The mission of The Minerva Center for the Interdiciplinary Studies of the End-of-Life is to enhance knowledge and critical reflection concerning the end of life, and to identify opportunities towards humanizing this final stage of life. The Center offers an innovative perspective on end-of-life by viewing dying not only as a transitional stage leading to death, but also as a distinctly experienced phase in the life-course. This stage is currently characterized by controversies concerning technological advances, cultural perspectives, and potential and current practices.
With the increasing life expectancy, rising rates of chronic diseases in general and dementia in particular, and improved life-sustaining medical technologies, the terminal decline leading to death is often lengthy and characterized by a severe deterioration in function and quality of life. In recent years, various legal, technological and service mechanisms have been put in place worldwide with the hope of decreasing futile suffering for the dying person and his/her formal and informal caregivers. Yet, despite these efforts, most death processes have not significantly improved. Therefore, there is a need for study of the dying process, the bioethical, legal and religious approaches to dying, the perceptions of a “good death”, and potential mechanisms for narrowing the gap between the usual death and the good one.
The Minerva Center for the Interdiciplinary Studies of the End-of-Life is unique in creating an interdisciplinary framework that brings together scholars from diverse fields such as Public Health, Medicine, Anthropology, Psychology, and Law. The Principal Investigators are all from Tel Aviv University, and each of them is an expert on death or end of life in his or her own field.