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What Happens When We Die

What Happens When We Die? Surviving Cardiac Arrest

Monday, November 18, 2019, 7:00 PM - 8:45 PM

The New York Academy of Sciences, 7 World Trade Center, 250 Greenwich St Fl 40, New York

What does it mean to die?  From the earliest days of history, death has been marked by the moment a person’s heart stops beating, breathing ceases, and brain function shuts down — a seemingly irreversible moment that leads to permanent cessation of life processes.  However, the advent of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in 1960 was revolutionary, demonstrating that some patients who would otherwise remain dead could be returned to life.  What we once called death — an end point — was now called cardiac arrest, and became a starting point.


Death is one of the few universal experiences guaranteed to every human who has ever lived. Yet the end of life is also one of life’s great mysteries, and research that seeks to illuminate the complex processes of death in the brain, body, mind and consciousness has wide-reaching ethical, social, and philosophical implications.


Moderated by Dr. Sam Parnia, MD, PhD (Director of Critical Care & Resuscitation Research at the NYU School of Medicine), this evening panel discussion will bring together leading physicians and researchers, including internationally recognized researcher in emergency cardiac care, Dr. Tom Aufderheide, MD, MS, FACEP, FACC, FAHA (Medical College of Wisconsin); distinguished happiness research psychologist, Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky, PhD (University of California, Riverside); world expert in neurological intensive care Dr. Stephan Mayer, MD, FCCM (Wayne State School of Medicine); and Dr. Sarah Perman, MD (University of Colorado School of Medicine), a leader in resuscitation science and post-cardiac arrest care.

The panel will explore the current scientific discoveries regarding our understanding of death and cardiac arrest. In particular, they will review the impact of recent discoveries related to brain protection strategies, reversing cardiac arrest and death, consciousness, as well as the unraveling of the human experience of cardiac arrest, and transformational experiences of death, with wide ranging implications for everyone in society.

This evening event will follow the half-day program, What Happens When We Die: Insights from Resuscitation Science, also convening at the New York Academy of Sciences on November 18, 2019.  For more information and registration for the half-day program, please visit:




Sam Parnia, MD, PhD
Sam Parnia, MD, PhD

NYU School of Medicine


Tom P. Aufderheide, MD, MS, FACEP, FACC, FAHA
Tom P. Aufderheide, MD, MS, FACEP, FACC, FAHA

Medical College of Wisconsin

Sonja Lyubomirsky, PhD
Sonja Lyubomirsky, PhD

University of California, Riverside

Stephan Mayer, MD, FCCM
Stephan Mayer, MD, FCCM

Wayne State School of Medicine

Sarah Perman, MD
Sarah Perman, MD

University of Colorado, Denver