Connecticut Coalition to Improve End of Life Care Fall 2019 News

Welcome from the President

Dear CTEOL Member,

As I approach the last few months of my presidency, I want to thank all of you for your support and commitment to the advancement of palliative care education for healthcare providers and citizens in the state of CT. If we remain steadfast and unified, I am certain that we will continue to make change in the care of patients with serious illness and for their families.

In this newsletter, we provide updated information since our last spring/summer issue. We begin by sharing information about the death of our dear colleague, mentor, and founder of the CTEOL – Dr. Ruth McCorkle. Ruth was an extraordinary person, who will be deeply missed by this organization and by all that had the privilege of knowing her. Now with her spirit guiding us, we continue to press on – to educate the masses about the need for palliative care.

I invite you to take a look below to see what the CTEOL Board has been up to since our last newsletter!

For a more detailed recap of CTEOL activities in 2018/2019, please visit our webpage:

I invite you to scroll down and take a closer look at the work of the CTEOL and my extraordinary colleagues….

Also, we invite you to write us an email to let us know what you think of our newsletter, and perhaps consider being featured under the “spotlight” section!


Warm regards,



President, Coalition to Improve End-of-Life Care (CTEOL)

Member Spotlight

Ruth McCorkle, PhD, RN, FAPOS, FAAN

Dr. Ruth McCorkle was an international nursing leader in healthcare and a pioneer in oncology nursing, symptom science, hospice, and palliative care. Her life’s vocation was preceded by her experiences with the US Air Force Nurse Corps in Vietnam, in which she assisted vulnerable individuals cope with life’s most difficult circumstances. The war experiences brought death out from the shadows and ultimately led her to take this focus to academia, research endeavors, and clinical practice. Dr. McCorkle’s curiosity about end-of-life care led her to study at St. Christopher’s Hospice in London. Later, she co-founded the Hospice of Seattle and the Northwest Regional Oncology Society, which culminated in the development of the Symptom Distress Scale and the Enforced Social Dependency Scale, both groundbreaking measures in psychosocial oncology. As Principal Investigator on seven clinical trials, McCorkle furthered the role of Advance Practice Nurses on quality of life and survival among chronically ill patients.

As Florence Schorske Wald Professor Emerita of Nursing and Professor Emerita of Medicine and Public Health at Yale University, Dr. McCorkle continued her work as Director of Psychosocial Oncology at the Yale Comprehensive Cancer Center until her retirement in the spring of 2019. McCorkle’s professional career also included stints as Professor of Nursing at the University of

Washington, Professor of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania, and Associate Director of Cancer Control at the University of Pennsylvania Cancer Comprehensive Center. A prolific writer, McCorkle’s works appear in many professional nursing and medical journals in the US and abroad.

Among her innumerable accolades, she was the first non-medical research recipient of a National Cancer Institute Research Training Grant, was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 1990, and was named Nurse Scientist of the Year by the Council of Nurse Researchers in 1993. In 2017, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Yale Cancer Center, and the Living Legend Award from the Connecticut Coalition to Improve End-of-Life Care. In 2018, Dr. McCorkle received the American Academy of Nursing’s highest honor as a “Living Legend.” McCorkle’s career was second only to her love for family and friends, and countless proteges. The CT Coalition to Improve End-of-Life Care will be forever grateful for her passion and persistence to improve end-of-life care education for healthcare providers, patients, and citizens of CT. We will treasure our memories of our dear colleague and friend forever more.

palliative care in the news

New Board member, Donna Coletti, MD was interviewed by the Greenwich Time Newspaper about Palliative Care. For a closer look, please read:

Dr. Coletti also shared her lived experience with her father’s illness during a national TED Talk! Please take a few minutes to learn more about her journey into primary palliative care medicine.

palliative care in the community

On November 12, 2019 a Palliative Care Summit was held at Hartford's Capitol Building and hosted by two members of the Governor's Advisory Council on Palliative Care: Karen Mulvihill, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, ACHPN and Joseph Sacco MD, HPM. The Summit drew state-wide representation from diverse stakeholders such as legislature staffers, private insurers, home healthcare agencies, hospital-based and community Palliative Care physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, as well as those in the community who shared their experiences in spreading the need for better Palliative Care education and resources. The meeting concluded with the suggestion to explore developing a coalition of interested parties for expanding access to Palliative Care services in CT. Pictured below are two of our CTEOL Board Members: Donna Coletti, MD, MS, and Jennifer Kapo, MD along with Karen Mulvihill, DNP, APRN.

On November 13th , CTEOL and Fairfield University’s Kanarek Center of Palliative Care Nursing Education co-sponsored an Advanced Care Planning Workshop, titled: Tell Us More. Featuring Dr. Donna Coletti, as the keynote speaker, the workshop addressed questions surrounding an advance directive, as well as roundtable discussions to explore individual values and wishes, medical issues, legal issues, spiritual care, and advance directive writing. Roundtable facilitators included: Eileen O'Shea, DNP, APRN; Gina Petersen, MSN, RN; Donna Coletti, MD, MS; Richard Newman, JD; Karen Shields Wright, DC, DM, and Laura Taets, MSW

Did you know that experts say only about 20-30% of Americans have completed an advance directive even though all people age 18 and older are encouraged to have one?

Upcoming Events

Save the Date!!!

Come join us for the 21st Annual CTEOL Meeting and Awards Luncheon, hosted by VITAS.

The date is January 22, 2021 from 12:00-1:30pm.

Location: 199 Park Road, Ext, Middlebury, CT 06872 - All are Welcome!

Stay tuned for more future educational opportunities within our state!

On October 1st, 2017 the State of Connecticut adopted Medical Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (MOLST).

The MOLST online training has been made available to individuals as well as large organizations and is available at:

The training program is a self- study program that should take approximately 30-45 minutes to complete. A certificate is issued upon successful completion.

Draft MOLST regulations have been completed and will be vetted through CT.s regulatory process until they are approved by the CT legislature’s Regulations Review Committee

Ask one of our board members about MOLST!

Help spread our mission and build our membership! We are always looking for new members to improve the quality of care at end of life!

Keep an eye out for exciting things happening!


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