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Issue #15: Sneak Peek -- Highlights of and Information About the Series


1. Counting Down to Broadcast

2. What to Expect Each Night

3. Wave of Coverage Hits Media Focusing on End of Life

4. PBS Provides Its Full Support

5. Community Activities During Premiere Week

6. On Our Own Terms Goes to Washington

7. New Web Site Launches in Conjunction with Premiere

8. Outreach Associates Continue Work in End-of-Life Care


It's hard to believe that after all these months of hard work, we are less than a month away from the premiere of On Our Own Terms. The series airs on four consecutive nights, September 10th -- 13th at 9 p.m. ET on most PBS stations. Make sure to check your local listings to find broadcast information for your location.

We wanted to give you a preview of the series and let you know about some exciting events taking place around the broadcast. From our nation's capitol to towns all across the United States, people are readying themselves for this groundbreaking television event.


The series will air over four consecutive nights. While the series follows individuals and their families throughout their dying experience, each of programs covers different topics. Here are some highlights:
  • September 10: Living With Dying -- Modern medical advances have allowed us to live longer lives, but they have also prolonged the process of dying. We face increasingly complicated choices as individuals and as a society regarding end-of-life issues. In this program, Bill Moyers interviews patients, their families, and their caregivers as they make decisions about the quality of their final days.
  • September 11: A Different Kind of Care -- Increasingly, patients with terminal illnesses are being treated by palliative care doctors, who shift their focus from prolonging life to helping patients live as comfortably as possible, responding to physical, emotional, social and psychological needs. Moyers reports on the work of several caregivers to provide comfort care to their dying patients.
  • September 12: A Death of One's Own -- We fear dying in pain, we fear that too much will be done to keep us alive, or we fear that not enough will be done. What are the options? Who makes the choices? When is the right moment for final decisions? Moyers documents three individuals and their families' struggles to make decisions regarding if and how they can control their deaths.
  • September 13: A Time to Change -- Moyers reports on an extraordinary public hospital program in Birmingham, Alabama that offers an inspiring model for what health care could be for the dying and their families. This episode also illustrates the many obstacles that a growing movement to improve care for the dying faces, such as coverage of costs for the uninsured.

    You can find information on each night of the series in the publicity section of the web site at: publicity/prog_ descriptions.html

    Additional program descriptions and articles that reflect on the ideas of the series can be found in our discussion guide at: onourownterms/out/community.html


    In conjunction with the premiere of On Our Own Terms, media across the country are planning extensive coverage of the series and end-of-life issues. With in-depth reports, major monthly magazines, news television and radio, local newspapers, and popular Web sites will be helping all of our efforts to make better end-of-life-care an important national conversation. Features stories about the series are appearing in current issues of Good Housekeeping, Modern Maturity, and Health magazines, with additional coverage appearing soon in Money and other major national publications. Be sure to reach out to local media in your community to promote your coalition's activities. But first, touch base with Rose Lynn Marra at Kelly & Salerno Communications, 212-632-0207, to coordinate your efforts with the national publicity campaign.

    Barnes & Noble is helping to raise awareness by promoting the series along with displays of books on dying and end-of-life care in 900 Barnes & Noble and B. Dalton stores. You can also find their suggested titles online at

    Yahoo will be giving us all an opportunity to ask Bill Moyers our questions on Monday, September 11th at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT when he is the guest for an hour-long discussion about the series and care for the dying. Log onto with any questions or comments you have.


    PBS has placed On Our Own Terms at the top of its promotional list, and it is pulling out all the stops to make sure that word about the premiere is spreading. For instance, PBS has placed full page color advertisements in many major publications leading up to the broadcast. These ads will appear in "Good Housekeeping," "Health," "Ladies Home Journal," "New Choices," Oprah's "O The Oprah Magazine," "Utne Reader," "Vanity Fair," "The New Yorker," "Newsweek," "U.S. News & World Report," "TV Guide" and others. The broadcast will also be advertised on major web sites such as and PBS has also made grants to local public television stations to do their own advertising around the series. One such example is Thirteen WNET in New York using their ad grant to purchase spots on the local cable news channel. PBS has also provided promotional spots featuring Bill Moyers to local public television stations. With all of this activity, the premiere is bound to be a huge success.

    You can build on this strong foundation by asking local media or organizations involved in your coalition to print the On Our Own Terms ad as a public service announcement. For example, the Triangle Hospice in Durham, North Carolina reports that they were a "sponsor" of the Durham Bulls ballgame on Friday, August 11 and inserted the PSA ad in the program that is sold at the ballgame. To request an ad slick, contact Diane Domondon at Kelly & Salerno Communications, 212-632-0188 or email diane@


    We've enjoyed profiling for you what communities across the country are doing in the way of outreach around this series. In this issue, we thought it would be fun to let you know what activities are taking place coinciding with the broadcast premiere. Read on and get some great ideas for things your community can do to celebrate the airing of the series.
  • JEFFERSON CITY, MO: A class at Lincoln University, located in Jefferson City, will watch the last night of the series together as part of their new Death and Dying course.
  • SPRINGFIELD, MA: Will air a one hour special on the Thursday following the broadcast about resources and options available locally to the dying and their families.
  • NASHVILLE, TN: From September 10-13th the steering committee, in conjunction with their local public television station, will have an online chat on end-of-life issues.
  • HONOLULU, HI: On Thursday, September 14th the Governor will publicly sign his own advance directive.
  • RICHMOND, VA: The steering committee in Richmond will end the series with a live call-in local show called "On Our Own Terms in Virginia." A panel of experts will host the show and trained professionals will be manning the phone bank.


    The outreach effort is truly spanning the country. We've told you what is happening in communities across the nation and now we want to tell you about a wonderful event planned right in our nation's capitol. On September 6th, Partnership for Caring, Americans for Better Care of the Dying, and Last Acts are sponsoring a reception on Capitol Hill for On Our Own Terms. Bill and Judith Moyers will be in attendance and all Members of Congress are invited. The goal of the event is to bring the need for improved end-of-life care before the legislators of our nation and to highlight On Our Own Terms as a major television event. We couldn't be more pleased to bring the messages of this series to such an influential audience.


    On August 28th, look for the launch of the full On Our Own Terms companion web site. Offering a broad variety of resources on end-of-life care, visitors to the site will find:
  • 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;
  • A guide to financial planning for end-of-life care;
  • A digital diary of a dying patient's hospice experience;
  • A debate between two leading doctors over the pros and cons of physician-assisted suicide;
  • Resources for art therapy for the dying and their loved ones;
  • Audio and video clips from the On Our Own Terms program ;
  • and much more.

    Check it out at: /onourownterms

    And remember, the web site will be up for three years, so be sure to use it as a resource.


    In the last newsletter, we asked what your plans were at the end of this outreach campaign. Would your steering committee or organization continue to meet to try to find ways to change the dying process within your own communities?

    Many of our outreach associates work on a daily basis to improve end-of-life care in this country. One of these partners is Last Acts. Last Acts is a national coalition to improve care and caring near the end of life. You can learn more about Last Acts by visiting them online at:

    Take a few moments to check out this wonderful resource!