Harvey Max Chochinov, OC OM MD PhD FRCPC FRSC FCAHS

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Harvey Max Chochinov, OC OM MD PhD FRCPC FRSC FCAHS

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Research Discipline(s): Basic, Translational, Clinical, Clinical Trials in Psychosocial; Palliative Care

Primary Title: Doctor

Additional Titles & Affiliations: Distinguished Professor


Identifying Personhood within the Clinical Setting, Implementing Dignity Conserving Care, Clinical Trials Related to Dignity Therapy

My research aims to improve the experience of patients and families facing life threatening and life limiting conditions.

Research Summary

Current research interests include:

  1. Understanding the ways that COVID-19 has affected the experience of palliative care for patients, their families and their healthcare providers. (2020 – 2022 Chochinov H, Bolton J, Hensel, J, Olafson K, Reynolds K, Kredentser M. Death, Dying and Dignity in the time of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Research Manitoba COVID-19 rapid response. $235,676)
  2. Examining palliative care needs for patients with schizophrenia (2022 – 2026 Tanuseputro P (NPA), Fiedorowicz J (co-PA), Webber C, Mahar A, Isenberg S, Bolton J, Bonares M, Buchman D, Bush S, Chochinov HM, Downar J, Edwards J, Franck C, Hatcher S, Kurdyak P, Lawlor P, Li W, Solmi M, Wellman M (co-A). Evaluating palliative and end-of-life care for Canadians living with schizophrenia. Funding Source: CIHR Project Grant, $428,400
  3. Examining the impact of Dignity Therapy for patients with advanced cancer. (2016- 2021Emanuel L (MPI), Wilkie DJ (contact MPI), Fitchett G (MPI), Handzo G (Co-I), Chochinov HM (Co-I). Dignity Therapy RCT led by Nurses or Chaplains for Elderly Cancer Outpatients. National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, 1R01CA200867-01, $3,917,265.


Continue to conduct leading edge studies, address the psychosocial needs of patients and their families facing life limiting cancers.

Research Biography

I have led an extensive program of research, focusing on psychosocial dimensions of dying patients and their families. This work has been had uninterrupted funding for over 25 years, from agencies including the NIH, Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Canadian Cancer Society. My clinical training is in psychiatry (Board Certified in 1987); along with having completed a Fellowship in Psycho-oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre (1986-1987). To enhance my research skills, I also completed addition training in Community Health Sciences (the Canadian equivalent of Public Health), receiving my doctoral degree in 1996. As such, I bring the skills of an experienced clinician, as well as the ability to help design, implement and evaluate psychosocial studies within the context of palliative care. While our group has studied multiple dimensions of end of life care, including depression, desire for death and will to live, a dominant theme of research over the last decade has focused on dignity in the terminally ill. This extensive program of research was the first to examine this issue empirically, and has had substantive international impact. This has included: i) the development of an empirical model of dignity in the terminally ill;1 ii) the creation and validation of an innovative screening tool to identify dignity related distress coined the Patient Dignity Inventory (PDI), which has been translated into more than a dozen languages and is being used for research and clinical purposes in various programs worldwide; and iii) Dignity Therapy (DT), which is a novel individualized therapy for patients with life limiting conditions. Dignity Therapy is one of the most studied novel psychosocial interventions to emerge in the palliative care literature within the past decade. It has been evaluated in a large international RCT funded by the NIH. DT has been studied extensively around the world and has entered the palliative care lexicon as a therapeutic option to assuage suffering of dying patients and their families.


  • Order of Manitoba
  • Order of Canada
  • Inductee Canadian Medical Hall of Fame
  • FNG Starr Award
  • O Harold Warwick Prize
  • Fellow Royal Society of Canada
  • Fellow Canadian Academy of Health Sciences
  • Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal
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    Featured Publications

    • Chochinov HM. Seeing Ellen and the Platinum Rule. JAMA Neurol. 2022 Nov 1;79(11):1099. doi: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2022.2400. PMID: 36036906.
    • Chochinov HM The Platinum Rule: A New Standard for Person-Centred Care. J Palliat Med. 2022 Feb 25. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2022.0075.
    • Emanuel L, Solomon S, Fitchett G, Chochinov H, Handzo G, Schoppee T, Wilkie D. Fostering Existential Maturity to Manage Terror in a Pandemic. J Palliat Med. 2021 Jun 17. DOI: 10.1089/jpm.2020.0263. PMID 32552500 PMCID: PMC7840299.
    • Chochinov HM, Julião M. Dignity, Memory, and Final Wishes of Dying Children. J Palliat Med. 2020 Nov 4. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2020.0599.
    • Chochinov HM, Bolton J, Sareen J. Death, Dying, and Dignity in the Time of the COVID-19 Pandemic. J Palliat Med. 2020 Oct;23(10):1294-1295. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2020.0406. Epub 2020 Jul 9.
    • Chochinov HM, Johnston W, McClement SE, Hack TF, Dufault B, Enns M, Thompson G, Harlos M, Damant RW, Ramsey CD, Davison S, Zacharias J, Milke D, Strang D, Campbell-Enns HJ, Kredentser MS. (2016, Jan). Dignity and Distress Towards the End of Life Across Four Non-Cancer Populations. Plos One, 11(1): e0147607
    • Chochinov HM. Dignity in Care: The Human Side of Medicine. Oxford University Press. 2022
    • Chochinov HM and Breitbart W (Editors). Handbook of Psychiatry in Palliative Medicine 3rd Edition: Psychosocial Care of the Terminally Ill Hardcover. Oxford University Press. 2022

    Publications List

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