Ira Byock, author of Dying Well, and Director of a national grant program titled Promoting Excellence in End-of-Life Care, gives presentations on improving end-of-life care about three times a week across America.
Byock is co-founder of the Missoula Demonstration Project, along with Barbara K. Spring, PhD, a gerontologist. MDP focuses on a small western city, Missoula, Montana, as "a proving ground for a new way of thinking." MDP does not advance any specific vision for a "good death" or any agenda regarding the "right way" to die or to grieve. Instead, it explores "how we die, how we care for one another as we die and how we mourn, and fosters avenues for improvement," so that communities nationwide can learn. "Our goal is that in communities everywhere, individuals will have self-determined life closure; people will experience safe, comfortable dying; and healthy grieving will become a part of fuller living among us all," Byock says.
This is an excerpt from an article I wrote in 1998 for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Last Acts Campaign.