Transitions and Celebrations: A Note from Executive Director Peg Sandeen

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You may recall, we celebrated recently the addition of long-time Oregon Death with Dignity Act expert George Eighmey to our board. George’s presence has strengthened our expertise in the areas of implementation and community-building, and we’re already feeling the positive impacts of his involvement.

Along with the celebration of additions to our board, though, we must celebrate those individuals who are moving off of our board. Three individuals who’ve made tremendous contributions to the Death with Dignity movement are leaving our board at this end-of-year transition time.

Betty Rollin, who at her last board meeting recounted 17 years of service to the National Center, is one of our organization’s longest serving board members. Betty came to the movement after her mother’s cancer diagnosis and death, writing about it in the book, Last Wish. Betty’s personal experience and passion for the movement have been the driving force behind countless hours of volunteer work on behalf of the National Center and multiple public presentations to raise awareness about this important issue.

Betty’s written three other books, and she was a correspondent for NBC News. Currently, she’s a contributor to the PBS show, Religion and Ethics News Weekly.

Alan Meisel’s a professor of law and bioethics at the University of Pittsburgh, and he’s the founder and current director of the University’s Center for Bioethics and Health Law. He’s recognized as a leading national authority on end-of-life decision making, and is widely published in the area.

I came to know Alan as a resource for clear and concise writing on the topic of Death with Dignity when I was first named an Executive Director of the organization eight years ago. Alan’s published works became my preferred go-to resource for easily understandable and succinct explanations for issues related to end-of-life care. Alan’s quiet contributions have impacted scores of scholars like me who are grappling with the complexities of decision making for terminally ill individuals.

Dan Gregorie is a physician, trained in Massachusetts, who was the chairperson of the Massachusetts Death with Dignity political campaign in 2012. Like Betty, Dan came to the movement because of personal experiences, and his role as a physician dedicated to patient choice and autonomy helped the Massachusetts campaign build critical partnerships with physicians.

Dan’s tenure with movement isn’t as long as Betty’s and Alan’s, but we anticipate many productive years of working together in the future.

On behalf of the board, volunteers and staff members of the National Center, I thank Betty, Alan, and Dan for their years of service to our organization and the Death with Dignity movement.

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