Death Over Dinner - Let's Have Dinner and Talk About Death

While 90% of Australians agree we need to talk more about end of life, too few of us actually do.

Conversations about End of Life Care often take place at a hospital in the midst of a crisis. Many people die in a way they wouldn’t choose, with loved ones left feeling guilty, bereaved and anxious.

We invite you to participate in the most important dinner conversation Australia is not having. It’s time to share your end of life wishes and plan a dinner to help others share theirs.

Now is the time to plan a very special dinner, and help transform this challenging conversation into an inspiring one. LEARN MORE

Welcome to the Australian/NZ version of Death Over Dinner (or Death Over Dinner Down Under) The way people are cared for when they are dying is important. End of Life Care impacts everyone, at every age - the living, the dying and the bereaved. It is not a response to a particular illness or condition. It is not limited to a particular group or section of the community. When it comes to death the statistics are clear. We will all die. In Australia, too many people die in a manner they would not choose and too many of their loved ones are left feeling bereaved, guilty, and uncertain.
Death Over Dinner (DOD) Death Over Dinner was originally designed in the U.S. by Michael Hebb and Angel Grant to encourage people to have conversations about end of life and End of Life Care at the kitchen table rather than in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), when it’s too late. DOD is an interactive website that encourages conversation to start with family and friends while breaking bread, and well in advance of an accident or an emergency when people are overwhelmed or unable to communicate. DOD gives people the permission to discuss their choices and thoughts on end of life and End of Life Care.  It educates people on the value of making decisions about their wishes, and expressing them to their loved ones, by inspiring a series of uplifting and interactive dinners to transform the seemingly difficult conversation about death into an intimate, shared experience. DOD provides a range of tools, reading and support materials, as well as tips to get the conversation started. Dinner party hosts choose the guests and the menu and let the wine and conversations flow.
Death Over Dinner Down Under We were inspired by this simple, well executed idea and how it works to bring people to the table to create social change. These dinners result in connection and action. They create deep engagement and profound relationships. Whilst Australia is the first official satellite site outside the USA, DOD has already become an international movement. In two years, more than 100,000 people in over 30 countries have gathered to dine and discuss their views on a "good" death, and the issues that matter to them. Thank you to Michael Hebb and Angel Grant for your generosity, humour and unconditional support extending this movement to Australia. Thank you to the Board and staff at the Australian Centre for Health Research (ACHR) who are committed to improving end of life care for Australians and for being brave enough to encourage and support this project. The evidence base and rationale for DOD in Australia is laid out in our report: Creating Choice in End of Life Care It is our hope that our contribution adds to the remarkable work currently underway across the globe, and helps change the conversation about how we prepare for and spend our final years, months and days. Please take the time to watch Michael Hebb’s TEDMED talk to see how this movement was inspired and how death came to dinner.
  That’s enough about us, this is about you. The dinner table is the most forgiving place for difficult conversation. The ritual of breaking bread creates warmth and connection, and puts us in touch with our humanity. It offers an environment that is more suitable to discuss end of life. We raise a generous glass to you and your loved ones and humbly submit version 1.0 of . We hope it helps you and your family live well until the end.
  Rebecca Bartel Executive Director The Australian Centre for Health Research (ACHR)    

built by Civilization

Photos by Amanda Ringstad


We are collaborating with everyone from medical experts including general practitioners and specialists, palliative care professionals, authors, curators, healthcare CEOs, policy makers, politicians, sports people and artists to spark a powerful movement around facing death and planning for end of life. Some are facing their own life-limiting condition and the challenges that come with that. Together, we are putting out a call to action for all Australians to start a conversation with their friends and family about death - and we are giving people to tools to make it easier, more meaningful, and even fun.

Osher Günsberg

Television, Radio, Podcast Presenter and Journalist

Arianna Huffington

Chair, President, and Editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group

Professor John McNeil

Head of School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University

Ben Lee


Professor David Currow

Chief Cancer Officer of NSW and Chief Executive Officer of the Cancer Institute NSW, the NSW Government’s cancer control agency

Dr Ginni Mansberg

GP, Medical and Parenting Expert

Dr Mukesh Haikerwal, AO

Chair, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW)

Lyn Swinburne, AM

Founder, Breast Cancer Network Australia

Dr Stephen Parnis

Vice-President, Australian Medical Association

Professor Sanchia Aranda

Chief Executive Officer, Cancer Council Australia

Professor Don Campbell

Director General Medicine, Monash Health

Molly Carlile, AM

Chief Executive Officer South East Palliative Care Ltd., The Deathtalker®, international speaker and author, Ambassador Dying to Know Day

Professor Brendan Crotty

Executive Dean, Faculty of Health, Deakin University

Dr Steve Hambleton

Chair, Primary Health Care Advisory Group

Rebecca Bartel

Executive Director, Australian Centre for Health Research (ACHR)

Associate Professor Peter Martin

Regional Director, Palliative Care, Barwon Health

Clinical Associate Professor Neil Orford

Director Intensive Care Barwon Health

Dr Paul Bates

Chief Medical Officer, BUPA

Dr Michael Walsh

Chief Executive, Cabrini Health

Jane Tewson, CBE

Founder and Director, Igniting Change

Dr Sonia Fullerton

Consultant in palliative care, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

Professor Peter Brooks

Professorial appointments in the Centre for Health Policy, School of Population and Global Health and the School of Medicine, University of Melbourne

Associate Professor Charlie Corke

Senior Intensive Care Specialist, Barwon Health

Dr Yvonne McMaster, OAM

Palliative Care Physician and Palliative Care Advocate, Push for Palliative

Glenn Barnes

Chairman, Ansell Limited

Dianne Rule


Associate Professor Morton Rawlin

Vice-President, Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP)

George Tambassis

National President, The Pharmacy Guild of Australia

Rohan Mead

Group Managing Director, Australian Unity Limited

Associate Professor Peter Hunter

Director of Aged Care and the Clinical Program Director of Rehabilitation, Aged and Community Care at Alfred Health

Professor Simon Willcock

Director, Primary Care services, Macquarie University Hospital and Health Sciences Centre

Alan Castleman

Chairman, Australian Centre for Health Research (ACHR)

Bronnie Ware

Author, 'The Top Five Regrets of the Dying'

Rosemary Calder, AM

Director, Australian Health Policy Collaboration, Victoria University

Jason Trethowan

CEO, Western Victoria Primary Health Network

Angel Grant

Executive Director of and Co-founder of

Sharon Tregoning

Spiritual Counsellor, Spiritual Palliative Care

Dr Ashleigh Witt

Medical Registrar

Dr Ian McPhee

Clinical Senior Lecturer, Sydney Medical School and an anaesthetist, NSW

Kirsten Mander

Chair of the Victorian Reproductive Treatment Authority and Chair of the International Women’s Development Agency

Julie Hassard

Consultant, Facilitator and Mentor of Doing Dying Better

John Rasa

CEO, Networking Health Victoria

John Haberecht

Director of Learning & Development, Centre for Palliative Care Research and Education

Professor Maxine Duke

Director, Centre for Quality and Patient Safety Research and Head, School of Nursing and Midwifery at Deakin University

Michael Hebb

Founder of, &

Dr Ric Milner

General Practitioner and Board Member Western Victoria Primary Health Network

Adjunct Professor Lisa Demos

Senior Research Fellow, Monash University

Dr Leslie Cannold

Ethicist, Researcher, Educator, Author and Public Presenter

Helen Sinnot

Manager, Australian Disease Management Association (ADMA)


We have compiled a range of written, visual and audio materials from Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States. These will continue to be updated on a regular basis. The library covers diverse views and a range of personal experiences. Select the items most relevant to you.
Read Watch Listen
  • I am dying and I want everyone to talk about it
    “This is a plea to my family, carer, doctors and specialists: start talking about death as much as you do about life. Is that too much to ask?”  Mandy Paine is terminally ill. She writes about her wish to live in a world where we talk openly and frankly about death; where those nearing the end of their life are understood, listened to, treated with respect and have the death they want whether that’s at home, in hospital, or in a hospice (UK).
  • Give death its due in a system focused on life
    Australian ICU director, Dr Neil Orford writes about his fight for his elderly father’s right to a peaceful and dignified death free from intervention that could prolong suffering. A clinician accustomed to dealing with death, Dr ­Orford’s battle for “patient-centred” care in an interstate hospital was eye opening ­despite his expertise. Dr Orford believes communication practices in end-of-life care are far from adequate, and tough discussions should be par for the course.
  • Assisted dying: the difficult conversation we need to have
    Dr Ian McPhee is a clinical senior lecturer at Sydney Medical School and an anaesthetist in provincial practice in NSW. He also has advanced cancer. Ian believes we must acknowledge divergent views on assisted dying and start framing laws that will enable it.
  • The Day I Meet You in the Emergency Department Will Probably Be One of the Worst of Your Life
    Ashleigh Witt is a doctor training to be a geriatrician at Western Health in Melbourne. This is her view on why everybody should know the dying wishes of their loved ones.
  • In Palliative Care, Comfort is the Top Priority
    Many people confuse palliative care with hospice or with giving up hope. This isn’t the case.
  • What Can We Do To Help Australians Die The Way They Want To?
    A different service mix could better meet End of Life Care needs for little additional cost
  • How to Tell Someone You’re Terminally Ill
    Advice on how to share that you’re terminally ill, including what to expect from others and how to proceed.
  • A Good Death: Australians Need Support to Die at Home
    The majority of Australians want to die at home but just 14% are able to do so. Explore how to allow more people the good death.
  • A Most Beautiful Death
    Huxley, Aldous Huxley’s wife, details in a letter to family Aldous’s last days- including how he requested LSD in his final hours, and how she talked him gently into his passing.
  • How Doctors Die
    Ken Murray, MD shares why most doctors choose little end of life treatment for themselves, and are able to die gently. He explains why this is not the case for most Americans.
  • My Marriage Didn’t End When I Became a Widow
    Lucy Kalanithi talks about grieving the loss of her husband, just after the birth of their first child, and how her life has moved on.
  • 6 Mistakes to Avoid When Doing Your End-of-Life Planning
    Patients who planned in advance for the end of their lives spend less time in the hospital, receive fewer intensive treatments, and have greater quality of life when they reach their final days. Their surviving relatives experience less stress, anxiety and depression during the process. Plan with these six things in mind.
  • To Treat or Not to Treat?
    A look at the high-stakes decisions the sick and elderly population face.
  • Thousands are Experiencing Poor End-of-Life Care
    An estimated 48,000 people who died last year experienced poor care when dying, says a report from seven charities including Macmillan.
  • Patients with Terminal Cancer Live Longer When Cared for at Home
    Researchers studied the final days of over 2,000 terminal cancer patients in Japan. In terms of longevity, they found that patients who were sickest — with either days or weeks to live — actually lived longer if they chose to die at home.
  • When a Doctor and Patient Disagree about Care at the End of Life
    “At my next meeting with my patient, rather than beginning the discussion around his code status, I asked what mattered most to him.” A doctor talks about how his method of end of life discussions with patients changed.
  • To Be Happier, Start Thinking More About Your Death
    Am I making the right use of my scarce and precious life? Why meditation and contemplation on death are keys to better living.
  • How Long Have I Got Left?
  • Thank You Letter to David Bowie from a Palliative Care Doctor
    A doctor eloquently appreciates the decisiveness in David Bowie’s dying days.
  • When It’s Time, Choose to Give Meaning to Your Death
    We may choose an approach to care that does not result in us living longer but perhaps instead we can live more fully and according to our life plan.
  • Good Grief: Is there a Better Way to be Bereaved?
    Meghan O’Rourke tells some of the Elisabeth Kubler-Ross story.  She goes on to wonder if survivors are allowed adequate grieving when a dying loved one requests a celebration of life in place of a traditional funeral.
  • Last Day (from Charlotte’s Web)
    Last Day, from Charlotte’s Web Charlotte faces her death and consoles Wilbur with elegant practicality.  Author E.B. White uses this beautiful story to illustrate the power of relationship and the cycle of life and death.
  • What Buddhism Says About Health and Death
    Meditation is widely believed to offer many benefits, but the very premise of Buddhism, known as the first noble truth, is the inevitability of sickness, old age and death. In this panel discussion, Barbara Rhodes, Jan Chozen Bays, David Shlim, and Mitchell Levy talk about how relaxing our hopes and fears about health can lessen our suffering and help us recognize that whatever happens, our true nature is always healthy.
  • Cultural Sensitivities to Dying in Australia
    Groups helping individuals cope with a loved one approaching death, say consideration of cultural sensitivities is of crucial importance.
  • To One Shortly To Die
    Walt Whitman’s poem eloquently invites us to face our impermanence without dread.
  • Top Five Regrets of the Dying
    Bronnie Ware worked for many years with patients who were in the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.  She shares the five most common regrets they shared with her.
  • The Death of Stephen Y.
    A Doctor’s Story of Hope On an Inner-City AIDS Ward Daniel Baxter, M.D. shares one patient’s dramatic gesture for life at any cost.
  • Ten Commandments for the Caregiver
    Rabbi Earl Grollman gives ten practical and compassionate commandments for concerned caregivers.
  • The Bitter End
    Jesse Ellison tells how her 92 year old grandmother lived a full life, and sought a peaceful death.  America’s health care system had a different idea of what was best.  What do we do to stop perpetuating this system of which we are a part?
  • Dying Is Absolutely Safe
    Ram Dass talks about the fear of dying in our culture, and explains why dying is absolutely safe.
  • Dying With Dignity and the Final Word on Her Life
    Terminally Ill Writer Writes Her Own Obituary Jane Lotter writes her own raw and poignant obituary before using Washington’s Death With Dignity Act to die peacefully.
  • Daughter Asks Dying Dad for Final Dance
    Rachel Wolf’s father James is terminally ill and won’t live to see his daughter’s wedding.  She requests a final dance with him to record and play on her wedding day.
  • Cremation vs. Burial: A Christian Perspective
    Mary Fairchild offers a biblical perspective, presenting the arguments both in favor and against the practice of cremation.
  • Letting Go
    Dr. Atul Gawande tells how modern medicine is good at staving off death with aggressive interventions—and bad at knowing when stop, and instead improve the days that terminal patients have left.
  • Study: end-of-life talks benefit patients and families | Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
    Dr. Alexi Wright of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute discusses the benefits of end-of-life conversations for patients and caregivers. Read more about the findings of this study:
  • The Conversation: A Family’s Private Decision
    An act of love: Talking to loved ones near the end of life – A family’s private discussion (ABC News, 2012)
  • The Stigma of Discussing End-of-Life Care
    Dr. Kate Lally, from the Conversation Project, discusses the stigma for patients and families in discussing end-of-life care, palliative care and hospice.
  • An overview of The Conversation Project
    Dr. Kate Lally discusses Care New England role as a pioneer sponsor of The Conversation Project as well issues around end-of-life care, palliative care and hospice. The Conversation Project is dedicated to helping people talk about their wishes for end-of-life care. This nationwide campaign is focused on starting that conversation early so that they can take place at the dinner table, not in the intensive care unit. In order to become conversation-ready, Care New England has developed a conversation nurse model. That model consists of nurses that are employed and trained by Care New England to have these conversations with patients. After meeting with the patient, these nurses become advocates, and use their knowledge to consult on the patient’s case. Since its collaboration with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, The Conversation Project has been devoted to the improvement of care for all patients at the end of life.
  • Knowing You’re Dying (AUS)
    Insight, an Australian current affairs forum, speaks to people who have been told how long they have to live. Joining them are oncologists and palliative care specialists who explain the tricky art of determining a prognosis. Hosted by award-winning journalist Jenny Brockie (An SBS Production).
  • Do Not Resuscitate (AUS)
    CPR can be a brutal process – in hospital, the survival rate is around 15 per cent.  Do the benefits outweigh the risks and can you decide your own fate? This video looks at how people can re-claim this power, when it’s wise to use CPR and when you’re better off without it (An SBS Production).
  • Good End Of Life
    Thinking about death is frightening, but planning ahead is practical and leaves more room for peace of mind in our final days. In a solemn, thoughtful talk, Judy MacDonald Johnston shares 5 practices for planning for a good end of life.
  • Dying in 21st Century Australia, A New Experience for All of Us
    We can’t control if we’ll die, but we can “occupy death,” in the words of Peter Saul, an emergency doctor. He asks us to think about the end of our lives — and to question against the modern model of slow, intubated death in hospital. Two big questions can you help start this tough conversation.
  • My Wishes: An End of Life Care Story (UK)
    This short but powerful film follows one couple’s End of Life Care journey. It explores the benefits of identifying our dying wishes and sharing them with those we love – and those who may care for us in our final days. Presented for a public audience, ‘My Wishes: An End of Life Care Story’ invites us into an open and honest dialogue about dying.
  • Terry Pratchett: Shaking Hands With Death (UK)
    When Terry Pratchett was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in his fifties he was angry – not with death but with the disease that would take him there, and with the suffering disease can cause when we are not allowed to put an end to it. In this essay, broadcast to millions as the BBC Richard Dimblebly Lecture 2010 and previously only available as part of A Slip of the Keyboard, he argues for our right to choose – our right to a good life, and a good death too.
  • How to Talk End of Life Care with a Dying Patient, Atul Gawande
    Practicing surgeon Atul Gawande discusses the four important parts of talking with terminally ill patients about their End of Life Care. Rather than pressing patients to make hard decisions, Gawande emphasises the importance of asking questions about their hopes and fears. This excerpt was taken from a program titled “How to Live When You Have to Die,” featuring Atul Gawande. It was recorded in collaboration with the New Yorker Festival, on October 2, 2010.
  • The Human Connection of Palliative Care: Ten Steps for What To Say and Do (US)
    Dr. Diane E. Meier is Director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC), a national organisation devoted to increasing the number and quality of palliative care programs in the United States. In this video, Dr. Meier discusses 10 important steps in palliative care from over a decade of research. This video will serve as a valuable training tool and guide for medical professionals and their families.
  • Dementia: End of Life Care (UK)
    Northern Training (UK) are one the leading providers of Dementia Care and End Of Life Care Training. They work with some of the UKs major care providers, enabling their staff to provide a better life for the people they care. for.
  • Is Honesty The Best Policy When Someone Is Dying?
    As an emergency medical technician, Matthew O’Reilly was used to telling a white lie when patients asked if they were dying. O’Reilly describes what happened on one emergency call, when he decided to tell the truth.
  • The End Matters: Atul Gawande (NZ)
    In conversation with Middlemore Hospital ICU specialist David Galler, talks with New York surgeon, author and researcher Atul Gawande. Gawande prompts us to rethink our relationship with medicine, during our life and, most crucially, at its close (Auckland Writers Festival, 2015)
  • What Really Matters at the End of Life
    At the end of our lives, what do we most wish for? For many, it’s simply comfort, respect, love. BJ Miller is a palliative care physician who thinks deeply about how to create a dignified, graceful end of life for his patients. Take the time to savor this moving talk, which asks big questions about how we think on death and honor life (TED Talk).
  • We need a heroic narrative for death
    Amanda Bennett and her husband were passionate and full of life all throughout their lives together — and up until the final days, too. Bennett gives a sweet yet powerful talk on why, for the loved ones of the dying, having hope for a happy ending shouldn’t warrant a diagnosis of “denial.” She calls for a more heroic narrative for death — to match the ones we have in life (TED Talk).
  • Can we talk? Helping loved ones express their end of life wishes (US)
    The act of active listening is an act of love. Many adult children often have trouble listening to their ageing patents when their parents try to express their end of life wishes. There are many reasons for this. The topic is intrinsically a sensitive one and it is hard to think about a time when our beloved parents will be no more. Also, despite the fact that death is a certainty for all of us, the eternal optimist in each of us prefers to think that we have lots of time before we get to that point (both for us and for all our loved ones). As a result, these crucial end-of-life conversations which should ideally occur in a non-crisis time in the comfort of our homes unfortunately happen during a time of medical crisis in the chaos of the hospital (Stanford Palliative).
  • Aging, Dying & ‘Being Mortal’ Dr. Atul Gawande (US – long version)
    FRONTLINE follows renowned New Yorker writer and Boston surgeon Atul Gawande as he explores the relationships doctors have with patients who are nearing the end of life.  The film investigates the practice of caring for the dying, and shows how doctors – himself included – are often remarkably untrained, ill-suited and uncomfortable talking about chronic illness and death with their patients.
  • Talking to Your Kids About Death
    In a pointed series of Ask A Mortician, Caitlin Dowdy talks about the whys and hows of talking to your kids about death.
  • Death Questions from Kids
    Caitlin Doughty, from Ask a Mortician, fields questions from kids about death and dying.
  • Having a Child Diagnosed with a Life Limiting Illness
    Dianne Gray speaks from her heart in this short affirmative message about the pain and difficulties of being a parent with a terminally ill child.
  • Chayim Aruchim Jewish End of Life Advocacy and Counseling in compliance with Halacha
    The Center for Culturally Sensitive End of Life Advocacy and Counseling, established by Agudath Israel of America to help our community make health care decisions according to halacha. With a team of halachic authorities, legal experts, medical, patient and pastoral care professionals and high-level government policy advocates, Chayim Aruchim endeavors to serve as a vital resource in championing, promoting and ensuring the implementation of preferences of Torah observant patients’ care decisions in compliance with halacha.
  • Christian Perspectives on End of Life: Holding On and Letting Go (US)
    End of life decisions can present emotional, medical and religious questions and dilemmas for the dying patient and their family. As advancements in medical science can prolong life, questions and confusion abound surrounding our faith about ordinary and extraordinary means, hydration, pain relief, and palliative care. This open panel discussion was presented as a service to the community as part of the 75th anniversary celebration of Kuyper College, USA.
  • Is Embalming Dangerous?
    From the Ask A Mortician series. The effects of embalming fluid on everything except the dead body.
  • A Day in the Life of an Embalmer
    A behind the scenes documentary about being an embalmer, the process of embalming and care of the deceased in a funeral home.In this short documentary, you will witness how the deceased are cared for and embalmed and also gain an in depth understanding of what it means to be an embalmer and the education and training required to become one. An Embalmer of 18 years will guide you through the modern embalming process.
  • Ten Things that Happen After You Die
    Warning: this is a graphic explanation of what happens to the body when we die.
  • When Should Dying Patients Stop Treatment? | Being Mortal
    Why is it so hard for doctors to speak openly with their terminally ill patients about death as the end nears? Dr. Atul Gawande, Boston surgeon and author of the best selling book “Being Mortal” had a remarkably candid and intimate conversation with the widower of a deceased patient and apologizes for offering false hope in the end.
  • Signs of Approaching Death
    A rare succinct account of the specific physiological indications of end of life. Sobering but extremely useful information for those caring for a dying loved one.
  • Ain’t the Way to Die
    “Just gonna stand there and watch me burn, end of life and all my wishes go unheard.” Parody of Eminem and Rihanna song remixed to address serious end of life decisions.
  • How Can We Prepare For A Graceful Death?
    At the end of our lives, what do we most wish for? BJ Miller is a palliative care physician who thinks about how to create a dignified, graceful end of life for his patients.
  • Do We Need A New Narrative For Death?
    Journalist Amanda Bennett explains why having hope while watching a loved one die shouldn’t warrant a diagnosis of “denial.” She calls for a more heroic narrative for death — to match the ones we have in life.
  • Before I Die I Want To…
    In her New Orleans neighborhood, artist Candy Chang turned an abandoned house into a giant chalkboard asking a fill-in-the-blank question: “Before I die I want to ___.” Her neighbors’ answers — surprising, poignant, funny — became an unexpected mirror for the community.
  • The Coffinmaker
    Every year, Americans bury enough metal in the ground to rebuild the Golden Gate Bridge, says Vashon Island coffin maker Marcus Daly. His simple, handcrafted wooden coffins are an economical and environmentally friendly burial alternative. But Daly believes a coffin’s most important feature is that it can be carried. Here’s why.
  • Mushroom Burial Suit
    A powerful provocation from artist Jae Rhim Lee; can we commit our bodies to a cleaner, greener Earth, even after death? Naturally — using a special burial suit seeded with pollution-gobbling mushrooms.
  • How to Live Before You Die
    At a Stanford University commencement speech, Steve Jobs, urges us to pursue our dreams and see the opportunities in life’s setbacks — including death itself.
  • Engaging With Grace
    Eliza Founder, Alexandra Drane delivers a passionate talk about the need to discuss end of life decisions, and how we can approach this topic with grace and dignity. At the heart of this short video is a powerful story of losing a family member to cancer.
  • Knowing How Doctors Die Can Change End of Life Discussions
    A Stanford University study shows almost 90 percent of doctors would forgo resuscitation and aggressive treatment if facing a terminal illness.  Knowing how much medical intervention at the end of life is most appropriate for a particular person requires wide-ranging conversations about death. This story is part of a reporting partnership with NPR, KPCC and Kaiser Health News (2015).
  • Atul Gawande on Healthcare Reform (AUS)
    Atul Gawande is a bestselling author and columnist for the New Yorker. He’s also surgeon and a public health researcher. In Australia recently for the Sydney Writers’ Festival, Dr. Gawande spoke to Norman Swan in front of a sell-out audience at the Sydney Opera House. Gawande’s most recent book, Being Mortal, examined how we face the last years of our lives and how medicine—and the aged care industry—often serve those of us at the end of our lives pretty poorly (Health Report, 2015).
  • A Better Death (AUS)
    How do you best care for someone at the end of life? Norman Swan interviews Bill Silvester,  an intensive care specialist. Bill has spent a lot of time thinking about this. He is an expert in advanced care planning – helping people die according to their wishes. And he has a few ideas on how we might do it better (Health Report 2016).
  • Finding the Lesson in Loss
    Young talks with Alicia Coppola about the loss of her first love- her father.  She shares finding the silver lining in loss.
  • What Doesn’t Kill You
    Tig was diagnosed with cancer. A week later she went on stage in Los Angeles and did a now-legendary set about her string of misfortunes.  Please listen from 3:04 – 15:35.
  • Breaking the Taboo Against Talking About Death
    Michael Hebb, founder of Let’s Have Dinner and Talk About Death, says how we want to die represents the most important and costly conversation Americans aren’t having.  He explains how this project gives people the tools to move through these conversations.
  • The Science of What Happens After Life and Before Death
    Resuscitation medicine is sometimes capable of reviving people after their heart has stopped beating and their brain has flat-lined; Dr. Sam Parnia, a critical care doctor and director of resuscitation research at the Stony Brook University School of Medicine, studies what these people experience in that period after their heart stops and before they’re resuscitated.  Please listen from the beginning until 15:30.
  • Bedside Manner: Conversations With Patients About Death
    Neal Conan talks with Dr. Pauline Chen and Dr. Beth Lown.  They speak candidly about the challenging decisions doctors struggle with regarding conversations about death — navigating the murky waters of when and how to convey the risks of procedures and prospects for life expectancy.
  • Our Cultural Difficulty With Death
    Stephen Jenkinson explains how our culture taught us to deny death and sadness. He thought-provokingly tells how to turn this around. Please listen from 8:30 – 25:00.


We have been quietly building this project in Australia for the past year, and we are thrilled that the Australian media and many of our leading specialist publications are also beginning to engage. Here is some of our recent coverage from Australia and overseas. We have also uploaded our media releases for you to access.

Your Stories

I not only survived, but thrived talking about Death Over Dinner. Here are a collection of thoughts from a range of people who have already have attended a Death Over Dinner.

Who's Coming to Dinner

We will help you arrange a dinner, prepare some specific materials for you and your guests to read/ listen to /watch in advance, and support you with hosting and conversation prompts. To guide this, who are you planning to invite?  In our experience, a small group of 3-8 guests provides for the most meaningful conversation.






Your Intention

Do you have a specific reason for bringing everyone together for this conversation?
From the options below, select the one most relevant to you.



Before the dinner we ask that all guests complete a little homework. We have curated a dynamic library of articles, videos, and audio content. Please select a short piece for you and your guests to watch, listen to, and read (choose one item from each category). If you would like to review the whole library, go to the main menu and select LIBRARY.


        Review and Edit






        You are now ready to ACTIVATE your invitation! Enter your email, then click SUBMIT.  You will receive a personalised email with a draft invitation to send to your guests; the read/watch/listen homework; conversation prompts to stimulate discussion and a quick overview on hosting this important conversation.




        We thank the following organisations for their partnership and ongoing contribution. These organisations support patient-centred End of Life Care; improved communication between patients, families, and healthcare professionals; and better access to quality palliative care and End of Life Care for all Australians.
        Lead Organisations
        Collaborative Academic Partners
        Sponsors & Donors