Invited Speakers


Dr. Rachelle Bernacki

Dr. Rachelle Bernacki is the Associate Director of the Serious Illness Care Program at Ariadne Labs, Director of Quality Initiatives, Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and a faculty member at Harvard Medical School. She led a successful initiative to increase access to palliative care at Brigham Young Women’s Hospital and her team earned the Partners in Excellence Award for these efforts. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.


Linda Briggs

Linda Briggs has 25 years of nursing experience as a critical care staff nurse, nurse manager, clinical nurse specialist, and educator. Linda Briggs joined Respecting Choices in 1999 to provide leadership in the development and dissemination of this program. She has led the development of the Respecting Choices curriculum, co-authored several Respecting Choices manuals and programs, and has published articles regarding advance care planning and end-of-life care. In 2017, Briggs transitioned to the role of Director of Program Development and Research as Respecting Choices became a division of C-TAC Innovations. Her clinical and research interests have focused on the disease-specific planning needs of patients with advanced illness and their families.

Dr. Karen Detering

Dr. Karen Detering is the Medical Director of Advance Care Planning Australia and was Medical Lead in the “Respecting Patient Choices” advance care planning program at Austin Health in Melbourne. She is a respiratory physician and clinical ethicist. She has long standing clinical and research interests in improving care, particularly towards and at end-of-life. Her current roles include the development, delivery and evaluation of ACP educational resources for health care professionals, and ongoing research regarding ACP implementation and outcomes for a range of patient groups.

Dr. Louis Hugo Francescutti


Dr.  Louis Francescutti began his medical career as an Emergency Medical Technician in Canada's Arctic, Dr. Francescutti completed his MD and PhD at the University of Alberta. He later completed his training at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health in Baltimore where he completed his Master of Public Health degree and a Preventive Medicine Residency while pursuing further studies in injury control and public health. Dr. Francescutti has founded and helped develop several initiatives over the last decade with a single goal: prevent injury and save lives.

Dr. Daren Heyland

Dr. Daren Heyland is a critical care doctor at Kingston General Hospital and a Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario.  He is trained in Internal Medicine, Critical Care Medicine, and Clinical Epidemiology. He currently serves as Director of the Clinical Evaluation Research Unit at the Kingston General Hospital.  For over a decade, he chaired the Canadian Researchers at the End of Life Network (CARENET) which had a focus on developing and evaluating strategies to improve communication and decision-making at the end of life.

Dr. Georg Marckmann

Dr. Georg Marckmann studied medicine and philosophy at the University of Tübingen (Germany) and received a master’s degree in Public Health from Harvard School of Public Health (Boston, MA). He was a scholar in the Postgraduate College “Ethics in the Sciences and Humanities” in Tübingen from 1992 to 1995. He received a doctoral degree in medicine in 1997. From 1998 to 2010 he was Assistant Professor at the Institute of Ethics and History of Medicine at the University of Tübingen, since 2003 as vice director of the institute. Since 2010 he is full professor of medical ethics and director of the Institute of Ethics, History, and Theory of Medicine at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich. His main research interests include ethical issues of end-of-life care, clinical ethics consultation, distributive justice in health care, ethical issues in organ transplantation and public health ethics.

Dr. Jessica Simon


Dr. Jessica Simon is Physician Consultant for ACP and Goals of Care (Calgary Zone) with Alberta Health Services, and Clinical Assistant Professor and Interim Division Head, Division of Palliative Medicine, University of Calgary. A specialist in Internal Medicine, her clinical work is as a palliative consultant at the Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary. She is a member of the Canadian Researchers at End-of-Life Network (CARENET), and her research interests are in ACP and the care of people with advanced chronic disease.

Dr. Rebecca Sudore


Dr. Rebecca Sudore is an Associate Professor of Medicine at UCSF, a geriatrician, palliative medicine physician, and clinician investigator. Her research focuses on the intersection of health literacy, geriatrics, ACP, and informed medical decision making. Her current research program is focused on designing and testing interactive, web-based interventions to prepare patients and their surrogate decision makers to make complex medical decisions over the course of their illness.

Dr. Agnes van der Heide


Dr. Agnes van der Heide is a Professor of Medical Care and Decision Making at the End of Life at the Department of Public Health of Erasmus MC. She has published extensively on end-of-life decisions, palliative care, the experiences of physicians as well as views of the public on decision making at the end of life. She is co-founder and a board member of the International Collaborative for End-of-life Research (ICER), a board member of the International OPCARE9 Research Collaborative, and a board member of the Centre of Expertise for Palliative Care Rotterdam.