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November 20, 2000


LA CROSSE, Wis.—The D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership and the La Crosse Community Palliative Care Coalition* have teamed up to sponsor two medical ethics presentations this December and January.

Joanne Lynn, M.D., will present "Getting Good Care at the End of Life: Personal and Political Agendas" on Tuesday, Dec. 5, at 7:30 p.m. in the Viterbo Fine Arts Center Recital Hall.

Dr. Lynn will discuss that, until recently, few people survived serious illnesses for any substantial period of time. Now, thanks to improved medical care and technology, people with chronic illnesses are surviving for longer periods of time. But how can we both personally and politically improve the quality of care at the end of life? As president of Americans for Better Care of the Dying, Dr. Lynn has helped ensure that the dying have available a basic array of services that will leave them free to concentrate on their own spiritual development and spiritual growth at this important time. She has also helped organize citizens and professionals to advocate for public policy that addresses the needs of individuals and families coping with a fatal illness.  Dr. Lynn is also director of the Center to Improve Care of the Dying and is the author of Handbook for Mortals.

Partial funding of this program was provided by Gundersen Lutheran Medical Foundation and the Viterbo Pi Phi Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing.

On Monday, Jan. 29, Christina Puchalski, M.D. will discuss "The Role of Spirituality in Health and Illness" at 7 p.m. in the Franciscan Skemp Healthcare Marycrest Auditorium.

Dr. Puchalski believes spirituality is very important for people dealing with chronic illness and other health-related issues. A wide range of studies has shown that spirituality plays a significant role in improving patient outcomes during recovery from surgery and such illnesses as heart disease, cancer, depression, and substance abuse. In fact, it helps patients find meaning in their suffering and also helps them cope with the pains and frustrations associated with illness. In this talk, Dr. Puchalski explores the benefits of spirituality and the important role healthcare providers must play in addressing patients’ spiritual concerns. Franciscan Skemp Healthcare, Mayo Health System, provided funding for this event.

Dr. Puchalski is an assistant professor in the Division of Aging, Department of Medicine, at George Washington University. She is also the director of education for the National Institute for Healthcare Research.

Both Dr. Lynn’s and Dr. Puchalski’s talks are free and open to the public. Reservations are not required.

For more information, contact Richard Kyte, director, D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership at 796-3704 or by email at

* The La Crosse Community Palliative Care Coalition serves as an extension of a statewide effort to improve palliative care for the people in Wisconsin.  The Coalition provides a broader perspective through expanded membership with the healthcare institutions providing leadership.  Its mission is "to engage the La Crosse region and area healthcare organizations in endeavors to improve palliative care for the sick, suffering, and dying through community action, provider education, and healthcare change." According to the World Health Organization (1990), palliative care is the active total care of persons with incurable or life-threatening illness. The goal of palliative care is achievement of the best possible quality of life for patients and their families. For more information, or to join the Coalition, contact one of the Co-Chairs:  Nickijo L. Hager, R.N., M.S.N., Franciscan Skemp Healthcare, 608-791-9710, hager.nickijo@mayo.eduor Bud Hammes, Ph.D., Gundersen Lutheran, 608-782-7300,

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