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The Evolution of Hope in Advanced Illness: A Key to Health System Transformation

March 4 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Despite most patients’ preferences to die at home among their loved ones, many with end-stage cancer, heart failure and other advanced illnesses spend their last days in the hospital. Many clinicians resist telling patients that treatments are not working or that their prognosis is poor, fearful of destroying their hopes for cure. Difficult but honest and needed conversations about patients’ prognosis can be blocked by an unrealistic view of hope focused solely on cure.  But, as cure becomes less likely, a new type of hope can evolve. Skilled clinicians can nurture this intrinsic hope for quality of life and meaning by providing honest and realistic insights so that patients can clarify their care preferences and formulate effective end-of-life care plans. This approach, which can improve patients’ wellbeing, and reduce caregiver burden and stress, is central to a “moonshot” goal, recently launched by the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care (C-TAC), to ensure that millions of people with serious illness have a high quality of life by 2030.

Join innovators, thought leaders and advocates as we explore the nature, dynamics and management of hope in the context of advanced illness and end-of-life care. This will create a foundation for future work, including communication tools to inform clinicians and foster wider awareness of the nature and dynamics of hope, contributing to an exploration of ways to implement, test and disseminate novel tools and strategies nationally to improve care for the growing population of patients with advanced illness.



  • Brad Stuart, MD, Chief Medical Officer, The Coalition to Transform Advanced Care and architect of the first U.S. advanced illness management program
  • Gloria White-Hammond, MDiv, MD, Co-Pastor, Bethel AME Church, Swartz Resident Practitioner in Ministry Studies at Harvard Divinity School
  • Shirley Roberson, Patient Champion, C-TAC Fellow, and Founder of Blue Chair Movement
  • Joseph Jacobson, MD, Chief Quality Officer and Chief Physician, Dana Farber Cancer Institute; Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School


March 4
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Event Category:


Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School
23 Everett St., 3rd Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138 United States
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