by Teresa Chiftis, Current President of EOLWA Board of Directors

End of Life Washington Community Members:

Since I wrote to you in our last newsletter, a lot has happened – both from an organizational perspective and for the landscape of Washington’s Medical Aid in Dying (MAiD) law. It’s an exciting and challenging time on many levels.

In February, with former Executive Director Judy Kinney, moving into a new role at another non-profit, we welcomed Rebecca Lane as End of Life Washington’s Interim Executive Director. Rebecca brings tremendous experience, knowledge, passion, and compassion to her role. We couldn’t be more thrilled to have her on board as we begin our search for a permanent Executive Director.

A hiring committee with representation from staff, volunteers, and board members has been formed. While there are obvious baseline qualifications, the committee will also seek input from our community on the most important qualities for the next Executive Director to embody. A thoughtful and thorough search process will take shape over the coming weeks. While a leadership change is challenging, it is also an opportunity to move forward aligned with our mission.

EOLWA will also start the next fiscal year with a new slate of board members. As a few of our current members’ terms of service will end at the end of June, we are actively recruiting new board members. Thanks to input from our community, we have some very compelling candidates that we have begun to engage with. This, too, is an opportunity to move forward aligned with our mission.

Speaking of our mission, EOLWA is proud to have accomplished so much in the past several months. Here are just a few of the highlights:

    • EOLWA hired Dr. Jess Kaan as Medical Director to help hone the talents of current volunteer providers and to reach out to potential new providers to encourage them to support the end-of-life choices of their patients.
    • EOLWA community members led, moderated, and participated in panel discussions at the National Clinicians Conference on Medical Aid in Dying (NCCMAID) in Portland.
    • EOLWA was the driving force behind the passage of SB 5179, to increase access to Washington’s Death with Dignity law and remove unnecessary barriers for terminally ill Washingtonians.

While these are wonderful accomplishments, I want everyone to remember that none, repeat, none of this happens without the dedication of our staff and volunteers across the state and the generosity of our donors. We’ve seen increasing demand for our services every year since I have been a part of EOLWA. Without our amazing team of staff and volunteers and the financial support of our donors, our clients would be left unsupported, and our mission would be unfulfilled. So please join me in a heartfelt thank you to all of the folks that make EOLWA the incredible organization that it is.