NEW YORK, April 15, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Compassion & Choices President Barbara Coombs Lee will be honored with the 2016 "Distinguished Alumni Award" from The New York Hospital-Cornell University School of Nursing Alumni Association on Sat., April 16.
After graduating from Cornell University School of Nursing in 1970, Coombs Lee practiced as an ER and ICU nurse and physician assistant for 25 years before beginning a career in law and health policy. Since 1996, the 40+ year resident of Portland, Oregon has served as President of Compassion & Choices, a non-profit organization dedicated to expanding and protecting the health care options of the terminally ill.
"I feel very honored and grateful to receive this award and to join the ranks of so many distinguished recipients," said Coombs Lee in written remarks prepared for the award ceremony. "This school is where I became a nurse in my head and in my heart, and that shapes everything I've done ever since. Before I came to nursing school I had witnessed little or no serious illness and death."
The Distinguished Alumni Award criteria include: 1) a record of achievement in one or more of the following fields in nursing: nursing practice, service, education, research, and teaching; and 2) significant professional contributions in one or more of the following ways: publishing, lecturing and program participation beyond that of the usual job requirements, original research, and clinical studies which have led to the improvement of patient care.
Coombs Lee has devoted her professional life to individual choice and empowerment in health care. As a private attorney, as counsel to the Oregon State Senate, as a managed care executive and as coauthor of the 1994 Oregon Death with Dignity Act, she has championed initiatives that enable individuals to consider a full range of options and be full participants in their health care decisions.
The Oregon Death with Dignity Act was the nation's first law to authorize mentally capable, terminally ill adults to use the option to qualify for prescription medication they can take to die peacefully in their sleep if their suffering becomes unbearable. It has become the model for similar laws in California, Washington and Vermont, and legislation in Washington, DC, New York and 25 other states.
The Journal of Palliative Medicine concluded the: "Oregon Death with Dignity Act has resulted in or at least reflects more open conversation and careful evaluation of end-of-life options, more appropriate palliative care training of physicians, and more efforts to reduce barriers to access to hospice care and has thus increased hospice referrals and reduced potentially concerning patterns of hospice use in the state."
Compassion & Choices is the nation's largest nonprofit organization working to improve care and expand choice for the end of life. www.compassionandchoices.org
Media Contact: Anne Singer, 202-578-4278-c, firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE Compassion & Choices