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Wednesday, May 30, 2012
2:00 pm EDT
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GIH Quality Audioconference Series


  • Don Berwick, Former Administrator, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and Former President and CEO, Institute for Healthcare Improvement
  • Ellen Goodman, Founder, The Conversation Project
  • Mark Smith, President, California HealthCare Foundation
  • Ann Monroe, President, Community Health Foundation of Western and Central New York


With the rapidly growing aging population and reality of terminal illnesses in every age group, there is a real need for the health system to better ensure that patients can express their care preferences. All too often, there is a general reluctance to engage in end-of-life planning, which leaves patients, and their families and providers, unprepared for critical decisions thrust upon them. The Affordable Care Act has laid a solid foundation for change by focusing on patient-centered care and making end-of-life services an important piece in providing high-quality and cost-effective care. This opens new opportunities for philanthropy to build on programs and to refocus and reinvest in improving end-of-life planning and services.

In this call former Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Don Berwick and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Ellen Goodman discussed The Conversation Project, a new campaign designed to help ensure that end-of-life wishes are expressed and respected. The project’s goal is a wholesale cultural change that lifts the taboo on talking about how we want to live, and the care we want and do not want. While others encourage physicians to have end-of-life conversations with patients, The Conversation Project is starting at the kitchen table, before a crisis. Partnering with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and the W2 Group, the project aims to dramatically move the needle on this issue with a traditional and social media campaign, utilizing everything from YouTube and a Facebook campaign to a downloadable Conversation Starter Kit.

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