• A call to action: an IWG charter for a public health approach to dying, death, and loss

      Becker, C.; Clark, E.; DeSpelder, L.A.; Dawes, J.; Ellershaw, J.; Howarth, G.; Kellehear, Allan; Kumar, S.; Monroe, B.; O'Connor, P.; et al. (2014)
      The current systems of care for dying persons, the people caring for them, and the bereaved operate in ways that frequently lack sufficient sensitivity to their needs. We describe a new model for dying, death, and loss that adopts a public health approach. Specifically, we describe a deliberative process that resulted in a charter for a public health approach to dying, death, and loss. Modeled after the World Health Organization's 1986 Ottawa Charter, our charter includes a call to action. It has the potential to bring about significant change on local, societal, and global levels as exemplified by four projects from three countries. Public health and end-of-life services and organizations need to form partnerships with the community to develop a public health approach to dying, death, and loss. Learning from each other, they will affirm and enhance community beliefs and practices that make death part of life.
    • Confronting mortality: faith and meaning across cultures

      Paulson, S.; Kellehear, Allan; Kripal, J.J.; Leary, L. (2014)
      Despite advances in technology and medicine, death itself remains an immutable certainty. Indeed, the acceptance and understanding of our mortality are among the enduring metaphysical challenges that have confronted human beings from the beginning of time. How have we sought to cope with the inevitability of our mortality? How do various cultural and social representations of mortality shape and influence the way in which we understand and approach death? To what extent do personal beliefs and convictions about the meaning of life or the notion of an afterlife affect how we perceive and experience the process of death and dying? Steve Paulson, executive producer and host of To the Best of Our Knowledge, moderated a discussion on death, dying, and what lies beyond that included psychologist Lani Leary, professor of philosophy and religion Jeffrey J. Kripal, and sociologist Allan Kellehear. The following is an edited transcript of the discussion that occurred February 5, 7:00-8:30 pm, at the New York Academy of Sciences in New York City.