The Pursuit of Life: The Promise and Challenge of Palliative

About the Author

Jack Levison and Bob Fine at KERA’s Think studio.

Robert Fine, MD, MACP, FAAHPM, HEC-C, is the Director of Clinical Ethics and Supportive Palliative Care at Baylor Scott and White Health. He serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Pain Management, teaches, and publishes widely in ethics and palliative care with a particular focus on medical futility.

This book digs into the reality–the lived human experience–behind the evidence and the science and the knowledge of palliative care. Reading these essays broadened my conception of my profession, connecting it to the work of poets, readers and teachers, philosophers and ethicists, and pastors. . . . When people ask me what I do, now I will refer them to this book, as rich and challenging and complex as the work itself.”

— from the foreword by Dr. Diane Meier, FACP, FAAHPM


“An illustrious group of scholars, doctors, nurses, chaplains, and ethicists joins together to offer robust—and indispensable—insight into health and healing. The Pursuit of Life is a vigorous and vital resource for anyone in the position of being a caregiver.”

— Siddhartha Mukherjee, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer

The Pursuit of Life offers a teaching not just on how to die well, but also on how to live well in the face of suffering and death. The insights offered by this distinguished cadre of writers shed light on health and healing alongside living and dying.”

— Balfour M. Mount, M.D., O.C. O.Q.

“A beautiful, diverse, wise book about the experience of working in palliative care and the personal, collegial, cultural, ethical, moral, practical, and clinical challenges that clinicians practicing in our field confront.”

— Susan Block, M.D., Harvard Medical School

“An impressive and immensely important collection which addresses the history, nuances, and status of palliative care while also posturing future directions.”

— Robert Newman, President and Director, National Humanities Center

“This magnificent volume, at the intersection of secular bioethics, spirituality, religion, and narrative medicine, will speak to all health professionals and laypersons who care about human flourishing through life’s end.”

— Mildred Z. Solomon, EdD, President, The Hastings Center


Jack and Bob were recently interview on KERA’s Think, a talk radio program hosted by Krys Boyd. Listen here.