About this event

  • Date and time Tue 1 Mar 2022 from 9:00am to 5:00pm
  • Location Royal Society of Medicine
  • Organised by Palliative Care

The Royal Society of Medicine is pleased to host an event presenting the analysis and recommendations of the new Lancet Commission on the value of death. This is a multidisciplinary, multi-year and international collaboration to rebalance the fractured relationships of medicine and society with death and dying. 

Join Lancet Commissioners, along with a range of external experts, journalists, healthcare providers, patients, and policy-makers to discuss and debate the challenges and opportunities surrounding society and medicine’s responses to death, dying, grief, and care for patients, families, and communities. 

A live stream of this event is available. To book onto the live stream, please click here.

Meeting objectives:

  • Understand the challenges relating to how people live, die, and grieve globally

  • Explore the broader contexts of society’s and medicine’s relationships to death and dying, including climate change, assisted dying, COVID-19, and efforts to achieve immortality

  • Appreciate the role we all play in shaping the meanings of death and dying, how people and healthcare systems can collectively improve what people experience at the end of life and in grief

The meeting organisers of this event would like to offer 20 bursary places on a first come, first served basis for delegates from low and middle income countries. If you are working or living in a country that meets this criteria, please email palliative@rsm.ac.uk to apply for your bursary place. When applying, please include a piece of identification that verifies the country you are living or working in.

Join in the conversation online using #ValueOfDeath
Follow us on Twitter: @RoySocMed


View the programme

Registration, tea and coffee
Welcome and introduction

Dr Jocalyn Clark, Executive Editor, The Lancet

Session one

Dr Libby Sallnow, President, Palliative Care Section, Royal Society of Medicine 

Impetus and context of the Commission

Dr Richard Smith, Point of Care Foundation

Immortality, death and dying

Ms Anjana Ahuja, Science Commentator and Journalist 

Overtreatment at the end of life

Professor Rajagopal, Palliative Care Physician, Kerala, India

Panel discussion

Session two

Dr Charlotte Chamberlain

Dementia, death, and care

Professor Bettina Sandgathe Husebø, Head of Centre for Elderly and Nursing Home Medicine and Head of Innovation, Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care, University of Bergen

Gender and care of the dying

Dr Ros Taylor, Harlington Hospice 

Death and faith

Ms Mpho Tutu van Furth, Preacher, Teacher and Writer 

Value of death

Dr Robin Durie, Senior Lecturer, Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health

Panel discussion
Tea and coffee break

Session three

Dr Richard Smith

Death and disadvantage: Social and structural determinants of inequities at the end of life

Dr Afsan Bhadelia, Senior Research Associate, Department of Global Health, Boston, United States of America 

Death anxiety

Dr Sheldon Solomon, Professor of Psychology, Skidmore College, United States of America 

The economics of dying

Professor Eric Finkelstein, Executive Director, Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore 

Links with the Lancet Palliative Care Commission

Professor Felicia Knaul, The Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine and Director, Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas, University of Miami, United States of America 

Panel discussion
Lunch break

Session four

Climate crisis, healthcare and death and dying

Dr Courtney Howard, Emergency Physician, University of Calgary, Canada 


Dr Brandy Schillace, Author and Historian 

A systems approach and the realistic utopia

Dr Libby Sallnow 


Dr Seamus O’Mahony, Consultant Gastroenterologist, Cork University Hospital and Author, The Way We Die Now 

Panel discussion
Tea and coffee break

Session five: The debate

Professor Mona Siddiqui, Professor of Islamic and Interreligious Studies, University of Edinburgh, Chair, BBC's Scottish Religious Advisory Committee and Board Member, UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation

Ms Hermione Elliot, Founder and Director, Living Well Dying Well

Professor Katherine Sleeman, Laing Galazka Chair in Palliative Care and Honorary Consultant in Palliative Medicine

Closing remarks

Dr Libby Sallnow 

Close of meeting


Royal Society of Medicine, 1 Wimpole St, Marylebone, London, W1G 0AE, United Kingdom

Disclaimer: All views expressed at this event are of the speakers themselves and not of the RSM nor the speaker's organisations.

Registration for this event will close at 01:00am on 1 March 2022Late registrations will not be accepted.

This event will be recorded and stored by the Royal Society of Medicine and may be  distributed  in future on various internet channels.

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