Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cruzan 20 Years Later: Are We Better Off?

Terry Rosell
Rosemary Flanigan Chair

On November 12-13, over one hundred of us from places across the nation gathered in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. We commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Nancy Beth Cruzan case and implementation of the Patient Self-Determination Act. We asked how health care has changed at the end of life two decades after Cruzan and the PSDA.

Are we any better off? It depends who you ask.

We asked more than a dozen of the brightest and best experts on these matters, and their presentations were, I think, outstanding. Among those who spoke was Chris Cruzan White, Nancy'a sister. Chris’s remarks, along with a video honoring her late parents, Joe and Joyce Cruzan, were compelling as always.

In attendance at the conference were several seminarians, most of them serving African American churches in a pastoral capacity. They attended the conference as a requisite activity of a course in Christian Ethics at Central Baptist Seminary. I conducted a debriefing session with this group following the official adjournment. Their response?

“Why have we not heard these things before, as this information is so important to the African American community?” “If we hadn’t happened to come (on account of the seminary course), you all would have just had another conversation among yourselves. Where are the people of color besides us?” “How do we go about taking what we’ve learned here and spread awareness?”
One pastor has met already with some other clergy colleagues in Topeka, and he aims to convene a planning task force with the possibility of hosting an APPEAL training event http://divinity.duke.edu/initiatives-centers/iceol/resources/appeal#details or something like it, to address palliative and end of life care of African Americans.

Twenty years after Cruzan and the PSDA, are we any better off?

It’s hard to say. Those who attended the conference seem better off for having done so, anyway, if evaluations received are any indication of what happened: “Exceeded all expectations!”

So begins the next twenty years.



Anonymous clay anderson, md said...

i am so glad the baptist seminarians were there. the speakers and attendees were a great bunch for sure, but it was not a diverse enough group, as usual. several of us noticed and discussed that fact privately. i don't know if it came up publicly or not. the black seminarians are to be applauded for: attending, having open minds and open hearts, hearing an important and challenging message, and, most of all, for DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT!! i hope the CPB stays in the loop as our colleagues from the baptist seminary work with their community on these important issues. i am encouraged!!
clay anderson, MD
northcare hospice
north kansas city, mo

Wednesday, November 17, 2010  
Blogger Tarris said...

Thanks for this encouraging comment, Dr Anderson! I have forwarded it to my students at the seminary. -- TR

Wednesday, November 17, 2010  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home