Dr. Jessica Nutik Zitter, MD, MPH, is a national advocate for transforming the way people die in America. She is Harvard and UCSF-trained to practice the unusual combination of Critical and Palliative Care medicine. She works as an Attending Physician at a public hospital in Oakland, California.
Dr. Zitter is the author of the newly released Extreme Measures: Finding a Better Path to the End of Life. She is a regular contributor to The New York Times and her articles have appeared in The Atlantic, Time Magazine, Journal of the American Medical Association, The Washington Post and many other publications.
Dr. Zitter’s work is featured in the Academy and Emmy-nominated short documentary “Extremis,” available on Netflix. Her media appearances include CBS Sunday Morning, NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross, The Doctors, The Leonard Lopate Show, and a Dr. Oz special, “The Death Show.”
A sought-after speaker, Dr. Zitter has presented at numerous venues, including The Commonwealth Club, the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, California Coalition for Compassionate Care, University of California at Berkeley’s Dean Lecture, and the Caring Coalition Conference.
Committed to mainstreaming conversations about death and dying, Dr. Zitter co-created a high school curriculum on Death Education that won top honors in the OpenIDEO End-of-Life Challenge. The idea was piloted at two Bay Area high schools in 2017 and is featured in a forthcoming documentary. In addition, Dr. Zitter co-founded and served as the first medical director of Vital Decisions, a telephone counseling service for patients with life-limiting illness.
Dr. Zitter lives in Oakland, California with her husband, three children, and two dogs.
Why do we need to change the way we treat the dying
Here Dr. Zitter speaks about the need for a better path to the end of life.
Learn more about Dr. Zitter’s work
Learn more about Dr. Zitter’s work to improve end-of-life care in America.
And There Are Many Organizations Out There to Help
Explore resources and tools for end of life planning.