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May 1, 2014

Re:  “THE CONVERSATION OF A LIFETIME”

Dear Mayor:

The New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute has announced that it will soon launch a new and unique program through the Mayors Wellness Campaign, aimed at engaging the state’s mayors and other local officials to lead their communities in a dialogue on end of life care choices and the importance of advanced planning. The effort is being called “The Conversation of a Lifetime” and is being conducted with assistance from the League.

Despite recent gains in public awareness of the need for advance care planning, an April 2014 “Health Matters” poll conducted by the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute and the Monmouth University Polling Institute showed that many New Jerseyans are still unaware of this need. More than half (54%) of the poll’s respondents indicated that they have no written document outlining their wishes for end of life care and treatment and nearly two out of every five (38%) have never even had a discussion about this important subject.

The Mayors Wellness Campaign believes that mayors, as champions of community health, can bring the end-of-life conversation to their citizens to increase awareness and understanding of the benefits of advance planning and reduce the moral and emotional distress faced by families having to make the decision for their loved ones without knowing their intentions.

The Conversation of a Lifetime effort will first be established through a pilot program. Selected mayors will soon be receiving a letter from the Mayors Wellness Campaign inviting them to participate. Following evaluation and review, a decision would be made about whether to expand the program statewide by making it an integral part of the Mayors Wellness Campaign.

If your municipality is selected for the pilot program, I urge you to get involved in this important initiative.  However, if you have a particular interest in this pilot I encourage you to reach out to Linda Schwimmer at the New Jersey Health Care Quality (lschwimmer@njhcqi.org).

More than 350 New Jersey municipalities are now active in the Mayors Wellness Campaign. If you haven’t already done so, please take the time to join the Mayors Wellness Campaign today (http://www.njhcqi.org/index.php/initiatives/mayors-wellness-campaign.html) and let your citizens know that leading an active, healthy lifestyle is a priority in your community.

Very truly yours,

William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director

 

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