Conference Speakers

Dr. Teneille Gofton

Topic: Palliative Care in Atypical Parkinsonism and Multiple Sclerosis

Dr. Gofton completed medical school at Dalhousie University, followed by Neurology residency training at Western University. She has dual fellowship training in Hospice and Palliative Medicine at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (New York) and in Neurocritical Care and Electroencephalography at Western University. Her career involves both clinical and research work in the field of Neuropalliative Care. Her research in Neuropalliative Care investigates challenges and barriers to initiation of Neuropalliative Care, Neuropalliative Care in serious neurological illness and Neuropalliative education for trainees.

Dr. Kathryn Mannix

Topics: With The End in Mind: How Do We Talk About Dying? and Listen: Navigating Tender Conversations

Kathryn worked in the UK for 30 years as a palliative care physician and a cognitive behavioural therapist. She took early retirement in 2016 to dedicate some time and attention to improving public understanding of dying. Her campaign strategy is storytelling. Her first book, With The End In Mind, based on stories from her career in palliative care, became an international best-seller and led to invitations to speak across the UK and around the world. Her second book, Listen, considers how we approach those daunting conversations we tend to postpone, whether it’s a condolences conversation with a friend, the nitty-gritty of family finances, or being asked to take sides in a heated disagreement between people we love.

Dr. Leonie Herx

Topic: Moral Distress and Moral Courage in Palliative Care Practice

Leonie Herx is a specialist palliative care physician who practices both pediatric and adult palliative medicine and is passionate about improving high quality palliative care for all Canadians. Leonie has held numerous palliative care leadership positions in Alberta and Ontario, including Division Chair and Associate Professor of Palliative Medicine at Queen’s University and Clinical Director of Palliative Medicine at Providence Care Hospital and Kingston Health Sciences Centre from 2018-2023, and as of October 2023 is the Section Chief of Pediatric Palliative Medicine for Alberta Health Services – Calgary Zone, Director of Rotary Flames House children’s hospice, and Clinical Professor in the Cummings School of Medicine. She has been actively involved in growing and building the discipline of palliative care at a national level. She co-founded the new Royal College Subspecialty in Palliative Medicine and is the Chair of the Royal College Specialty Committee for Palliative Medicine. Leonie served on the board of the Canadian Society for Palliative Care Physicians (CSPCP) for 9 years and is a former President of CSPCP, completing her 4 years in the president track 2021. Through her work with CSPCP Leonie helped lead a number of initiatives including consulting with Health Canada in the development of the Framework for Palliative Care in Canada, co-developing the CSPCP Staffing Model for planning palliative care programs, and developing a national set of generalist palliative care competencies for all postgraduate education programs. Leonie is also passionate about team wellness and is an inaugural member of the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians Peer Support Team.

Leonie is mom to 5 amazing children and their family loves to spend as much time as possible in the outdoors – biking, hiking, kayaking, and skiing.

Olga Nikolajev

Topic: Community Deathcare; Death Doula Approach to Care

Olga Nikolajev is an End-of-Life Nurse educator and Fellow in Thanatology with over 25 years of professional experience as a registered nurse in various health care settings, including hospice palliative care. Olga has been involved in National, provincial and local community efforts to improve end of life care support. Olga facilitates Thanatology courses with Centennial College, and the End of Life Doula and Indigenous End of Life Guide courses with Douglas College across Canada, virtually and in-person. Olga is the founder of, a death awareness and end of life care support service, and is the founder and director of the Death Doula Ontario Network. Olga has been honoured to share her end-of-life knowledge with over 700 participants/students within the last 10 years and is most proud of creating a “safe and brave space” for personal growth and healing.

Olga has a diploma in Nursing with a Certificate in Multidisciplinary Palliative Care, a Master’s degree in Religion and Culture focusing on death rites, and a Certificate in Cannabis Science and Psychedelic Assisted Therapy. Olga also serves as an advisor on a number of International, National and local committees and boards, such as EduCanNation, a Canadian Cannabis Educators Association, and the Association for Death Educators and Counsellors (ADEC) and continues to be a member in good standing with ADEC, RNAO and the End-of-Life Doula Association of Canada.

Dr. Jodi Hall

Topic: Community Deathcare; Death Doula Approach to Care

Dr. Jodi Hall (she/they) is of European settler ancestry, and is a professor and research advisor in the School of Nursing at Fanshawe College, Canada. Jodi has been a full-spectrum doula since 1996, and in 2016 launched the Doula Studies Program at Fanshawe, which is an on campus, 700-hour, full-time certificate program. Included in the curriculum is palliative care across the life spectrum, and a designated course on Grief, Loss and Death.

Jodi is wrapping up a critical ethnographic study on the role of doulas within palliative care, and with funding from Fanshawe College will soon begin a new project, which includes a pilot project evaluating the role of doulas in community-based palliative care.

Dr. Kyra Harris-Schulz

Topic: Does Diagnosis Matter? Providing Equitable Palliative Care to Patients Without Cancer

Kyra Harris-Schulz (she/her) is an inpatient Palliative Care consultant at University Hospital and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. Her clinical and academic work is driven by her strong dedication to increasing access to and improving Palliative Care for patients living with non-malignant illness(es).

Beyond her inpatient work, Kyra continues to champion early Palliative Care as the co-founder of a novel Non-Malignant Palliative Care Clinic and through her work providing Palliative Care to patients receiving dialysis. Outside of her clinical practice, Kyra enjoys exploring the outdoors and the arts.

Dr. Ed Fitzgibbon

Topics: An Updated Perspective on the Place and Role for Methadone in Palliative Care and A Prescriber’s Perspective of the Evolution of Ketamine from ‘Simple’ Anesthetic to Essential Medication in Palliative Care
Dr. Fitzgibbon, who is proudly Irish, is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Palliative Care at the University of Ottawa’s Department of Medicine. He originally worked as a Family Physician, with special interests in Emergency Medicine and Obstetrics in Newfoundland. He completed a Palliative Care fellowship in Ottawa in 2000, and has been on faculty at the Division of Palliative Care since then, as well as Medical Director of Palliative Care for the last 15 years. He has worked at both the Bruyere Palliative Care Unit and The Ottawa Hospital. Since 2019, Dr. Fitzgibbon has worked with the Supportive and Palliative Care team in The Ottawa Hospital Cancer Center.
Dr. Fitzgibbon is also a Clinical Investigator at The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI). He has a longstanding interest in quality improvement projects to improve palliative patients’ symptom control and experience. His current research includes improving transitions of care for palliative patients between hospitals and the community, and other projects investigating the use of CBD for cancer symptoms, methadone as a first-line opioid, and modafanil in supportive care.

Janet Elder

Topic: Palliative Care’s Role in Caring for People Living With Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities (IDD)

Janet is a graduate of the University of Windsor with a Bachelor’s of science in Nursing. She has held her Palliative Care certification since 2006. She has over 30 years’ experience working and developing her knowledge in Hospice Palliative Care. She has applied her knowledge and passion to positively impact the illness experience for patients, families and care teams.

Janet has been in her present role since 2019 as the Palliative Pain & Symptom Management Consultant/Educator (PPSMC) for Windsor/Essex through the Palliative Pain & Symptom Management Program for SW. Previously she worked at the Hospice of Windsor and held a number of roles including the role of the Palliative Liaison Nurse. Currently the Co-chair of the provincial Intellectual and Developmental Disability Palliative Care Committee (IDD-PCC); Co-chair of the provincial Palliative Care Consultation Network (PCCN); chair of the Windsor/Essex Hospice Palliative Care Committee; Non-Physician Clinical Co-Lead (CLL) for OH West and previous member of the Palliative Care Health Services Delivery Framework Working Group.

Tracey Human

Topic: Palliative Care’s Role in Caring for People Living With Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities (IDD)

Tracey Human is an ardent proponent of transformative healthcare rooted in knowledge-to-action and applied empathy to positively impact the illness experience for individuals, families, and care teams. She has served in various communities of practice in front line and leadership roles, high acuity acute care to community-based palliative care, for over 40 years capacity building grassroots to system level and considers it a tremendous privilege.

Tracey has been in her present role 14 years as Director of the Palliative Care, Pain & Symptom Management Consultation Service (PPSMC) for Toronto; currently is Chair of the provincial Intellectual and Developmental Disability Palliative Care Committee (IDD-PCC); member of the Ontario Health/Cancer Care Ontario, Hospital Model of Care working group; member of the Ontario Palliative Care Network (OPCN) Clinical Advisory Council; past Chair of the provincial Palliative Care Consultation Network (PCCN); past Member of the Toronto Central Hospice Palliative Care Network Board of Directors; and has served on the Ryerson University Advisory Council to the Health Services & Health Information Management Programs.