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Dr. Chris Feudtner

Chris Feudtner is a pediatrician, clinical investigator, and ethicist at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania who focuses on improving the lives of children with complex chronic conditions and their families. He is Chief of the Division of General Pediatrics at CHOP.


Over the years, he has conducted a wide variety of research projects and been involved in developing clinical programs while also taking care of complex pediatric patients, including providing palliative care, as well as providing clinical ethics consultations. He lives outside of Philadelphia with his wife (a family physician), three children (two now off at college), and a very eager morning run dog, Rita.


Creating SPACE for Decision-Making When Confronting Serious Pediatric Illness: Emotions, Hope, and Parental Sense of Duty

How can we improve the ways in which we support parents of children with life-threatening illness, especially regarding making decisions on behalf of their child? A central tenant of this talk is that thinking, feeling, and relationships are all interconnected, and that decision-support requires attention to all three of these elements.
We will develop a conceptual model of decision-making SPACE, and cover different attributes of this model, including how discussions of hopes and fears that the parents have can help them expand their decision-making space, and how discussions about the various ways in which parents view their personal duty to serve their child can provide a more supportive foundation for decision-making. We will then apply insights from this SPACE model and the concepts covered in the talk to consider specific communication and self-management techniques that can be practiced and applied in clinical care.


Dr. Kathryn Mannix

Kathryn was a consultant in palliative medicine in the North of England for 20 years, working in hospices, patients’ own homes and a large teaching hospital. She also qualified as a Cognitive Behaviour Therapist and developed ‘CBT First Aid’ training for palliative care practitioners to integrate CBT skills into their current practice. She took early retirement in 2016 to work for better public understanding of dying; this has included radio work (including CBC), newspaper articles and a book 'With the End in Mind' that, somewhat expectedly, became an international Best Seller, was shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize and was The Times ‘Thought’ Book of the Year. Her second book, 'Listen', about tender communication, was published to critical acclaim in September 2021.

She believes that by naming death, describing the process, and helping people to know what to expect, clinicians can have honest, frank and helpful conversations with patients and families that promote better planning of end of life care and reduce unnecessary and unhelpful medical complications of dying. Her hope is that we can de-medicalise dying, and give it back to everyone as a precious time to be lived as well as possible.

-Heather Shantz Inaugural Lecture-

Listening: How to Light a Candle in the Dark

Our work in palliative care makes us companions to people facing some of life’s biggest challenges. There are things that we can help to change: relief of symptoms, support with advance care planning, aids at home. But there are things that cannot be changed, they can only be faced. As people face those personal challenges, how do we ensure that we are the supporters and companions they need? How do we help them to process their emotions and make the most of the time left to live? This session will focus on how the way we communicate, and above all, the quality of our listening, can transform the way we work with the patients and families we serve.

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Lori Gibbs

Lori Gibbs, comedian, speaker, radio host, mother, writer, crafter, singer, pianist, coach, leader at Camp Hooha (not in that order). 

Relevant credits: 16 years stand up comedian, 7 years morning radio in Calgary, massive amounts of public speaking, personal experience with MDD, PTSD & anxiety. Special skills: being a safe place for people, empathy, nurturing.

Rebuilding Workplace Culture with Humour & Irreverence

Hey, I’m Lori. Welcome to the worldwide mental health crisis. Here’s your muffin basket. Let’s talk about how to rebuild culture in your workplace. We’ve been slammed with trauma & desperately need tools, support and HUMOUR to keep going. I’m excited to share the practices that have drastically lowered my depression and anxiety levels. With years of experience as a stand-up comedian, radio host & lifelong learner, I promise to do my best to put you at ease and give you a feeling of safety as we all navigate these difficult passages together. It’s like your fun aunt giving you advice as she offers you a swig from her purse vodka. Can’t wait to meet you.

Music by: Kerry Ellison

Kerry Ellison is a volunteer harp player with Hospice Calgary. She is certified in Harp Therapy through the International Harp Therapy Program (California). At Hospice, she plays a 26 string therapy harp designed for portability and bedside music. Her repertoire includes sacred & secular music played from memory, and on-the-spot improvisations. Kerry draws on experience in choirs, guitar, harp, OT and end-of-life vigils to craft each unique harp therapy session. She plays harp to benefit staff and visitors as much as for patients.

Finding Light in the Dark



for our free virtual conference
May 11, 2022
8:00am - 1:00pm MDT

If you are unable to register, it means the conference is currently full. Keep checking back as spaces may open if people cancel.

Webinar opens at 8:00am, conference starts promptly at 8:30am.

Zoom link will be in your confirmation email

after you register.

The Mary O'Connor Conference Committee is pleased to offer this conference free of charge, from Palliative & End of Life Care, Calgary Zone.



May 11, 2022
8:00am - 1:00pm MDT


Webinar Open for Log-In 

Enjoy live music from therapeutic harpist, Kerry Ellison, while you settle in.

Conference starts promptly at 8:30


Dr. Kathryn Mannix

Listening: How to Light a Candle in the Dark


Opening Remarks


5 Minute Break


Dr. Chris Feudtner

Creating SPACE for Decision-Making When Confronting Serious Pediatric Illness:  Emotions, Hope, and Parental Sense of Duty


Lori Gibbs

Rebuilding Workplace Culture with Humour & Irreverence


15 Minute Break


Closing Remarks

Quilt Draw

Quilt draw winner must be in attendance
Yoga at Home
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