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Issue #7: Leadership Guide: Community Assessment, Local Resource Directory, and Community Action Campaign for Advance Directives


1. Videoconference a Rousing Success

2. Start Your Community Outreach

3. Completing a Community Assessment

4. Developing a Local Resource Directory

5. Creating a Community Action Campaign for Advance Directives

6. Creating a Community Action Campaign for Advance Directives

7. Use Your Leadership Guide

8. A Model Steering Committee


The Leadership Training Videoconference on April 18th successfully kicked-off the organizing efforts of the local steering committees. With over 400 downlink sites across the country, nearly 12,000 people were able to watch the videoconference and participated in the discussions that followed. With so many new members recruited, local steering committees are now off and running!


There are some easy steps you can take now that you have organized your steering committee. Many people are motivated to join this movement through a personal experience. Encourage your committee members to share their stories. This can build a strong relationship among the participants and can allow members to better understand one another. Appoint one person to share your committee's progress by posting monthly updates on the On Our Own Terms discussion boards on the web. This is a great place to learn what one another is doing and to get support for your own efforts but it will only work if everyone uses it. onourownterms/home/states.html


Before you plan your local activities, it is important to know what your community's needs are. A community assessment can help you take a close look at the place you call home and help you determine how you and your neighbors experience dying in your community. You can discover what resources your town already offers, identify any gaps in service, and rally others to help fill those gaps. And, a community assessment can help your steering committee prioritize its activities.

The On Our Own Terms Leadership Guide provides a list of methods that can be utilized to complete a community assessment, as well as topics that should be considered while developing one. Read it online at: onourownterms/out/leader_guide/taking2.html

To see examples of community assessments and get a model structure, visit these websites which were mentioned during the videoconference:

Six months is not a lot of time to organize and accomplish multiple activities, so there will be times when some of your steering committee is working on one activity, while another part is working on a different activity. Developing a planning calendar right off the bat will help to make sure no wires get crossed. And remember, you can always count on the outreach team for help!


One of the greatest challenges faced by seriously or terminally ill patients and their families is finding information on the services and care options available within the community. Compiling information on end-of-life services available in your community is a natural follow-up to the work done to complete a community assessment. This directory can be made available at community centers or public libraries, in hospitals and medical offices, in places of worship and in government offices to name a few. You can also use the web templates that we will be creating to put the local resources online, and link them back to our national site. Look to the Leadership Guide for information on how to put together a local resource directory as well as ideas for disseminating one. Read it online at: onourownterms/out/leader_guide/taking4_1.html


Did you know that only 15-25% of Americans have completed an advance directive? Advance directives are documents that encourage people to think and talk about the care they want at the end of life. These directives can take many forms, from living wills to healthcare proxies (such as Do Not Resuscitate orders), or powers of attorney. What is important is that people consider how they want to experience their end-of-life and that they make and communicate decisions now that will spare their loved ones the angst of trying to making these decisions for them. A goal of your outreach effort could be to educate your community on advance directives and organize events where public figures sign their own advance directives. Look to the Leadership Guide for suggestions on how to organize such events. Read about it online at: onourownterms/out/leader_guide/taking4_4.html


Outlines for these and other activities are included in the leadership guide, which is completely downloadable and available online. It has all the tools you need to mobilize an outreach effort in your community in an easy to read HTML or PDF format. Check it out at: onourownterms/out/community_guide.html


Please remember to assign a member of your steering committee to post your activities on the discussion boards! We would love to highlight your steering committee in an upcoming issue.

This month's model steering committee is based in Reno, Nevada. This steering committee is making excellent use of other end-of-life activities taking place in their area. We encourage all of the steering committees to "piggy-back" by determining what other events will be taking place in your community and becoming involved with those events to help raise awareness about end-of-life issues. Read about the events the Reno steering committee has identified at: Forum30/HTML/000003.html