The Expert Panel members are academics who have published extensively and are recognized for their expertise in their fields.  The Expert Panel will provide the scientific evidence to assist the Lay Panel in answering the key questions posed to them. They will prepare three- to five-page papers on each question and will make a presentation on each specific question at the conference.

Chair: Dr. Konrad Fassbender


Dr. Kevin Brazil

Professor Brazil holds the appointment of Professor of Palliative Care, Queen’s University Belfast. He is also a Fellow in the Centre of Evidence and Social Innovation, Queen’s University Belfast where he is the Programme Lead for Chronic Illness and Palliative Care.  He holds an honorary part-time appointment in the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario Canada. 

Professor Brazil’s research focuses on the structure, process, and outcomes in service delivery of quality care for family carers and patients as they near the end-of-life. As part of this work, he examines how personal, social, and environmental factors affect care. This work is designed to assist in the development, evaluation and translation of new and innovative interventions to improve access, quality and outcomes in this population.  He has over 300 publications including 169 peer review journal publications related to these interests. He has taught undergraduate and post graduate learners in palliative care and health services research. He has been active on numerous working and advisory groups at the international, national, and regional levels and has served on several grant review boards in both Canada and Europe. 

Dr. Hsien Seow

Hsien Seow is the Canada Research Chair in Palliative Care and Health System Innovation and an Associate Professor in the Department of Oncology, McMaster University. He is also the ICES McMaster Site Director. Previously he held a CIHR New Investigator award and the Cancer Care Ontario Chair in Health Services Research. He earned a PhD is from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and a BSc from Yale University. His research interests are innovating the palliative care health system and improving quality of care. He has worked with RAND Health, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Health Quality Ontario, various health policy makers to improve hospice palliative care.

Dr. James Downar

Dr. James Downar is a Critical Care and Palliative Care Physician at the University Health Network in Toronto. He graduated from McGill Medical School and completed residency training in Internal Medicine, Critical Care and Palliative Care at the University of Toronto. He has a Master's degree in Bioethics from the Joint Centre for Bioethics at the University of Toronto. He is the Program Director for the Conjoint Residency Program in Palliative Care at the University of Toronto and the current chair of the Postgraduate Education Committee of the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians.

Dr. Downar's research interests include communication and decision-making for seriously ill patients and their families; palliative care for the critically ill; and palliative care for noncancer illnesses.

Dr. Deborah Dudgeon

Dr. Deborah Dudgeon is the W. Ford Connell Professor of Palliative Care Medicine and Professor of Medicine and Oncology at Queen’s University. She is the Head of the Palliative Care Medicine Program for Queen’s University and Kingston General Hospital and has been in this position since 1997. Dr. Dudgeon is the co-chair of the Advisory Committee on Palliative Medicine for the Conjoint Training Program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and the College of Family Physicians of Canada.  She is a Past President of the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians, and was the Provincial Program Head for Palliative Care for Cancer Care Ontario from 2004 to 2010. She also served as the co-chair of the Symptom Control Committee of the National Cancer Institute of Canada Clinical Trials Group and a member of the Advisory Committee on Research for the National Cancer Institute of Canada.

Dr. Dudgeon’s main research interests relate to the etiology of dyspnea in cancer patients and health services research related to care of the advanced cancer patient.

Dr. R. Sean Morrison

Dr. R. Sean Morrison is Director of the Lilian and Benjamin Hertzberg Palliative Care Institute and the National Palliative Care Research Center, organizations devoted to improving care for persons with serious illness and their families and enhancing the knowledge base of palliative care in the United States. He is also Professor of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine, and Hermann Merkin Professor of Palliative Medicine in the Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. During 2009-2010, he served as President of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.  He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine's 2010 PDIA National Leadership Award and the 2013 Excellence in Scientific Research Award. He has received over $45 million dollars in research funding and published over 125 research articles.

Dr. Morrison’s current research focuses on improving the management of pain in older adults and on developing and evaluating models of palliative care delivery in hospitals and the community.

Dr. Barbara Pesut

Dr. Barbara Pesut is an Associate Professor in the School of Nursing at the University of British Columbia. She holds a Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in Health, Ethics and Diversity. In 2012, Dr. Pesut received the College of Registered Nurses Award of Excellence in Nursing Research.

Dr. Pesut’s program of research explores the implications of religious, spiritual and geographic diversity for palliative care. Recent projects have examined ethical issues in rural palliative care, palliative family caregiving and educating nurses for a palliative approach. She is currently conducting a trial of nurse navigation to better support rural palliative patients and their family caregivers.

Dr. Jane Seymour

Dr. Jane Seymour qualified as a nurse in 1982 and gained a PhD from the University of Sheffield in 1994. In April 2016, she rejoined the University of Sheffield as Professor of Palliative and End-of-Life Care following ten years at the University of Nottingham as the leader of the Sue Ryder Care Centre for the Study of Supportive, Palliative and End-of-Life Care. Dr. Seymour holds an Honorary Chair at the University of Queensland, Australia and was awarded a lifetime achievement award for her research in 2014 by the International Journal of Palliative Nursing. She has contributed to research grants and awards totaling over £7.5 million and has published over 140 outputs in peer reviewed journals.

Dr. Seymour’s current research interests include advance care planning and end-of-life decision-making, palliative and end-of-life care for frail older people, palliative and end-of-life care in resource poor contexts nationally and internationally, and public education for end-of-life care.

Dr. Allison Williams

Dr. Allison Williams is trained as a social geographer.  She currently is an Associate Professor at McMaster University and has held previous academic appointments at the University of Saskatchewan and Brock University.  She is the recipient of a number of Awards, including the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) - Ontario Women's Health Council, Institute for Gender and Health Mid-Career Scientist Salary Award (2008-2013), the CIHR New Investigator Salary Award (2001-2006), and the Canadian Association of Geographers Julian M. Szeircz prize (2003). She currently holds the CIHR Research Chair in Gender, Work and Health (2014-2019) and is leading a research program examining caregiver-employees.

Dr. Williams’ work specializes in health research addressing caregiver-employees, quality of life, critical policy/program evaluation, and therapeutic landscapes.