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Call for Bloggers

Posted on 12/17/2020

Who should submit?

When it comes to issues of mortality, all of us have a story to tell. We want to know how your identity, expertise, and personal life experiences have impacted the ways in which you perceive, understand and engage with end of life. The Conversation Project (TCP) is humbly inviting individuals to submit pitches to be considered for our upcoming series of blogs that will focus on the theme of living fully through the end of life and explorations of life in light of mortality. Experts, scholars, practitioners, and artists from marginalized backgrounds and a range of fields are particularly encouraged to submit pitches.

What should you submit?

Submit a pitch! And, if your pitch is selected, you will be requested to submit a full piece. The pitch should take one of two forms. You can submit a bulleted outline that consists of the different points you will address. Or, you can write 1-2 paragraphs (maximum) that summarizes your vision for the blog. All in all, we encourage your pitch to be brief and concise.

Your piece should explore one or more of the following ideas:

  • How contemplating and grappling with mortality can lead to living life more fully
  • Stories about the genuine joy someone may have found in having meaningful conversations about end-of-life issues or decisions
  • Humorous/funny takes on end-of-life conversations
  • The power of listening in the context of having meaning end-of-life conversation

If there’s a specific topic that we did not mention and you are passionate about, please email us to inquire about it.

Your final piece, if accepted, can take one of the following forms:

  • A blog that is 600-700 words
  • A video that is no more than 5 minutes long
  • A poem or series of poems

The deadline to submit a pitch is January 15, 2021. We expect to get back to everyone with our decision by early February.

If you’re selected…

Selected candidates will be compensated for their work. Writers of blogs will be paid $300 and we will discuss compensation with those who submit either a video or poem. For those selected, we would ask for the final piece to be submitted within a month of acceptance. In addition to payment, we will feature you on our social media platforms, website, and newsletters in the coming months.

We look forward to hearing from you!

The application is now closed. 

Please email us at conversationproject@ihi.org if you have any questions.

5 Responses

  1. Hi there,

    My name is Rebecca Winship and I wanted to reach out to connect as I came across The Conversation Project in my research.

    I lost my father in January to lung cancer and it was a harrowing experience that I am still struggling to process and work through. Aside from the expected after-effects of losing the anchor of any family, the rapid deterioration of my dad’s health and how things unfolded with his health care providers the week of his passing play a huge part of the pain and sadness my family and I face on a daily basis.

    To attempt to summarize what we went through, my father underwent almost 2 years of treatment and in July of 2019, he was given 6 months to live with the caveat that he could continue on with treatment to hopefully extend that a bit further. He lived in Georgia with my 21 year old brother while my mother and I live in Florida. We would visit him frequently and join him for his treatments, appointments, holidays and any opportunity we got to spend time together. At the beginning of January, my father started to experience severe shortness of breath and after being admitted to the hospital found out the tumor in his lung had increased in size to the point where his breathing was being impacted.

    Only a few days later, I flew in and went to his next chemo appointment with him and my brother where he fully intended to receive his standard treatment. Upon arriving, we learned that his oncologist had no idea he was admitted to the ER within the same hospital a few days earlier, and was not informed of their findings. Needless to say, chemo did not happen that day – however, my brother, dad and I were shocked when they delivered us an ultimatum: dad was forced to decide in that moment if he sought to be immediately readmitted to the hospital again right then and there, or go home and have Hospice show up within the hour. My dad had a lot of trouble with processing this news and wanted to learn more about the Hospice program before making the decision, but the doctor forced him to decide where he would end his life before letting him leave the appointment. What followed was a traumatic experience with a local Hospice program which left my dad extremely anxious, unsettled and uneasy as his health quickly deteriorated and he passed away only 4 days later.

    The Conversation Project encompasses everything I wish would have happened within my own experience when it came to my father’s death, particularly regarding the way hospitals and hospice professionals communicate the end-of-life process to families. Looking back, I wish that his doctors and care team were more open and honest about my dad’s current state, what he and his family should expect in the coming days/weeks once his health really started going downhill and all of the uncomfortable yet crucial conversations to assist and support him throughout the dying process. I wish I had more time to research Hospice, their at-home services and various programs in my dad’s area months before we had to make a rushed decision when it was too late. Of course, we knew he was terminally ill, but we relied on professionals to help guide us through an extremely difficult situation since the day he was diagnosed.

    I truly feel that the opportunity to work together would be a therapeutic process for me as I continue to navigate my grief and this type of story will resonate with a number of audiences – I currently oversee social media strategy for Tupperware and have over 8 years of marketing, writing and social media experience that I would love to offer to raise awareness and spread the word for The Conversation Project.

    Please let me know if there are any opportunities for me to contribute – I would love support The Convo Project and get the word out or become a part of the blogger team to share my story and hopefully help someone else out there who might be going through the same thing I did.

    Looking forward to hearing from you!

    Best,
    Rebecca

  2. I would love to explore the intersection of understanding one’s mortality and the potential (filled with some unease and maybe fear) of being given permission to “live one’s life”, to achive potenital and to define one’s self by the self and not to live life as defined by others.

  3. Emily Vass says:

    I am super excited about this opportunity! I have shared with colleagues that can help with understanding children, autism and the LGBTQ and how a positive death care movement can be beneficial.

  4. I completely support the goals and efforts to improve communications among families and care givers about death and dying. At my age of 88, widowed, living alone, I have lost about thirty-five friends, relatives, coworkers and neighbors so I am nearly the only one among my peers left. My suggestion would be on increasing awareness and selection of hospice care and medical aid in dying as legalized in several states. The problem I have seen is doctors avoid the discussion because they see death as failure and loss of income along with insurance companies. That paradigm needs to change. In addition, most people are socialized by religion and culture to avoid the discussion until the demise is imminent because it is very emotionally stressful. As the late Steve Jobs said, even those who think they are going to heaven don’t want to die to get there. The shocking aftermath of a death in the family is traumatic and disabling among many survivors, me included.
    Dying and funerals used to be family events but now they are not visible as normal endings to life, usually hidden away in nursing homes, hospitals and mortuaries. The late anthropologist, Margaret Mead wrote, “We celebrate at weddings, we rejoice at births, but when somebody dies, we pretend nothing happened.” Something very big happens which needs far more attention, as most grieving survivors will agree. I think we need a new form of ritual to mark the beginning of final transitions – one that involves family members, caregivers, medical teams, and spiritual mentors. They call it palliative care or concierge care in EU. The Conversation Project is ideally positioned to provide the badly needed educational resources for this effort. It is not sufficient to just talk about it, words must be converted to beliefs followed by actions. This goal will require a full bore communications program to obtain and sustain a new role for case managers that would captain the resources needed to facilitate nothing less than a full mobilization for palliative care in death and dying, physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual, involving families, medical schools, churches, hospitals, insurance companies and government. Please browse my name for reference…thanks…Lewis Tagliaferre

  5. Have just come upon this wonderful project. We are advocating urgent palliative care at home and have come to the same conclusion. Advance care planning is crucial. We are considering training conversation enablers to work with GP practices throughout the UK as part of the routine elderly health care check program. Everyone would then be regularly encouraged and assisted to make an ACP and keep it updated.
    It’s great that you have addressed this issue so thoroughly.

    Best wishes,
    Lyn Jenkins

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