generic speaker image
Katherine  Kortes-Miller - Lakehead University . Thunder Bay , ON, CA

Katherine Kortes-Miller

Assistant Professor, School of Social Work and Palliative Care Division Lead, Centre for Education and Research on Aging and Health (CERAH) | Lakehead University

Thunder Bay , ON, CANADA

An unconventional death educator and researcher with a passion for palliative care and improving end of life care for all






Talking About Death Won’t Kill You | Kathy Kortes-Miller | TEDxKanata




Dr. Kathy Kortes-Miller is an assistant professor at the School of Social Work and the Palliative Care Division Lead at the Centre for Education and Research On Aging and Health (CERAH) at Lakehead University. Her research interests include enhancing palliative and end-of-life care for all Canadians, interprofessional education, high fidelity simulation and mentorship. She recently completed a two year research fellowship with the Canadian Frailty Network (CFN) and worked with Pallium Canada co-leading their Compassionate Communities initiative. Kathy is also the past chair of the board of directors for Hospice Northwest.

Industry Expertise (4)



Health Care - Providers

Program Development

Areas of Expertise (8)


Palliative Care

End-Of-Life Care

Interprofessional Education and Care


High Fidelity Simulation

Qualitative Research

Social Work

Accomplishments (4)

Technology Evaluation in the Elderly Network Research Fellowship - $100,000

2014 - 2016

Thunder Bay Citizenship Spirit Award (personal)


SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship - $40,000

2012 - 2014

Faculty Research Award - $ 8640

2012 - 2013

Education (2)

Lakehead University: PhD, Education 2015

Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Studies Specialization in the Social, Cultural & Political Contexts of Education Dissertation: Death Education: Simulating the End of Life to Beginning Healthcare Providers. Supervisor: Dr. Lisa Korteweg

Lakehead University: BSW (Hons.), Social Work 1998

ON Clinical Placement: Thunder Bay Sexual Assault/ Sexual Abuse Counselling and Crisis Centre *Graduated with First Class Standing

Affiliations (1)

  • Past Chair, Board of Directors, Hospice Northwest

Media Appearances (2)

Podcast - Talking about death won't kill you!

Death Goes Digital  online


Podcast by Peter Billingham

view more

Death Education

The Current CBC  radio

"I think it's time that we take death out of the closet," says Kathy Kortes-Miller, an assistant professor at Lakehead University's School of Social Work.

view more

Research Grants (6)

Speaking Up and Speaking Out: A toolkit for healthcare professionals caring for older LGBT adults facing the end of their lives

Retired Teachers of Ontario $24,750

2017 Co-Principle Investigator

Valuing the perspectives of LGBT older adults in Canada: An evidence based approach to developing inclusive research and policy agendas

SSHRC Insight Development Grant $63,687

2016 - 2019 Co-Principle Investigator

Dying alone: perspectives on the final stage of life from LGBT elders living in Ontario

Law Society of Ontario $15,000

2016 Co-Principle Investigator

Improving Public Engagement in Advance Care Planning through peer- facilitated group activities

Canadian Frailty Network $100,000

2016 Co-Investigator

Interdisciplinary End-of- Life Care Education Using High Fidelity Simulation in Long Term Care.

Technology Evaluation in the Elderly Network (TVN) 

2014 - 2016 Research Fellow

Good medicine: Supporting elderly individuals at home in Northwestern Ontario

Thunder Bay Community 

2008 - 2013 Co-Investigator

Articles (4)

Dying with Carolyn: Using simulation to improve communication skills of unregulated care providers working in Long-Term Care

Journal of Applied Gerontology

2016 This article examines the development, implementation, and evaluation of a pilot project utilizing high-fidelity simulation (HFS) to improve frontline staff members' confidence and skills to communicate about death and dying in long-term care homes.

view more

Developing and implementing peer-led intervention to support staff in long-term care homes manage grief


2016 Front-line staff in long-term care (LTC) homes often form strong emotional bonds with residents. When residents die, staffs' grief often goes unattended, and may result in disenfranchised grief...

view more

OA6 Talking about death won't kill you; introducing die-alogues

BMJ Supportive and Palliative Care

2015 Death holds a significant place in societies despite not being a direct or first-hand experience for many. Fewer people now die in their homes surrounded by family, and we have distanced ourselves from death by geography and the medicalisation of death...

view more

Development of a palliative care education program in rural long-term care facilities

Journal of Palliative Care

2007 In North America, people 85 years and older are the fastest growing age cohort and long-term care homes are increasingly becoming the place of end-of-life care. This is especially true in rural communities where services are lacking...

view more