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Dying with Dignity in New York

Virtual Event Virtual Event

March 19, 2021 @ 6:30 pm 8:00 pm EDT

In the midst of unprecedented personal, national and global oppression, suffering and death, how do we process loss to maintain hopeful connections?  The People’s Health Sanctuary has offered a 3-part series, End-of-Life in the Age of Covid featuring conversations about our experiences of death, end of life care, and the creation of social and spiritual community during the pandemic.

As a result of COVID-19, far too many New Yorkers have been forced to confront death, spurring what used to be uncomfortable, avoidable discussions about life and death issues among family and friends. What death looks like, when it comes, is something far too many of us now think about regularly yet many of us remain awkward about discussing. 

Advance care planning can help ensure that you get the care that you want at the end of life, but terminally ill New Yorkers don’t have the full range of options that our neighbors in New Jersey and Vermont, and 8 other US jurisdictions have: the right to medical aid in dying.  Nearly 20% of people living in the United States have access to this compassionate end-of-life care option, which allows terminally ill, mentally capable adults with six months or less to live to ask their doctor for a prescription they can take to avoid needless suffering and die peacefully on their own terms.

Participants will discuss what it means to have a “good death,” explore what advance care planning means and what tools exist to help put those plans in place, and learn about the option of medical aid in dying.

This event is part of the “End-of-Life in the Age of Covid” series of virtual conversations every 6 weeks presented by People’s Health Sanctuary. 

Corinne Carey, Esq. MODERATOR & presenter
Senior State Director for New York & New Jersey, Compassion & Choices

Compassion & Choices is the nation’s oldest, largest and most active nonprofit organization committed to improving care and expanding choice at the end of life. The organization works towards a society where people receive state-of-the-art care and a full range of choices for dying in comfort, dignity and control.

Corinne Carey joined Compassion & Choices as a Campaign Director in August 2015. She led the successful campaign for New Jersey’s Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act, which took effect on August 1, 2019.

Corinne joined C&C after nearly a decade with the New York Civil Liberties Union where she served as Deputy Legislative Director. At NYCLU, she engaged in advocacy around a wide range of civil liberties issues, concentrating on public health, medical privacy, discrimination, drug law reform, and reproductive rights issues. She led the campaign to pass a 10-point Women’s Equality Agenda as co-chair of the New York State Women’s Equality Coalition. All 10 points, including strengthening equal pay laws and codifying Roe v. Wade into state statute, have become law.

Prior to her tenure at the NYCLU, Corinne was a researcher with the U.S. Program at Human Rights Watch where she focused on access to public housing for people with criminal recordspunitive and ineffective sex offender registries, and the treatment of prisoners during Hurricane Katrina.

Corinne holds a masters degree in American Studies from the University at Buffalo, and she graduated summa cum laude and first in her class from SUNY Buffalo School of Law in 1998.

Volunteering as a political & public affairs correspondent for the Hudson Mohawk Magazine, an evening radio show on WOOC 105.3 FM out of the Sanctuary for Independent Media in the capital region, Corinne has produced more than 100 stories that can be heard on WOOC’s podcast. She lives in Troy, New York.

Donna Smith
Diversity and Inclusion Advisor and State Director, Compassion & Choices

Donna Smith is an accomplished professional with over twenty years of experience in political consulting, legislative advocacy, public affairs, policy and program management.

Donna has been employed by Compassion and Choices (C&C) for 7 years.  She is the Diversity and Inclusion Advisor and  State Director  for DC and Maryland.  In this capacity she directs  C&C’s state-based strategy on how to integrate diversity, equity and inclusion principles into the work, helping to ensure build culturally competent programming from the outset. led the campaign to pass end of Death with Dignity legislation in both the District of Columbia (the legislation passed in Feb. 2017) and Maryland.

Donna was the Chief of Policy and Community Programs for eight years at the Maryland Department of Aging. She led a team of program managers that implemented aging statewide programs for the aging and their caregivers.  She was also detailed to work on the White House Conference on Aging in as a public relations specialist.

A graduate of Tuskegee University and George Washington Law School, she has one son and resides in Laurel, Md.

Dr. Mary Applegate

Dr. Mary Applegate is highly regarded nationally for her work in public health education and in maternal & infant health.  She served as a public health physician and medical director in Women’s Health at the New York State Department of Health (DOH) for 14 years, followed by 15 years at the University at Albany School of Public Health as the Associate Dean for Public Health Practice. Dr. Applegate has been awarded statewide and national leadership awards in the fields of Preventive Medicine and Maternal & Child Health.  Her volunteer work with Compassion & Choices takes her to a different part of the life cycle, but still emphasizes her belief in individual’s autonomy during this other universal life transition.


People’s Health Sanctuary‘s goal is to establish a central space to share health skills, provide basic integrative care and explore ways to build networks of community health. We are celebrating a year of organizing around this project, initiated under the organizing name Health Autonomy Clinic and after listening sessions with our surrounding community, re-named People’s Health Sanctuary. Our goal is to embrace models of open sharing of health knowledge, and empower all of the growing collective of community members to seek their independent health goals, as opposed to the traditional, hierarchical top-down approach of clinical medical practice. Though caring for our elders, our children, or cooking soul-nourishing food for family or friends may not be deemed ‘real’ healthcare, they know that in fact, it’s what holds us together and keeps us sane. Our growing network sharing skills to build a space where creative, joyful health is possible and accessible.

In this current crisis, we are more than even committed to the potential that People’s Health Sanctuary can offer.  Everyone it seems is struggling to keep up with the flood of information about the current crisis, the ways those in power are forcing us back to a “normal,” the over-reliance of the economy as a marker of anything lending towards health.  And then we have the horrific news from Georgia and Minneapolis, the killings of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, a stark reminder of the crisis behind the crisis. COVID has only exacerbated the social oppression and disparities that mark the “normal” so many of the elites want to return to.

We are committed to lowering the barriers to access for events at The Sanctuary for Independent Media. For people who are hard of hearing or deaf, blind or low-vision, or whose physical limitations can interfere with a satisfying experience, let us know two weeks in advance so we can make appropriate arrangements.

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We use art and participatory action to promote social and environmental justice and freedom of creative expression.

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