Volunteer Spotlight: Evan Pulvers

Compassion & Choices Executive Volunteer Dr. Evan Pulvers pioneered a medical aid-in-dying training program for resident and fellowship training physicians that continues to grow.
May 24, 2019

Oregon native and physician Evan Pulvers learned about medical aid in dying during childhood through the experience of a family friend. “I watched his decline through his disease,” she explains. “I saw his and his family’s relief to retain autonomy and control at the end of his life through the peace of mind the Oregon law provided.”

After attending medical school in New York City, where she co-founded a palliative care interest group, Evan entered the Contra Costa Family Medicine Residency program in California. During her first year, the state’s End of Life Option Act went into effect. Knowing the importance of this law from her prior experience, she wanted to get involved. So over the subsequent two years, she worked with her residency, the palliative care department, clinical mentors, program faculty and the medical executive committee — and was informed by the ethics committee — to come up with a protocol that trains licensed residents in medical aid in dying.  

“When I graduated from residency training, ours was a first-in-the-nation program allowing trainees to be the primary physician in managing medical aid in dying for our primary patients,” says Evan. “This is important because if we want patients to have access, we need to make sure they have clinicians who can provide this care, and that starts with allowing for this care in medical training.”

Now as a Compassion & Choices executive volunteer, Evan has partnered with Compassion & Choices staff to make the supervised teaching structure and protocol for cases of medical aid in dying available to other training programs. She also attends conferences in graduate medical education to continue establishing a way for physicians in training to receive support and guidance.

“It’s been rewarding to be part of a larger movement,” Evan says, “and I’m grateful for the opportunity!”

Compassion & Choices
Media Contacts

Sean Crowley
Media Relations Director
[email protected]

Patricia A. González-Portillo
National Latino Media Director
[email protected]
(323) 819 0310

Compassion & Choices
8156 S Wadsworth Blvd #E-162
Littleton, CO 80128

Mail contributions directly to:
Compassion & Choices Gift Processing Center
PO Box 485
Etna, NH 03750