In 2014 Harvard surgeon and writer Atul Gawande published the best-seller Being Mortal about modern medicine and the larger culture's difficulty with accepting death. In February 2015, a FRONTLINE documentary also called Being Mortal aired on public television stations nationwide. The film, funded by the John and Wauna Harman Foundation, follows Dr. Gawande and shares the close-up experiences of several patients and families at the end of life, including his own.
In 2015 the John and Wauna Harman Foundation teamed up with the California Healthcare Foundation to promote community screenings of Being Mortal throughout California. Thirty-nine organizations across the state hosted over 75 screening events. Held in a variety of community settings and targeting diverse audiences, the screenings and post-screening discussions were intended to educate participants about choices they might make if they had a serious illness and to encourage them to identify and communicate their wishes to those who matter. A post-screening email survey found that 91% of participants say they are now more comfortable discussing their end-of-life wishes, and 81% say they have talked to someone about the kind of care they would want if they were dying. A full report on the California project is available here.
The John and Wauna Harman Foundation is pleased to be partnering with Hospice Foundation of America in 2016 to expand the community screenings nationwide.
View "Being Mortal."
Host a "Being Mortal" screening.