Dr. BJ Miller brings unique compassion to his role as Senior Director and Advocate of Zen Hospice Project. An electrical shock sustained while a Princeton undergraduate nearly cost him his life. He miraculously survived but lost both legs below the knee and half of one arm. By all accounts, BJ has developed an extraordinary sense of presence and understanding that he shares freely with patients, community and the Zen Hospice Project he leads. As executive director of this non-profit organization since 2010, BJ oversees its pioneering integration of social and medical services founded in spirituality.
Working from the belief in death as a part of life, he is also actively engaged in cultivating a re-examined dialogue about this universal experience – as much through ZHP’s own human-centered model of care as through exploratory work with the international design firm IDEO, participation in various healthcare policy initiatives, including San Francisco’s Palliative Care Task Force, and through public speaking including the culminating talk at TED2015, all helping to make compassionate end-of-life care available to all.
Following undergraduate studies in art history at Princeton, BJ received his MD at University of California San Francisco (UCSF) as a Regents’ Scholar and completed his internal medicine residency at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, CA, where he served as chief resident. He also completed a fellowship in Hospice & Palliative Medicine at Harvard Medical School, with clinical duties split between Massachusetts General Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
BJ also serves as Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCSF, and is an attending specialist for Palliative Care Service at UCSF Medical Center and the Symptom Management Service of the UCSF Helen Diller Comprehensive Cancer Center, a groundbreaking outpatient palliative care clinic.