This year McGill will host the 19th International Congress on Palliative Care(ICPC) founded by McGill’s Emeritus Professor and Father of Palliative Medicine in North America, Dr. Balfour Mount. The congress is chaired this year by Dr. Anna Towers. This conference represents the oldest conference in the field, and is led by Dr. Bernard Lapointe, Eric M. Flanders Chair in Palliative Medicine and Director of Palliative Care at McGill, with whom I spoke to better understand what attendees could expect from their pilgrimage to Montreal this October 9th-­12th.

Cory: Thank you or taking the time to talk with me about the International Congress on Palliative Care. What makes the ICPC so special?

Bernard: It is a continuation of the vision of Dr. Balfour Mount, who founded the first ICPC in 1976 featuring Elizabeth Kubler-­‐Ross, Dame Cecily Saunders and Dr. Mount himself. Secondly, the congress is truly international with over 60 countries and all continents represented all coming together to share their visions on PC. The conference is bilingual with presentations in French and English. Lastly, what sets this conference apart is that we dedicate time for interdisciplinary dialogue, questions, and interaction. We pride ourselves in providing a time rich learning environment that allows for presentation and dialogue. It is truly interdisciplinary, and offers the current status of international PC with 400 posters and 260 presenters from around the world.

This year particularly, we have special sessions on pharmacology, the arts and humanities, volunteers, and architecture. The congress remains the largest venue for pediatric palliative care with two full days dedicated to pediatrics for those interested.

Cory: In celebration of the 45th anniversary of St. Christopher’s Hospice, how are you intending on spotlighting St. Christopher’s?

Bernard: This year as well we will spotlight St. Christopher’s and their 45-­‐year anniversary. Most interesting, Dame Barbara Monroe will speak on the history and lessons learned at St. Christopher’s and provide a glimpse of the future of PC at St. Christopher’s. The design is that the spotlight will start with a plenary and then a series of workshops.

Cory: I can only imagine that another highlight from the conference will be the closing plenary from Dr. Balfour Mount, On Healing.

Bernard: This will be a fabulous presentation from Dr. Mount that will serve as an overview of his career and his contribution to Palliative Care. I am looking forward to attending the International Congress and from talking with Dr. Lapointe, I have visions of an experience that will connect with rich history of PC at McGill and St. Christopher’s at the same time showcasing the most recent developments in an international interdisciplinary forum. Not to forget, Montreal is a beautiful and delightful fall destination.

Cory Ingram, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Family and Palliative Medicine
Mayo Clinic, College of Medicine
Medical Director – Palliative Care
Chair of the Palliative Medicine Specialty Council
Mayo Clinic Health System