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Health Quality Call - Nurturing End of Life Conversations
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When: Third Wednesday of every month
1-2pm eastern
Where: Plexus Institute Webex Event Center

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Health Quality Call
Wednesday, October 17, 2012 - 1-2pm ET
1-650-479-3207 Access code: 662 495 679
Caller code: Follow the above link to join webex first to see your unique caller code (unless joining audio only)
Nurturing End of Life Conversations
Guests: Doug Germann, Jeffrey Cohn and Tina Phipps

MP3 File


As individuals approach the last months, weeks or days of life, they may be faced with decisions that affect the quality of that precious time. What supports informed and compassionate decision making? What gets in the way?

This conversation began with a question from Elder Caring Attorney Doug Germann: "what can we do to make it easier to bring together someone's doctors and other caregivers with the person's family?" Jeff Cohn brings his experience as an oncologist helping patients and families make crucial decisions. Tina Phipps, Director of Urban Health Policy and Medical Ethics at Albert Einstein Medical Center, brings insights based on ethics consultation and research concerning why black families may resist accepting hospice care.

Doug Germann is an Elder Caring Attorney in South Bend, Indiana. Doug is all about conversation: in consulting with families and elders of the tribe, in facilitating Open Space Technology and other lightly-structured conversations in his community, in presenting CME to doctors and CLE to lawyers both as conversation-in-the-round, even in facilitating retreats: conversation is how we think together, how we invent our shared world. Doug has for the past two years been coordinator for North Central Indiana for the Indiana State Bar Association's Elder Law Month project, which engages senior nutrition center clients and other groups in learning about advance medical directives and then providing free documents and counseling. Doug has also been instrumental in bringing the video http://www.ConsidertheConversation.orgto groups in Northern Indiana. Doug is co-chair of the Education Committee of the Indiana Patient Preferences Coalition, a group working to bring POLST (Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment; see to Indiana, hopefully in 2013. Doug is finding that Hospital Ethics committees seem to want just as much as lawyers to create a culture of conversation around this topic.

Etienne (Tina) Phipps, Ph.D. is the Director of the Einstein Center for Urban Health Policy and Research of the Albert Einstein Healthcare Network. She also co-directs the ethics consultation service at the hospital. Dr. Phipps’ research has focused on cultural diversity, health disparities and quality of life, including at end of life. Dr. Phipps was Principal Investigator on a National Institute of Health funded study examining beliefs and attitudes related to end of life of African American and White patients and families dealing with advanced cancer. She was featured in the National Institute of Nursing Research’s film series on end of life addressing cultural considerations and decision making at end of life. In the early years of the end of life "movement,” Dr. Phipps was involved with the Robert Wood Johnson Last Act’s Campaign which developed national recommendations and a set of case studies for addressing diversity and end of life. She has been involved in hundreds of ethics consultations around end of life at Einstein over her 20 + years at Einstein.

Jeffrey Cohn MD, MHCM is President of Plexus Institute. Prior to coming to Plexus Jeff was the Chief Quality Officer for the Einstein Healthcare Network in Philadelphia for over 10 years. While at Einstein Jeff created and implemented Einstein’s palliative care program, and he retains a passion for improving the quality of care at the end of life. He graduated from Jefferson Medical College in 1980. He received his Internal Medicine training at Albert Einstein Medical Center from 1980-1983. He was a fellow in Hematology/Medical Oncology at Emory University from 1983-1985 and did an Oncology research fellowship at Johns Hopkins from 1985-1986. He received a Masters in Healthcare Management from the Harvard School of Public Health in 2005. He was the Principal Investigator at Einstein in the RWJF-sponsored Positive Deviance and Prevention of MRSA Transmission initiative. Jeff has been married for 35 years to Marcie, his high-school sweetheart, and has two children, Alison and Joshua.


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