(Los Angeles – May 23, 2016) Compassion & Choices today announced the promotion of Oregon state director Matt Whitaker as its new California state director. A board-certified music therapist with clinical experience in long-term acute care and geriatrics, Whitaker will lead the organization’s campaign to help Californians access the state’s new medical aid-in-dying law that takes effect June 9.
“I am excited and humbled to move into this new role to improve and expand California’s full range of options to relieve suffering at the end of life, including hospice, palliative care and medical aid in dying,” Whitaker said. “We are utilizing all our resources to ensure every Californian, through their healthcare providers, has full access to the End of Life Option Act when this new law takes effect on June 9.”
“Matt is an experienced, talented leader who has defended end-of-life options for terminally ill Oregonians for years,” said Kat West, national director of policy & programs for Compassion & Choices. “He will ensure terminally ill Californians who want access to more end-of-life options, including medical aid in dying, will get it.”
Whitaker replaces Toni Broaddus, who led Compassion & Choices’ campaign to pass the End of Life Option Act. She will move into a new role as Acting National Director of Political Affairs & Advocacy, working with the organization’s national field and political teams to change policies and laws across the country.
Whitaker helped lead the recent launch of the California Access Campaign, a statewide bilingual effort (www.EndOfLifeoption.org) to educate Californians, families and medical providers about the benefits and requirements of the state’s medical aid-in-dying law.
Compassion & Choices is partnering with – and providing technical assistance to – medical centers, hospice facilities, community health centers and nonprofit groups to ensure Californians statewide understand that medical aid in dying is a legitimate, accessible end-of-life care option.
Californians and their families, physicians and pharmacists can call a free hotline, 800-893-4548, to access bilingual information on the End of Life Option Act.