Michael Barbato entered palliative care in 1989 following 17 years as a General Physician in rural NSW. He retired from clinical practice in 2014 and was appointed Honorary Research Fellow at the Port Kembla Palliative Care unit where he and his colleagues resumed research into the experience of unconsciousness in dying patients; work he first commenced in 2000.

Michael has directed palliative care services in NSW and the ACT. He did locum work for the Northern Territory Palliative Care Service between 2012 and 2014 and has done voluntary work for Maryknoll, a Cambodian NGO that serves the underprivileged sick and dying in and around Phnom Penh. He has a long- standing interest in holistic care of the dying, death literacy and non-ordinary states of consciousness, including end-of-life dreams and visions.

He is the author of 3 books, Caring for the Living and the Dying, Reflections of a Setting Sun and Midwifing Death. For the past eight years he and his wife Ann have run a correspondence course for members of the community and healthcare workers on the art of midwifing death. Ann and Michael have four adult children and four grandchildren. His outside interest include care of the environment, walking, swimming, table tennis, mushroom forays, bonsais and growing vegetables.