own our limitations and find meaning in every day through creativity, a sense of belonging, and connection.  


Get to know Phoenix WBC's Keynote speaker

Dr. BJ Miller is one of the pre-eminent speakers on patient-centered care, palliative and end-of-life care. Drawing on his expertise as a physician, former Executive Director of Zen Hospice Project, and as a patient, he is an advocate for a healthcare system that maximizes quality of life and that minimizes unnecessary suffering. 

His first book, The Beginner’s Guide to the End: Practical Advice for Living Life and Facing Death, comprehensive, and compassionate guide to dying — and living fully until you do. There are plenty of self-help books for mourners, but nothing in the way of a modern, approachable and above all useful field guide for the living. Written from the perspective of the insider in the medical system and as a fellow patient himself Dr. Miller offers an honest, compassionate, and detailed-oriented survey that provides guidance on all related experiences that come up when one is dying, and will bring optimism to empower readers with the knowledge, resources and tools that all of us will inevitably need. 

Dr. Miller’s TED Talk, “What Really Matters at the End of Life,” about keeping the patient at the center of care and encouraging empathic end-of-life care, and has garnered over 9 million views to date and ranked among the most viewed talks. 

BJ is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), and is an attending specialist for the Symptom Management Service of the UCSF Helen Diller Comprehensive Cancer Center, one of the country’s very first outpatient palliative care clinics. He is the Dream Foundation Honorary Medical Chair, the only national dream-granting organization for terminally-ill adults. 

BJ was Executive Director of Zen Hospice Project from 2011- 2016 where he helped develop and share a pioneering model of human-centered end of life care. 

Raised in Chicago, BJ studied art history as an undergraduate at Princeton University. After several years working in both the art and disability-rights non-profit communities he enrolled at UCSF where he completed his MD as a Regents’ Scholar in 2001. He completed his internal medicine residency at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, California, where he served as chief resident. He completed his fellowship in Hospice & Palliative Medicine at Harvard Medical School, with his clinical duties split between Massachusetts General Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. 

Among the various awards received, BJ won the William Osler Distinguished Teaching Award as well as the AAHPM/Project on Death 

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