Video Conference

Before I Die: A National Conversation

A live national videoconference was held Thursday, April 3, 1997.

In order to broaden the scope of the dialogue sparked by the television special, BEFORE I DIE: MEDICAL CARE AND PERSONAL CHOICES, Thirteen/WNET and the program's funder, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, have launched an extensive campaign reaching out to people across the nation and involving them in the debate on a local level. Ultimately, the effort will help national service organizations and their affiliates engage members in informational and educational forums on death and dying.

On Thursday, April 3, 1997, this outreach campaign made its debut with an interactive, national videoconference, BEFORE I DIE: A NATIONAL CONVERSATION, which was produced by Thirteen/WNET in New York. Public television stations and service organizations across the country hosted studio audiences comprising local healthcare providers, clergy, faculty members and special interest group representatives. Throughout the 90-minute event, they participated in a provocative public discussion on end-of-life issues and learn how to use the broadcast video and accompanying viewers' guides in their community education programs. Many stations also hosted follow-up sessions for their local audiences to explore how they can share resources and work collaboratively to inform the public about the complex ethical, medical, political, and legal issues raised in the program.

The videoconference was much like a national town meeting/live call-in program. Moderated by Emmy Award winner Dr. Bruce Dan, the videoconference drew on a diverse panel to discuss the most salient end-of-life issues and those that will be raised in the national television broadcast. The program was infused with compelling video clips, including highlights from the broadcast.

Find out about outreach efforts and resources available in your area.

Videoconference Panelists

Bruce Dan, Videoconference Moderator
Bruce B. Dan, MD is a specialist in internal medicine and medical communications. He is the Director of Medical Affairs at the Center for Bio-Medical Communication and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Preventative Medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He is the former Senior Editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association and Director of the AMA's Department of Scientific and Clinical Affairs. He has been the medical correspondent for the award-winning PBS science series, Newton's Apple for the last 10 years, and can be seen on Health Week, the new PBS health program beginning this spring. Dr. Dan was Executive Editor and Executive Vice President for Medical News Network, the first daily, interactive television programming for physicians. He earned his bachelor's degree from the MIT in Aeronautics and Astronautics, and received his medical degree from Vanderbilt University Medical School; later completing postdoctoral fellowships in infectious diseases and in computerized medicine.

Paul R. Brenner, MA
Mr. Brenner serves as Executive Director at the Jacob Perlow Hospice, Beth Israel Medical Center, New York, NY and has been involved in the hospice movement since 1978. He serves on the AIDS Resource Committee, National Hospice Organization, and as Chair of the NY State Hospice Association.

Nancy N. Dubler, L.L.B.
Ms. Dubler is the Director of the Division of Bioethics at Montefiore Medical Center and Professor of Bioethics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She resides in New York City and has been at Montefiore Medical Center since 1975, where she founded the Law and Ethics Consultation Service in 1978. She is the author of numerous books including Ethics on Call: Taking Charge of Life and Death Choices in Today's Health Care System.

Harold P. Freeman, M.D.
Dr. Freeman serves as the Director of the Department of Surgery at Harlem Hospital Center in New York City, and as Professor of Clinical Surgery at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. In addition to his appointments as a Diplomate of the American Board of Surgery and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, Dr. Freeman was named Chairman of the President's Cancer Panel by President Clinton. Dr. Freeman is the chief architect of the American Cancer Society's initiative on cancer in the poor and is a leading authority on the interrelationships between race, poverty, and cancer.

Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr.
Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. is the fifth Senior Minister of The Riverside Church, and the first African-American to serve in this position at one of the largest multicultural congregations in the nation. Forbes has served many roles in the community, such as pastor, educator, administrator, community activist and interfaith leader. In national and international circles, Dr. Forbes is known as the "preacher's preacher" because of his extensive preaching career and his charismatic style. He has won numerous awards and holds 10 honorary degrees.

Pat Murphy, PhD, CS, FAAN
Dr. Murphy is a clinical ethicist at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey. She is the chair of the American Nurses Association's task force on the nurses' role in patients' end-of-life decisions and a member of the New Jersey Bioethics Commission, which developed the New Jersey Advance Directive legislation. She is a member of the American Nurses Association's Board of Directors, the immediate past president of the New Jersey State Nurses Association and a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing. She is also a certified grief therapist and has a private practice in Morristown, New Jersey.

Sherwin Nuland, MD
Dr. Nuland is Clinical Professor of Surgery at the Yale School of Medicine and honorary attending surgeon at the Yale-New Haven Hospital, where he practiced for thirty years before leaving clinical work to devote himself full-time to medical history, medical ethics, and writing. His best-selling book How We Die won the National Book Award in 1994 and has been published in 17 languages.

Diann Rohde
Ms. Rohde is the Vice President of Education for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) located in New York, NY. She has taught over 100 different workshops, including "Train the Trainer" courses and frequently does management and leadership development training with other organizations. Ms. Rohde has served on committees for the non-profit section of the American Society of Training and Development, the Association of Multi-Image and Meeting Planners International.

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