How do we value dignity at the end-of-life? Is it the same for everyone?

There is growing recognition that what makes Canadians sick, is more than just biology or genetics. In fact, it is estimated that up to 60% of what causes us illness, is related to how we live, learn, work and play. These factors, known as the social determinants of health, are often overlooked in our Palliative Care delivery systems. Meanwhile, it is well known that Canada’s marginalized populations, including the homeless and vulnerably housed and communities with mental illness and addictions, suffer from higher morbidity and mortality due to illnesses often stemming from social and societal circumstances. All the while, dying in social isolation, falling through the cracks, with few people and supports around them, and often, with a lack of dignity.

Through a health equity and human rights lens, this keynote address will highlight the unique challenges faced by Canada’s most vulnerable communities when dealing with life-limiting illnesses, will describe innovative approaches to Palliative Care delivery at the micro, meso and macro levels and challenge our thinking around traditional care models. By dissecting the way poverty, housing insecurity, isolation and other social ailments impact the palliative journey in our communities; we may be able to actualize our full potential, flipping conventional approaches on their head, to provide equity for individuals from all walks of life.

In our society, it is clear that we live differently. But, should we really die differently?


Palliative Care Physician at the Inner City Health Association (ICHA) and William Osler Health System (WOHS); Lecturer, Department of Family & Community Medicine, Division of Palliative Care, University of Toronto; Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Family Medicine; Division of Palliative Care, McMaster University; Palliative Care Regional Medical Lead, Central West LHIN & Central West CCAC;

Vice-Chair, Health Providers Against Poverty Ontario

DR. NAHEED DOSANI is a passionate and respected advocate for marginalized and vulnerable populations with palliative needs. He serves as a Palliative Care Physician at the Inner City Health Associates (ICHA) and William Osler Health System (WOHS). He recently completed the Conjoint Palliative Medicine Residency Program at the University of Toronto and prior to that, a residency in inner-city Family Medicine, where he was elected by his peers as Chief Resident of St. Michael’s Hospital’s Family Medicine Residency Program. After completing his training, Dr. Dosani founded PEACH (Palliative Education And Care for the Homeless), a mobile, street and shelter-based outreach service aimed at meeting the Palliative Care needs of the homeless and vulnerably housed. Through PEACH, he provides Toronto’s most marginalized populations with compassionate care and a dignified approach to their end-of-life journeys. He was recognized by his peers with the 2015 Early Career Development Award by the College of Family Physicians of Canada. In addition, his efforts have received national and international media attention by the likes of CBC News’ Morning Live and The National, CBC Radio’s World at Six, the Medical Post, Hospital News, The Toronto Star, The Saskatoon Star Phoenix, Global Television, CBC Radio Canada International, CTV News, CityNews, The Canadian Press, USA Today along with a featured CBC Radio Documentary entitled, ‘What’s a Life Worth?’. His compelling TEDx talk, ‘What’s a Life Worth?’, delivered in April 2016 at TEDxStouffville, has received over 2500 views on YouTube and has become the ‘gold standard’ tool to educate and highlight the importance of health equity in Palliative Care. As both a researcher and educator, Dr. Dosani serves on faculty as Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at McMaster University and as Lecturer in the Department of Family & Community Medicine at the University of Toronto. Meanwhile, supporting community-based Palliative Care development as Palliative Care Regional Medical Lead for Central West LHIN & Central West CCAC and research, as Section Editor for the peer-reviewed, Canadian based and internationally distributed academic journal, Current Oncology. Committed to addressing the social determinants of health as an advocate, Dr. Dosani integrates his passions as Vice-Chair of Health Providers Against Poverty Ontario, focusing on evidence-based solutions to reducing health disparities.