Saturday, 20 April 2013

First Death Cafe in San Francisco a rousing success!

The first Death Cafe in San Francisco, CA, was held on April 8, 2013. Shelley Adler, PhD, a medical anthropologist at the University of California, San Francisco, invited 20 students to enjoy coffee and Bundt cakes--and talk about dying and death in the United States.

The Cafe participants--medical students, nurses, and residents--were part of a new class called "Integrative Approaches to End-of-Life Care." After Dr. Adler's brief history of death cafes and an introduction to their purpose, people gathered in small groups and spent 90 minutes talking about what they wished was different about the way death is dealt with in the U.S. and how the awareness of death affected how they lived their lives.

It might be surprising, but even though everyone at the UCSF Death Cafe was a health professional (or studying to be one), no one had previously had any more opportunities to share thoughts and feelings about dying and death than anyone else in our society.

Dr. Adler, who is Education Director at the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine and the Zen Hospice Project, is looking forward to hosting the next Death Cafe--and to working with students to make sure that death is discussed in healthcare settings, alongside the more conventional topics of health and wellness.


  1. After reading this article, some questions:
    a. Is it open to the public? Since it mentioned students
    b. If it's open to the public, when/where is the next one?

    Thank you.

    1. Thanks for your interest.
      a. The first San Francisco Death Cafe was part of an end-of-life course I teach at UCSF, so it was attended by students.
      b. The next one I facilitate will be hosted by Zen Hospice Project on October 23, 2013. For more info and to RSVP -->

    2. Thank you for that information

  2. I'd be interested in getting involved with the next Death Cafe in San Francisco. I could help facilitate the discussion since I am a licensed psychologist. Best wishes, Shelley Diamond, Ph.D.

  3. I'd also be interested in attending.


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