The people behind the Initiative are physicians, nurses, hospice and palliative care workers, members of the clergy and social work communities, and motivated people from all walks of life who have faced these issues, often with wrenching consequences. They are your neighbors and your friends and your family—responsible, caring citizens who want to stand up for those in poor health whose voices are not heard by the body politic.
The Initiative is led by Ira Byock, MD, a physician, author, and national expert who has devoted his life to improving end-of-life care. (see bio)
Ira R. Byock, MD, is the cofounder of the Reclaiming the End of Life Initiative. Ira is Director of Palliative Medicine at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire. He is also an Associate Director of the Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth, in charge of Cancer Survivorship and Palliative Care. Additionally, Dr. Byock holds the title of Jack and Dorothy Byrne Distinguished Chair in Palliative Medicine and is a professor of Dartmouth Medical School in the departments of Anesthesiology and Community and Family Medicine.
Dr. Byock has been involved in hospice and palliative care since his residency in 1978, when he helped found a hospice home care program for the indigent population served by the university hospital and county clinics of Fresno, California. He is a past president (1997) of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Dr. Byock was a founder and principal investigator for the Life’s End Institute in Missoula, Montana. This community-based demonstration project was dedicated to the research and transformation of the end-of-life experience locally as an example of what is possible nationally. From 1997 through July of 2006, Byock served as director of Promoting Excellence in End-of-Life Care, a national program of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
A tireless advocate for the rights of dying people and their families, Dr. Byock has been a featured guest on national television and radio programs, including National Public Radio’s All Things Considered and Fresh Air, ABC’s Nightline, CBS’s 60 Minutes, and PBS’s The NewsHour. Dr. Byock has authored numerous journal articles on the ethics and practice of hospice, palliative, and end-of-life care. His essays have appeared in The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. Dr. Byock’s first book, Dying Well, (1997) has become a standard in the field of palliative care. His most recent book, The Four Things That Matter Most: A Book About Living (2004), reveals the power to ease suffering that four simple, yet profound statements— “Please forgive me.” “I forgive you.” “Thank you.” “I love you.”—can have for people with life-threatening illnesses and their families. The stories he relates show how these four things can be used to mend, tend, and nurture one’s most important relationships at any time in life.
In honor of his dedicated and steadfast work on behalf of the ill and dying, Dr. Byock has received numerous awards. He was named Person of the Year (1995) by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and was the recipient of the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship’s Natalie Davis Spingarn Writer’s Award (2000). He was also the recipient of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine’s Distinguished Service Award (2002), and the American College of Chest Physicians’ Roger C. Bone Memorial Lecture Award (2003).
Yvonne Corbeil is cofounder of the Reclaiming the End of Life Initiative. Yvonne is a nurse administrator with extensive experience in hospice and palliative care programs. She served for 15 years as Assistant Director for Palliative Care at McGill University. She is currently Director for Network Development for the Palliative Care at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, NH, where she oversees development of new programs and outreach to regional hospitals, home health, and hospice programs. From 2004 until May of 2007 Yvonne served as Executive Director for the New Hampshire Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and currently serves on the organization’s board of directors.
Reclaiming the End of Life Initiative
PMB 146, 10 Benning Street
West Lebanon, NH 03784