AHD Library

The following reports and papers are examples of work that the member organizations of American Health Decisions value highly: public participation in making health care choices; non-partisan civic participation; collaboration with other individuals and groups in developing effective programs.

In “Community Responsibility for Health Policy” former AHD Chair Michael Garland, D. Sc. Rel, describes the elements and process of successful grass-roots programming. It outlines methods, structures, and financing strategies for education the public and providing information on public values to policymakers. Most importantly, it encourages increasing community responsibility for health issues. Dr. Garland summarizes the collective experience and wisdom of Health Decisions groups throughout the US.

In Voices of Value: What Americans Expect from a Health Care System” AHD Board Member Bruce Jennings tells the important but often overlooked story of how groups of Americans address health issues by balancing varying and sometimes conflicting values. This report describes the dialogue that takes place off-camera, apart from the noisy national debate, but with an intensity that deserves attention from policy makers.

“Values Near the End of Lives: Grassroots Perspectives and Cultural Diversity on End-of-Life Care” was prepared by Bruce Jennings, former Executive Vice President of The Hastings Center as a background paper for the New York State Partnership to Improve End-of-Life Care. It is a careful analysis of the 1990s, during which time changes in care at the end of life included the Cruzan case decided by the United State Supreme Court, the comprehensive survey of clinical care described in the SUPPORT study, and the controversial work of groups and individuals advocating legal recognition of a right to die and physician-assisted aid in dying.

“The Quest to Die With Dignity: An Analysis of Americans’ Values, Opinions, and Attitudes Concerning End-of-Life Care” is an important report by American Health Decisions commissioned in 1997 by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The report centers on extensive focus group interviews of 385 Americans in 32 cities, and discusses how citizens feels about a wide variety of issues from trust in their physicians to advance directives to apprehension about being a burden on family members.

Other reports are available on the web sites of the organizations that comprise AHD. For more, go to “State Organizations.”