The latest from Compassion & Choices

Striving for End-of-Life Autonomy, Even in Uncertain Times

October Note From the CEO

As we move into the winter months, concerns over the state of the country are dominating my thoughts, as I’m sure they are yours. The surges in coronavirus cases across the country in particular are cause for great concern, particularly among older adults, those with serious or terminal illnesses, and people from underserved communities. My thoughts are with you during this particularly stressful and vulnerable time. 

I also am closely watching the hearings and impending nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court and the potential influence she will have on end-of-life care, particularly medical aid in dying. 

Just as importantly, the impending elections are at the forefront of my mind. Beyond the presidential election, we are following the states closely to see how election results may impact our work to authorize medical aid in dying in more states and improve the law in those states where it exists. I’m hopeful we will come away from the election with an even stronger base of lawmakers who will respond to their constituents’ preferences and cast their support for the compassionate option of medical aid in dying. Watch for an election report analysis from us in the weeks. 

Despite the uncertainty of those elections, we are quite busy! As a top priority, we are actively growing our supporter base within and across states — recruiting, training and mobilizing voices of supporters to call, email and meet with lawmakers to educate them about medical aid in dying. We also are focusing on building new partnerships and engaging with medical professionals, healthcare systems and diverse leadership. Our article Making Meaningful Inroads in Healthcare and Communities offers a vivid picture of some of this work. Finally, we are pressing for changes in how legislatures will do business. It is likely that COVID-19 and the risks associated with acquiring the virus will remain through the new year, we are urging lawmakers to use digital technology when possible to ensure the safety of all, particularly those who are medically vulnerable. We look forward to an active and productive legislative session in the new year. 

Finally, I hope you received our “save the date” note about our upcoming event, An Evening of Compassion: Tributes, Stories and Song. We will be debuting our song, This is Your Show, hear an exclusive jazz performance by composer Julius Rodriguez, and listen to stirring and personal reflections — all hosted by Dr. Jeff Gardere, “America’s Psychologist.” 

These are certainly trying times. Your support and generosity is what keeps me optimistic that despite the turbulence, we are seeing progress in advancing end-of-life autonomy. I hope you and your loved ones are safe and well. 



Kim Callinan


P.S.:  I’m pleased to tell you that I was awarded one of the top 100 healthcare leaders and Compassion & Choices one of the top 50 healthcare organizations this year, according to the International Forum on Advancements in Healthcare.