The hospice and palliative medicine community is saddened by the death of Dr. J. Andrew Billings, who served as president of AAHPM in 1991 and was a corecipient of the first AAHPM Project on Death in America (PDIA) Palliative Medicine National Leadership Award in 2006 with his wife and collaborator, Dr. Susan Block.
Dr. Billings began practicing medicine as a primary care physician in the 1970s and most recently served as codirector of the Harvard Medical School Center for Palliative Care in Boston. He has long been considered a pioneer in exploring psychosocial aspects of medicine and teaching the clinical interview, specifically end-of-life care and communication issues. Dr. Billings was one of several doctors profiled by the New York Times in 2013 for the article “How Doctors Die,” in which he and Dr. Block were featured and photographed together in their home. Even during difficult times, they remained committed to teaching others—through their professional experience and personal stories—about what is important to those living with serious illness.