BJ Miller, MD
Executive Director, Zen Hospice Project

Dr. BJ Miller brings unique experience to his role as Executive Director of Zen Hospice Project in San Francisco. An electrical shock sustained while a Princeton undergraduate nearly cost him his life. He managed to survive but lost both legs below the knee and half of one arm. Through this lens, 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 2011, BJ oversees its pioneering integration of social and medical services grounded in spirituality and humanity. 

Working from the vantage point of death as an essential part of life, he is also actively engaged in cultivating a larger 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 closing talk at TED2015, all helping to make empathy-driven 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 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 the Symptom Management Service of the UCSF Helen Diller Comprehensive Cancer Center, one of the country’s very first outpatient palliative care clinics. 

Zen Hospice Project
10 Facts You Need to Know About Hospice – Is hospice care the right option for you or a loved one?  
What really matters at the end of life – TED Talk