Ira R. Byock, M.D.
Active Emeritus Professor of Medicine
Active Emeritus Professor of Community and Family Medicine
Community and Family Medicine
1978 Doctor of Medicine-University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver,
1973 B.A. Biology-University of Colorado, Boulder, CO
One Medical Center Drive
The Palliative Care Service
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center
Lebanon NH 03756
Ira Byock, MD is a leading palliative care physician, author, and public advocate for improving care through the end of life.
Dr. Byock has been involved in hospice and palliative care since 1978, during his residency. At that time he helped found a hospice home care program for the indigent population served by the university hospital and county clinics of Fresno, California. He is a Past President (1997) of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. During the 1990s he was a co-founder and principal investigator for the Missoula Demonstration Project, a community-based organization in Montana dedicated to the research and transformation of end-of-life experience locally, as a demonstration of what is possible nationally. From 1996 through 2006, he served as Director for Promoting Excellence in End-of-Life Care, a national grant program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Dr. Byock has authored numerous articles on the ethics and practice of care. His research has led to conceptual frameworks for the lived experience of advanced illness, subjective quality of life measures, and simple, effective life-completion counseling. His leadership in development of groundbreaking prototypes for concurrent care of people through the end of life has been foundational to advancing patient-centered care.
Byock’s first book, Dying Well, (1997) has become a standard in the field of hospice and palliative care. The Four Things That Matter Most, (2004) is used as a counseling tool widely by palliative care and hospice programs, as well as within pastoral care. His most recent book, The Best Care Possible (March 2012) tackles the crisis that surrounds serious illness and dying in America and his quest to transform care through the end of life. It has been praised by the Wall Street Journal and the Economist, and won the Annual Books for a Better Life Award in the category of Wellness.