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Issue #12: News Update


1. It's Time for an Update

2. Steering Committees Span the Country

3. Publicity Helping to Spread the Word

4. Outreach Associates Provide a National Network

5. A Web Site That is Geared to Help You

6. More Materials to Help You Out


So much has been happening, we decided to use this issue to update everyone on the campaign. We have compiled a "news update," detailing news on everything from what activities steering committees are doing and what our national outreach associates have been up to, to new resources that are available for your use. We will be sending out these news updates once a month until the broadcast, so if you have any news we should know about, drop us an email at


The videoconference in April has been a very effective kick off. Prior to the videoconference, we had approximately 70 steering committees - today the number is nearing 200. These are coalitions that have formed to discuss end-of-life issues in their own community, using the series as a starting point. We couldn't be more pleased. We have put up a contact list for steering committees on our web site. Check it out and make sure the information we have is correct. If there are any changes, please email Casey Scott at

We sense, however, that there are many more steering committees out there that we don't know about yet. Please make sure that someone in your coalition has been in touch with us to let us know what has been going on, but also to tell us how we can help. If we don't know about you, we can't send community members to you through our website.

Remember, the outreach team is here for you - to provide materials, guidance, or just a sounding board as you move forward in your efforts to improve the way we die in this country. Make sure to let us know you're out there by contacting Catherine Smith, Director of Outreach, at

We wanted to provide a sampling of what some steering committees have been up to. Read all about them and get inspired!
* The New Jersey Steering Committee is planning a program entitled "Angel's Eve." This program will design a template to be used by organizations to encourage community conversations about death and dying. Each local organization will be able to use the free template that will include suggested music, poetry readings, and local leaders to lead Advance Directive instructions and signing opportunities for the general public.
* The Meriden Connecticut Steering Committee has had wonderful support from their statewide public television network and is planning a follow-up broadcast to On Our Own Terms. The programming, planned to air a week or two later, will feature speakers who will highlight the issues identified by the steering committee as important in Connecticut.
* The Claremont/Los Angeles Steering Committee is organizing 300 block parties to sign Durable Powers of Attorneys in Claremont. The steering committee is also planning to do a community survey on attitudes about dying. Claremont is also developing an advocacy program for health care decision making for at-risk seniors who do not have health care directives or who are at risk because they have no one to speak for them. The program will be run by a new steering committee comprised of legal experts and bioethicists.
* The Sacramento Steering Committee has been working with their local library system to develop a four-part Thursday evening town hall series, open to the public, to be held in the library on September 14th and 28th and October 5th and 12th. They will show one program from the series each session, and discuss the issues it raises. There will be a panel on palliative care and family members will be invited to discuss their experiences living with dying. There will also be a reflection exercise


PBS is making an extraordinary commitment of approximately $1 million to advertise On Our Own Terms in major magazines, on news radio and on targeted Web sites. This high-visibility campaign will begin a month before the premiere with full-page, four-color ads in highly-targeted monthly magazines including Good Housekeeping, Health, Ladies Home Journal, Vanity Fair, Oprah's O, New Choices and the Utne Reader. Closer to the airdate, the campaign will cast a wider net to reach a broad range of viewers through publications like Newsweek, US News & World Report, and TV Guide, as well as Web sites like and In addition, PBS is providing public television stations with grants of additional funds to purchase local advertising on radio or television. If you are interested in using the On Our Own Terms print ad, it is available upon request. Please email your request to A JPEG file of the fully produced ad in two sizes, 2 col.x4.5" and 2 col.x7", will be emailed to you. The files are in Photoshop JPEG format at a resolution of 600 ppi.

Barnes & Noble has also joined the project as a promotional partner. They will be displaying an On Our Own Terms poster in 900 Barnes& Noble and B. Dalton stores along with a selection of books on end-of-life issues. On Our Own Terms will also have a major presence on the site.

As a complement to the national publicity campaign, this advertising and promotional effort will create a wave of consumer awareness for On Our Own Terms leading into the September premiere. Please coordinate local publicity efforts with the national campaign by contacting Rose Lynn Marra at 212-632-0207.


Our Outreach Associates are national membership organizations that have joined with us to spread the word about this series and the effort to improve end-of-life care throughout their membership. They are truly our partners in this effort - many outreach associates have encouraged their members to join local steering committees. Here's a sampling of what these outstanding organizations have been up to:
* The ALZHEIMER'S ASSOCIATION has created their own internal coalitions to discuss the series in 64 of their chapters across the country.
* SHEPHERDS CENTERS OF AMERICA have been in touch with Cokesbury Bookstores, a religious bookstore chain, to encourage them to do a display of books dealing with end-of-life issues around the airing of the broadcast.
* THE ADVOCATE HEALTHCARE COALITION targets its own 25,000 employees. Realizing that the issues affect staff on both professional and personal levels, the coalition is attempting to raise awareness of caregiver stress and/or grief in the workplace. By co-opting support within varying departments, the coalition plans clip-reel viewings/brown bag discussion groups for each shift. There will also be an insert of the On Our Own Terms brochure in the pay envelopes of all employees just prior to broadcast. De-briefing sessions are being planned post-broadcast.
* THE CHEST FOUNDATION OF THE AMERICAN COLLEGE OF CHEST PHYSICIANS has demonstrated the agency's highly pro-active approach in use of today's technology for promoting viewership and accessing end-of-life materials. The foundation's web page offers a number of interactive resources and links to other prominent professionals and organizations within the field.
* The AARP plans to have viewings of the series for their employees following the broadcast premiere. They will run the clip reel continuously in their headquarters to give people a taste of the content of the programs and then will show each program on a separate day during lunch, with discussion to follow. AARP is also planning to purchase copies of the series to provide to their field offices so that AARP members can come and borrow the tapes for their own viewing. The AARP will also feature an insert on end-of-life care in their magazine, Modern Maturity, along with extensive independent editorial coverage of the issue and the series.


The On Our Own Terms Companion Guide Web Site launches August 28th. This web site will feature a broad variety of resources on end-of-life care. The current outreach site will be incorporated into the new site as a Community Action section. Visitors to the companion guide site will find:
* Information about an online chat with Bill Moyers about On Our Own Terms and end-of-life care, to be held on Yahoo! the evening of September 11th, at 8pm ET. Users will be able to take part in the chat and submit questions to Bill Moyers by going to .
* An in-depth assortment of articles, written by experts in the field, on aspects of end-of-life care ranging from pain management to grief counseling for children. Featured authors include Kathleen Dowling-Singh, Cappy Capossela, Sheila Warnock, Dr. Joanne Lynn, Kenneth Doka, Jack Gordon, Marian Gray Secundy and many others.
* A diary of one dying patient's hospice experience. The diary is kept by Eric Hampton, an ALS patient and choreographer residing at Washington Home & Hospice in Washington, DC. The feature will also include diaries kept by his hospice nurse and a close friend about their experiences as caregivers.
* A debate, with audio clips, between Dr. Ira Byock of the Missoula Foundation and Dr. Timothy Quill of the University of Rochester School of Medicine over the pros and cons of physician-assisted suicide.
* A Healing Arts section, written by the art and music therapists from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, that will feature overviews of art and music therapy; activity plans for users to try out on their own; a selection of artwork and music clips; and patient's commentaries on how art and music therapy can help those struggling to come to terms with a terminal/serious illness or the death of a loved one.
* A guide to financial planning for end-of-life care written by Dr. Joanne Lynn of the RAND Center to Improve Care for the Dying.
* An extensive collection of audio and video clips from the On Our Own Terms program.


As part of the outreach effort, we have created many materials that will be useful to your steering committee. Please let us know if you need copies of our brochures that include dates and times of the broadcast as well as an area where you can print information about your local activities. You can contact us directly at or go to our web site to download copies of this brochure by logging on to:

A 26-page Discussion Guide also has been developed to accompany On Our Own Terms. The guide includes essays about such topics as palliative care and hospice; practical suggestions, for example, "What to Talk About" and How to Talk About It" with terminal patients; questions for thought and discussion; and resources. The guide is available as follows:
1) Individuals can write for single copies to: OOOT Guide PO Box 245 Little Falls, New Jersey 07424-0245
2) Groups can receive larger quantities (while supplies last) or templates, which can be easily photocopied. Groups requesting guides will be asked to provide a detailed letter on letterhead stationary describing their distribution plans. Send requests to or
3) The Discussion Guide can be accessed and downloaded from our web site, at

Also, please keep in mind that tapes of the series will be made available after the programs air through Films of the Humanities. You can order the tapes by calling 1-800-257-5126. Remember to give them the outreach code for your discount: use code DJE!

Thanks to everyone for all of your work to improve end-of-life care in this country. The movement is really gaining momentum and we are so proud of the work everyone is doing and so honored to be associated with you all! Great job!!