Cal Cates, LMT
Executive Director | Healwell
Keynote | Tuesday, April 16 | 1 – 2 p.m. ET

Cal Cates is an award-winning writer, published researcher, international speaker, and the founder and Executive Director of Healwell, a non-profit founded in 2009, whose mission is to improve quality of life for people affected by acute, chronic, and serious illness.

They have been a co-presenter in NHPCO’s Project ECHO program sharing LGBTQIA+ issues in end-of-life care. They are currently the instructor of a year-long course they created in 2020 called “A Year to Live” that involves synchronous and asynchronous online facilitation of monthly topics and explorations that invite attendees to explore key issues that may prevent them from preparing for and acknowledging the inevitability of their own deaths. They have led discussions and workshops with the metastatic cancer community through Philadelphia-based cancer support organization Unite for HER since 2012 and they teach an immersive 24-hour course they created called “Opening to the Mystery: Presence in Caregiving at the End of Life.” They won a Maggie Award in 2018 for Best Feature Article in a publication with circulation greater than 50,000 for their article “Death, Dying and the Breakability of Us All” in Massage and Bodywork magazine.

They have trained thousands of healthcare providers in skills of resiliency, self-awareness, communication, and forgiveness. They have dedicated their career to advocacy in healthcare, massage therapy as social justice, and to revolutionizing education for healthcare providers. Cal has trained with Roshi Joan Halifax, Ram Dass, Frank Ostaseski, and other leaders in the field of contemplative care and has created curriculum and written for trade journals on topics ranging from end-of-life care to interdisciplinary education to racism and the endless ways that humans make it hard to live in successful, equitable harmony.

Snuggling Up to Your Mortality for Clinical Effect 

In this session, Cal will lead participants through an experiential journey that will invite them to consider the role of their comfort (or discomfort) with their own mortality in clinical care and communication with patients at the end of life. Cal’s humor, curiosity, and 20 years of experience in this space will make participants wonder, laugh, and feel just a little bit usefully unsettled. Attendees will come away feeling more alive.