Cambia Health Foundation Collaboration Supports The Conversation Project with $161,000 Grant to Create Virtual Conversation Ready Community Resource Center

Posted on 09/18/2014

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. | The Conversation Project (TCP) will continue to increase its reach across the globe thanks to the generosity of the Cambia Health Foundation, a founding funder of TCP.   This is the third major grant given to TCP by the Cambia Health Foundation enabling the nonprofit to bring its mission to people where they live, work, pray and gather.

TCP, launched in 2012 in collaboration with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), is a public engagement campaign dedicated to educating people about the importance of understanding their own end-of-life care wishes and sharing them with loved ones. At the heart of the project is the Conversation Starter Kit, a downloadable guide that helps people have “the conversation” about their preferences for end-of-life care. The Starter Kit is designed to be used by families, or by individuals, as a way to help them think about and communicate important end-of-life decisions.

Funds from Cambia Health Foundation’s Sojourn Program will be allocated to expand the tools made available to the public through a virtual Community Resource Center. The Resource Center will be available on TCP’s website theconversationproject.org and will serve as a template for change, helping communities around the world share the mission and message of TCP.

TCP’s National Field Director Kate DeBartolo will bring together best practices and lessons learned from the more than 130 community organizations nationwide with which she works with on a monthly basis. These are communities that have adopted TCP’s mission and already share the resources and messaging with a broad array of local stakeholders including civic and volunteer organizations, health care systems, senior centers, libraries, houses of worship and employers. DeBartolo will curate and annotate information, provide “tips and tricks” on how to bring TCP to communities, and share ways on how best to navigate cultural and language barriers. The Resource Center will also include a weekly blog featuring articles by DeBartolo as well as other team members and members of The Conversation Project Community Network

“The new resource center will be an invaluable asset to anyone looking to bring The Conversation Project’s mission and message to their community,” says Conversation Project founder Ellen Goodman. “We are looking forward to working closely with Cambia Health Foundation on this project and building on their terrific work in palliative and end-of-life care.”

The grant from the Cambia Health Foundation is made available to TCP through its Sojourns Program. Sojourns is a new initiative by Cambia designed to identify, cultivate, and advance the next generation of palliative care leaders. The program supports innovative and impactful clinical research, education and policy projects in the field of palliative care.

“At Cambia Health Foundation, we partner with organizations that share our vision of changing the way that Americans experience health care,” says Peggy Maguire, president and board chair of Cambia Health Foundation. “We’re honored to partner with The Conversation Project because we believe every person’s end-of-life wishes should be expressed and respected, and The Conversation Project is helping facilitate these difficult yet necessary conversations before it’s too late.”

TCP was founded in 2012 by Pulitzer Prize Winner, Ellen Goodman. Goodman created the organization after having been her mother’s caregiver and health care decision-maker. “My mother and I talked about everything, except what kinds of care she would have wanted at the end her end of life,” says Goodman. “By the time her dementia set in, I was faced with a cascading number of decisions to make, unsure if that’s what she really would have wanted.”

Unfortunately, Goodman’s experience is not unique. A survey released by Kelton showed that while 90 percent of Americans say it’s important to discuss their own and their loved ones’ wishes for end-of-life care, only 30 percent actually do. Similarly, 70 percent of people say they want to die at home, but in reality, 70 percent die in hospitals or institutions.

The goal of TCP and its new public health campaign will be to help individuals and their loved ones live out their final days in the way they would choose, honoring their wishes in death the same way we do in life – with dignity, respect, and deep compassion. Studies show that when there is a meaningful conversation about end-of-life choices, survivors report feeling less guilt, less depression, and an easier process of grieving.


About The Conversation Project

The Conversation Project, co-founded by Pulitzer Prize-winner Ellen Goodman and launched in collaboration with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), is a public engagement campaign with a goal that is both simple and transformative: to have every person’s wishes for end-of-life care expressed and respected. Too many people die in a manner they would not choose, and too many of their loved ones are left feeling bereaved, guilty, and uncertain. The Conversation Project offers people the tools, guidance, and resources they need to begin talking with their loved ones about their wishes and preferences, before a medical crisis – “at the kitchen table,” not in the intensive care unit. For more information, visit theconversationproject.org

About Cambia Health Foundation

Cambia Health Foundation is the corporate foundation of Cambia Health Solutions, a total health solutions company dedicated to transforming the way people experience the health care system. A 501(c)3 grantmaking organization, the Foundation partners with organizations to create a more person-focused and economically sustainable health care system. Through its recently launched children’s health program area, the Foundation seeks to partner with community and school-based organizations that are pursuing holistic, integrated approaches to addressing children’s health issues. For more information, visit http://cambiahealthfoundation.org/ or www.twitter.com/cambiahealthfdn.