The Global Institute of Psychosocial, Palliative and End-of-Life Care (GIPPEC) is devoted to promoting and developing interdisciplinary research that addresses the medical, psychological, social, legal, ethical, cultural and religious problems related to psychosocial and palliative care of individuals with advanced and terminal disease.

Our vision is to be an interdisciplinary, collaborative center for research and education focused on the psychological, physical and social consequences of life threatening and advanced disease. We have established and will continue to maintain excellence in research, education and knowledge mobilization.

The Strategic Aims of GIPPEC include:

  • Improve Access to Humanistic Care

In collaboration with the Institute of Cancer Policy, King’s College London, GIPPEC is co-leadijng a Lancet Oncology Commission on the Humanitarian Crisis of Cancer. This Commission has engaged a diverse group, of clinicians, scholars and policy makers to identify and provide solutions for the factors that contribute to the imbalance between the biomedical and human aspects of cancer care, on a global scale and at all stages of the disease. The aim of the Commission is to shed light on the power and political economy, value systems, commercial and other drivers of resource allocation in cancer, to move toward a more balanced care experience for patients and families around the world.

  • Guide Policy and Program Development

Dr. Madeline Li developed and leads, CARED (Clinical Access, Responsibility, and Ethics in the Desire for Death), an international academic think tank to generate and disseminate knowledge and to advance research, health policy, education and clinical practice with regard to assisted dying and related practices in diverse settings, with consideration on; the cultural and anthropological context of legislation, policy and practice;  the legal, ethical and clinical tensions;  the psychological dimensions of the desire for death; and the sociological origins and consequences of the assisted dying movement. 

  • Strengthen Education Partnerships Nationally and Internationally

Led by Dr. Kayla Wolofsky, GIPPEC is developing education with PallCHASE (Palliative Care in Humanitarian Aid Situations and Emergencies) to enhance access to educational resources for trainees and healthcare providers.

  • Strategize Opportunities to Improve Global Access to Palliative Care

Dr. Jenny Lau is working to understand and address global opioid use and misuse by assessing the practices, knowledge and attitudes in opioid prescribing internationally and determine how to educate health care professionals to prevent or identify opioid related harms and people at risk.

  • Harness Global Partnerships to Advance Knowledge Translations of Interventions in Supportive Care

GIPPEC has formed a network of international clinicians in CALM is a brief, semi-structured, evidence-based intervention designed to help people with advanced and metastatic cancer, and their close loved ones, manage the practical and profound problems associated with advanced disease. Developed by Gary Rodin MD and Sarah Hales MD PhD, at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre CALM, focuses on four content domains that address the practical and profound issues commonly faced by individuals with advanced and metastatic cancer. 

Three Pillars

The educational aims of GIPPEC are to enhance research skills relevant to palliative and end-of-life care in both faculty and trainees by:

  • Encouraging and supporting graduate research training in palliative and end-of life care in participating departments Visiting faculty and visiting students exchange with participating international units.
  • Presentations and workshops on interdisciplinary research projects by core and associate faculty and trainees and by visiting faculty and trainees.
  • Development and evaluation of strategies to educate the public, health professionals and trainees in palliative and end-of-life care in developing and developed countries to eliminate barriers to access of palliative and end-of-life care for those with advanced and terminal disease.
  • International symposia on critical topics in research in palliative and end-of-life care.

GIPPEC creates a convergence of academic faculty from multiple departments and divisions and fosters the emergence of collaborative research teams at the University of Toronto and with national and international partners. It facilitates the application and integration of methods from the social sciences, humanities and from the health sciences to problems related to palliative and end-of-life care and to the conduct of multicentre and interdisciplinary research. Collaborative research includes, but is not necessarily limited to, the development and evaluation of:

  • Culturally sensitive and rigorous interdisciplinary research methods.
  • Interventions to relieve suffering in patients and families with advanced and terminal disease and in bereavement.
  • Health policy and health systems issues related to the availability of palliative and end-of-life care and its integration into the management of advanced and terminal disease in diverse settings and in developed and developing countries.
  • Education of the public, of health professionals and of trainees in palliative and end-of-life care in developing and developed countries.
  • Legal, ethical, religious and cultural issues related to aggressive medical care in individuals with advanced disease and to assisted dying.
  • Global strategies to support the availability of palliative care, including narcotic and other analgesic medication for optimal pain and symptom control, in the context of advanced and terminal disease.

The critical mass of investigators locally, nationally and internationally allows for the generation of thoughtful and evidence-based contributions to policy, practice and education of health professionals and the general public. Education of the public will be linked to the faculty of GIPPEC and to the visiting scholars invited to participate in meetings organized for the general public and organizations and groups with a special interest in palliative and end-of-life care.

An important outcome for GIPPEC is the measurable influence of research emanating from this Institute on policy and on the availability and quality of palliative and end-of-life care locally, national and internationally. This will occur as a result of the engagement of scholars and international partners from the Institute with key stakeholders in palliative and end-of-life care locally, nationally and internationally, including governmental and other decision-making health care bodies, professional organizations, public policy leaders and judicial bodies.

The knowledge generated from GIPPEC allows scholarship and evidence to enter the public debate and decision-making in health care and by legislative bodies in a domain that has often been dominated by rhetoric and strongly held personal opinion.


Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation


African Palliative Care Association
University of Ferrara
Kensington Hospice


University of Toronto
University Health Network
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