Friday, October 17, 2014

Compassion & Choices

Robert Matheson squires his grandmother, Ruth Buchanan, and her favorite dachshund, Cinderella, across the porch to receive guests for an event for friends and family to learn more about the work of leading national nonprofit Compassion & Choices.
On October 7th, the Rockefeller University hosted its Parents & Science "CELEBRATING SCIENCE" Benefit Lecture and Dinner, the annual occasion where the University brings together world-class scientists, renowned child health care experts, and parents and grandparents interested in the most recent scientific advances revolutionizing our understanding of human development and diseases of childhood.
Boykin Curry and Celerie Kemblel
Dr. Patricia Kuhl and Dr. Marc Tessier-Lavigne
Dr. Patricia Kuhl has dedicated her professional career to understanding how babies' and children's brains develop, investigating how these early developments impact learning and cognition throughout life. In her lecture at Rockefeller University's CELEBRATING SCIENCE benefit, Dr. Kuhl shared her research regarding early language acquisition and bilingualism, in which she has determined that a very critical window for learning is between 8 and 10 months of age. With new high-powered technology, she and her team have been able to map babies' brains, beginning at 3 months, so as to understand how the brain develops and to observe connections that are built over time.

In addition to a compelling lecture offered by Dr. Kuhl, the benefit marked a convivial evening attended by some of the brightest names in science, medicine, and New York Society. An elegant tented dinner followed the lecture on the University's esplanade, a highlight of which was its spirited auction conducted by renowned Sotheby auctioneer, Hugh Hildesley.
Amy Falls and Kristina Perkin Davison
Anna Chapman and Addavail Coslett
Blair Pillsbury Enders
Caryn Zucker
Claudia Overstrom
Some of the evening's guests included: Dr. Marc Tessier-Lavigne, Sydney and Stanley Shuman, Anna Chapman and Ron Perelman, Daniella and Greg Coules, Amy and Hartley Rogers, Silvia and Sophocles Zoullas, Kimberly Kravis Schulhof and Jonathan Schulhof, Talbott and Carter Simonds, Celerie Kemble and Boykin Curry, Ilona Nemeth and Alan Quasha, Claudia Overstrom, Kathryn and James Murdoch, Clemence and William von Mueffling, Eliza and Alex Bolen, Dorothea Bon Jovi, Blair Pillsbury Enders, Caryn Zucker, Lolita Roosevelt, Gillian and Sylvester Miniter, and Marean and Thomas Pompidou to name a few.

The evening raised nearly $1.4 million, $93,750 of which came from the auction.
Eliza Bolen and Dixie Deluca
David and Cynthia Wassong
Eliza Bolen
Gillian Miniter
Ilona Nemeth and Alan Quasha
Holly Andersen and Judy Roth Berkowitz
Jenny Price and Eileen Riano
Katherine Murdoch and Beata Lieb
Lindsey Boylan and LeRoy Kim
Jean-Pierre Lehman with Marean and Thomas Pompidou
Maidee Kirkeby and Courtney Rae
Rebecca Anikstein and Lizzie Markus
Rob Davis, Caroline Curry, and Marc Tessier-Lavigne
William von Meuffling and Clemence von Meuffling
Alex Shuman and Dr. Marc Tessier-Lavigne
The United Hospital Fund paid tribute to Michael A. Stocker, MD, Jennie L. and Richard K. DeScherer, and Paul E. Francis at its annual gala, held on October 6th at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The awards were presented to acknowledge their major contributions aimed at improving health care in New York.

Drawing a crowd of close to 600, the event marks the opening of the Fund's 136th fund-raising campaign for its work to shape positive change in health care in New York.

Michael A. Stocker, MD, MPH, former chairman of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) and former president and CEO of Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, received the Health Care Leadership Award. Over seven years, Dr. Stocker successfully led Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield's conversion from not-for-profit to publicly traded status, creating a leaner, more efficient and competitive business in the process, and further signaling the embrace of managed care by the insurance industry. Following a brief retirement, Dr. Stocker advised and supported HHC's management team as they dealt with the perpetual challenges of infrastructure, staffing, and money, along with a new focus on the critical areas of corporate compliance, internal audits, and procurement. During his five years of leadership at HHC, he was often recognized for his role in enhancing the quality and safety of its services and, in the context of national health reform, preparing the public health care system to be seen as "providers of choice" as fewer New Yorkers go uninsured.

The Health Care Leadership Award was established by the United Hospital Fund in 1998 to recognize strong and sustained leadership aimed at improving health care in New York City. Previous recipients of the award include Peter May, Frank A. Bennack, Jr., Kenneth Raske, James and Merryl Tisch, Anthony Watson, Martin D. Payson, John K. Castle, Mathilde Krim, PhD, Sanford I. Weill, and Maurice R. Greenberg.
Dr. Michael A. Stocker, recipient of the Health Care Leadership Award, with his wife, Patricia J. Wang
Jennie L. and Richard K. DeScherer received the Distinguished Community Service Award for their outstanding leadership of the SLE Lupus Foundation and the Lupus Research Institute. Mr. DeScherer leads the SLE Lupus Foundation's board as president, while Mrs. DeScherer, also an active board member, has helped shape each of the foundation's program initiatives. Both are founding members of the board of the Lupus Research Institute. Over the past 40 years, the DeScherers have worked to ensure that thousands of people with lupus had the lifeline they needed, and to spur research toward a cure. The SLE Lupus Foundation's programs include support groups, doctor referrals, summer vacation camp for children with lupus and their families, public awareness and advocacy, and model storefront outreach efforts in underserved neighborhoods throughout New York City. The Lupus Research Institute has awarded $42 million in grants to scientists in over 60 academic and medical centers in 21 states, and it estimates that its support has leveraged an additional $132 million from the National Institutes of Health and other sources.
Richard K. and Jennie L. DeScherer, recipients of the Distinguished Community Service Award
Established by the Fund in 1987, the Distinguished Community Service Award recognizes volunteer leadership that significantly improves health care in New York City. For a ninth year, the Distinguished Community Service Award has been generously supported by TIAA-CREF, the leading provider of retirement services in the medical, academic, research, and cultural fields. Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., president and CEO of TIAA-CREF, presented the United Hospital Fund award to the DeScherers.

Paul E. Francis about to receive the Special Tribute from Jim Tallon
Paul E. Francis was recognized with a Special Tribute for his many contributions to New York and to health care; following a successful career in the private sector and critical budget and advisory roles with three New York governors, he is now increasingly focusing on improving health care. Mr. Francis serves on the board of directors of the New York State Health Foundation, whose grantmaking and convening activities play a vital role in advancing health care in New York.

He also serves on the board of trustees of Interfaith Medical Center, an important safety net hospital in Brooklyn, as well as the boards of directors of the New York e-Health Collaborative, which is building the statewide network for sharing electronic medical records, and of GNYHA Ventures, the for-profit subsidiary of the Greater New York Hospital Association. In 2014, his work on behalf of the spinal cord injury advocacy community in New York helped to restore $7 million in annual funding for spinal cord injury research. Formerly a member of the United Hospital Fund's board, and currently a member of its Health Policy Forum, he remains a close friend and supporter of the Fund.
Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., Andrea G. Cohen, and J. Barclay Collins II
The benefit chairman was J. Barclay Collins II, chairman of the Fund's board of directors.

"The individuals we are honoring tonight each enrich the long, storied history of health care leadership in New York," said Jim Tallon, president of the United Hospital Fund. "Their experiences are as varied as our health system is complex, but all these honorees share a compelling vision—they see how health care can work better and meet real needs. And the people of New York are better for their respective contributions."

The United Hospital Fund is a health services research and philanthropic organization whose primary mission is to shape positive change in health care for the people of New York. For more information, please visit
Peter W. May and James S. Tisch
Sheel Patel and Richard Cotton
Ron Pressman with Gail and Alfred B. Engelberg
Merryl H. Tisch and Norma Tallon
H. Carl McCall and Stephen Berger
Lawrence Schwartz and Dr. Howard A. Zucker
Dr. Ramanathan Raju and Deborah M. Sale
Dennis Rivera, Theresa A. Bischoff, and Lee. H. Perlman
Sally J. Rogers, Christina H. Proscia, Bill Drover, and Michael J. Noone
Dr. Matthew E. Fink, Michelle Adams, and Kenneth E. Raske
Cary and Lisa Kravet
Mary Beth C. Tully and John Winkleman
Robert A. Isaksen and John C. Simons
Dr. Amanda S.H. Parsons and Dr. Christina Jenkins
The United States Air Force was honored by the Soldiers', Sailors', Marines', Coast Guard and Airmen's Club (SSMAC) at the 18th Annual Military Ball on Friday, October 10, held at The Pierre Hotel's Grand Ballroom. Over 400 members of the military, veterans, families and supporters attended the black-tie gala to pay tribute to our brave men and women who have served our country and to help support the SSMAC, whose mission is to House, Feed and Support the Military and all troops passing through New York City.

This year's Award recipients are General Mark A. Welsh III, Chief of Staff, United States Air Force who received the Distinguished Military Leadership Award; Lieutenant General Stephen L. Hoog, Assistant Vice Chief of Staff, United States Air Force, who received The Distinguished Service Award; Colonel Jack H. Jacobs, (Ret.) United States Army, who served in the Vietnam War twice as an advisor to Vietnamese infantry battalions, and is among the most highly decorated soldiers from that era having earned three Bronze Stars, two Silver Stars and the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest combat decoration, received the Service to the Nation Award; and Tamsen Fadal, 4-Time Emmy Award Winning Journalist and WPIX 11 News Anchor received the Distinguished Media Achievement Award.
Emerald Society Pipe and Drumband
SSMAC Chairman and CEO Ivan Obolensky offered opening remarks followed by the evening's Master of Ceremonies Marvin Scott, New York TV News Senior Correspondent who presented Ms. Fadal with her Award. She said, "I am deeply honored to accept this award", and continued by thanking all of the members of the Military for putting their lives on the line for us. The evening continued with performances by The United States Coast Guard Academy Glee Club, The USO Liberty Bells, The New York Police Department Emerald Society Pipes and Drums and award winning recording artist Sylvia Tosun. Supporters danced to Alex Donner and his Orchestra who belted out ballads from America's songbook. Master Sergeant, gt. Eric Sullivan, started the program off with his rendition of The National Anthem.

Among the guests in attendance were Their Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Ermias Sahle Selassie of Ethiopia, Countess Nicholas (Tanya) Bobrinskoy, Helen Roosevelt, Cavaliere Philip Bonn, Princess Irina Dvorjitsky San Filippo, Major General David J. Ramsay, John and Margo Catsimatidis, Wolfram Koeppe, Gene Panasenko, SSMAC President Bill McShane, and Rita Cosby. Other supporters included The Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation, MG Michael A. Boyd, Bank of America, Mrs. Ryland E.D. Chase, Key Bank, Mr. and Mrs. Dean Reade, Major George J. and Ann Manos and Josephine Lawrence Hopkins Foundation.
Founded by Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., Mrs. Cornelia Barnes Rogers, and General John J. Pershing in 1919, the SSMAC has served over five million Servicemen and Servicewomen, veterans and their families and those of our Allies, with its "Home Away From Home" accommodations in the heart of New York City.

The SSMAC occupies two adjacent 19th century townhouses on Lexington Avenue between 36th and 37th Streets. Built in the 1880s as homes for the upper middle class of that period, it is a 79-bed facility that includes a library with two Internet stations, several large event rooms, a television room and a dining room. SSMAC, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization relies solely on private donations and receives no state or federal funds. All proceeds from the Military Ball are tax-deductible and support SSMAC and its mission of "Serving Those Who Have Served Our Country."
Barb Martin, Their Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess of Ethiopia, and Rick Martin
Liz Derring viewing auction items
Ann and George Manos
M Sgt Eric-Sullivan
Margo and John Catsimatidis
Marvin Scott and Hazel Cathers
Peter Lebeau, Michael Boyd, Tina Robin Viters, and Paul Camellari
Rita Cosby and John Catsimatidis
Tamsen Fadal and Lieutenant Colonel Stephen L. Hoog
USO performing
A week ago Thursday night (October 9), The New York Women's Foundation hosted their first annual Fall Gala – A Night At the Plaza in The Grand Ballroom of the hotel.  The evening's honorees included Diana L. Taylor, Former Board Chair and Advisory Council Chair of The New York Women's Foundation; A CALL TO MEN, a leading national violence prevention organization; and Creative Time, a New York-based nonprofit arts organization.

Comedienne and actress Retta, (Donna Meagle in NBC's Parks and Recreation), was emcee.  The program also featured a special performance by Girl Be Heard, an NYWF grantee, a nonprofit theater company that empowers young women to tell their stories and brings global issues affecting their lives to center stage.
Diana Taylor, Retta, and Ana Oliveira
Susan Cullman and John Kirby
Michelle Coffey, Executive Director of the Lambent Foundation introduced Anne Pasternak President and Artistic Director of Creative Time who accepted the honor. The gala's second honoree, A CALL TO MEN was introduced by Pamela Shifman, Executive Director of the NoVo Foundation, and was accepted by Co-Founders and Co-Directors Tony Porter and Ted Bunch

NYWF President and CEO Ana Oliveira, NYWF Board Chair Anne Delaney, and NYWF Board Alumna Hyatt Bass, all took turns praising Diana Taylor and her work as the former New York Women's Foundation Board Chair, before introducing her as the evening's final honoree. 
Ana Oliveira, Ted Bunch, Anne E. Delaney, Retta, Tony Porter, and Anne Pasternak
The Walking Stick Award presented to each honoree was designed by NYWF grantee partner Youth Empowerment Mission, Inc. The sticks symbolize the trailblazing role of the women being honored.

The Gala raised $871,000, helping the NYWF award $5.5 million to more than 70 women-led, community organizations this year.  The NYWF is the largest women's grant-making foundation in the United States, and funds community-based organizations that promote economic security, anti-violence and safety, quality healthcare and sexual and reproductive rights for women and families in all five boroughs of New York City.
Rick Cote and Susan Cote
Star Young, Melanie Contreras, and Mary Sliwa
David Gordon, John Kirby, Michele Penzer, and Tim Kirby
Amelia Ogunlesi and Cathy Isaacson
Janet Torres and Louis Vega
Eyxa Bazan and Mavis Vann
Jane Summers and Dara Lamb
Nitzia Logothetis, Hyatt Bass, and Julia Goodman
Cecilia Gaston, Zijie Li, and Shiyu Hu
Felicia Carr and Maggie Lannon
Jean Shafiroff, Joan Hornig, and Amelia Ogunlesi
Katie Abbey and Sharonda Boston
Elizabeth Meyer and Mark Meyer
Danielle Brooks and Soffiyah Elijah
Andrew Hayward and Gillian Steel
Esin Goknar, Holly Block, Susan Block, Fran Barrett, and Sharon Myrie
Anne E. Delaney and Grainne McNamara
Colleen Tierney and Lyn Pincus
Susan Kotcher and Lyn Pentecost
Carol Robles-Roman and Sarah Calderon
Martha Sproule and Karen Davidson
Danielle Brooks and Sarah Jones
Cocktails and Conversation on Expanding End-of-Life Choice at Beaulieu with hosts Ruth Buchanan and Bonnie Matheson

The Newport season saw its second event at Beaulieu — the summer home of Washington, D.C., doyenne Ruth Buchanan — this time sans orchestra and dancing. An intimate coterie of friends and family gathered on her 50' wide slate porch overlooking the cliff walk and Atlantic for the cocktail hour to learn more about the work of leading national nonprofit Compassion & Choices. Its mission for the past 32 years has been to expand choice and improve care at the end of life. That includes making death with dignity — the medical practice of aid in dying for terminally ill, mentally competent adults — a legitimate, open and accessible option. Currently, this option is expressly legal in five states, and Compassion & Choices is running campaigns to establish this basic human right in six others with a goal of 20 by the year 2020.
Mother and daughter co-hosts (R-L) Ruth Buchanan and Bonnie Matheson.

Ruth told her guests: "I watched both of my late husbands have terribly painful and drawn-out deaths because they didn't plan ahead [by naming resolute healthcare proxies and completing comprehensive advance directives]. They hadn't spoken to their families about their own deeply held end-of-life values and shared what truly living meant to them. I hope each of you — including my own children and grandchildren — gathered here will not make the same mistakes. Life for me is more than just existing, and I don't want to be here if I can't truly enjoy all of it — especially dancing!"
Ruth, still “tripping the light fantastic” well into her 90s, has been supporting the death-with-dignity movement since 1996, when late husband was in serious decline. She sought out and received sound advice from Compassion & Choices end-of-life consultants. This spring, she was initially approached with a request to meet with the organization’s Washington, D.C.-based staff to discuss the possibility of hosting an event in Newport.  With her signature wit, a rye smile and a gimlet eye, from across the room she jokingly quipped, "Tell them, “I'm not ready for them yet!"

However, despite two other events on her dance card that day, she held court with a drink in hand while admonishing her guests to "live life and get as much enjoyment out of it as you can. Make absolutely sure your family – especially your children – knows what you want when that's no longer happening. Compassion & Choices is here to help us. Please join me in supporting them."
Eugene Bowie Roberts, Jr. and Leilani Brenner chat with Compassion & Choices' Major Gifts Officer Jared Hughes.
L-R Ronald Fleming, his guest Phoebe visiting for the season from England - and Leilani Brenner discuss the lively debate currently in process in the House of Lords on an "Assisted Dying" bill modeled after the Oregon Death With Dignity Act. Phoebe shared that Lord Carey, the recently retired Archbishop of Canterbury, and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu both support the assisted-dying legislation. The iconic roof of the Chinese Tea House folly at neighboring Marble House rises above the hedge in the background.
Mickey MacIntyre, chief program officer of Compassion & Choices, discusses death-with-dignity legal strategy with Ronald Lee Fleming, Eugene Bowie Roberts, Jr. (a member of the Vanderbilt Family) and his wife, Lynn Springer Roberts, visiting from (a soon-to-be death with dignity campaign state) Maryland.
Ruth Buchanan chats on her porch with Carolyn du Pont, a life-long friend of her daughter Bonnie Matheson from their Holton-Arms days.
Vivian Spencer with Helen and Daisy Hilliard.
Lila Ohrstrom confers with Diana Bunting on
plans to host an event for Compassion &
Choices at Diana's home in The Plains, Virginia, this fall.
Eugene Roberts and Ron Fleming discussing the end of life choice movement
Hostess Ruth Buchanan (pink suit) listens to Compassion & Choices' Chief Program Officer Mickey MacIntyre's response after sharing her story of the grueling end-of-life experiences of two of her late husbands with Brown University Art History Professor and longtime Compassion & Choices friend Anne Schultz, and Patricia Norton-Kidder of the Newport Hospital Advisory Committee; new friend, donor and Newport social-scene fixture Leith Adams. Mickey shared the range of legal options terminally ill people have to control the manner and timing of their deaths. He suggested anyone who wanted more information could call Compassion & Choices' free end-of-life consultation program at: 800-247-7421.
Bonnie shared how she came to learn about Compassion & Choices from her mother and
her experiences with her difficult end of life experiences with her mother's late husbands.
Compassion & Choices' CPO Mickey MacIntyre tells about the organization's aggressive push to have active Death with Dignity Campaigns in 20 states by the year 2020.
Guests learn about Compassion & Choices End of Life Consultation work with individuals and their families to share information on how to take charge of ones dying process and effect a peaceful death on ones own terms. Guests also learn about the action plan for making aid in dying a legitimate, open and accessible end of life option for all Americans as it is currently in Oregon, Washington, Montana, Vermont and the largest county in New Mexico.
Anne Dickson Bowen and Mary Hilliard.
Father and son George S. and Mike P. Warburg — founders of the Apple Pickers Foundation — a contributor to Compassion & Choices' multimillion dollar consumer education campaign conceived and implemented by powerhouse PR Firms Porter Novelli and Salter Mitchell.
New York-based artist and longtime family friends Kit Forrestal, Vivian Spencer and Lila Ohrstrom discuss end-of-life planning and Vivian's work on Senator Sheldon Whitehouse's staff as special projects coordinator for aging issues and health policy.
Diana Bunting, Carolyn du Pont, and Robert Matheson enjoy longtime family ties.
Two other institutions of Newport society hosted screenings of award-winning documentary films dealing with end-of-life autonomy: Emmanuel Episcopal Church — founded by the Brown family and The Redwood Library & Athenaeum — the oldest continuously operating lending library in the country. Parishioners Nicky Brown and his wife were in attendance. The Rev. Dr. Anita Schell reminded attendees that the Episcopal Church encourages end-of-life conversations and allows for its members "as much pain remediation as is needed — even if that therapy advances the time of death." Organizers were pleasantly surprised when they learned the showings serendipitously coincided with the Rhode Island International Film Festival, which was also was taking place that week.
Patricia Gold, RN, shares her views on Death with Dignity (#DWDin6Words).
New friend and supporter Nick Brown (whose ancestors founded Emmanuel Church and Brown University) shares the six words about what death with dignity means to him.
Proudly Emmanuel's oldest parishioner at 93, Natalie Pfanstiehl is a well-known watercolorist who believes in end-of-life choice. She shares her views on Death with Dignity.
The Rev. Dr. Anita Schnell, rector of Emmanuel Church, and husband Steve MacAusland were the hosts at Emmanuel for a screening of Oscar-nominated documentary film The Last Campaign of Booth Gardner.
LPN Mary Miranda shares her views on Death with Dignity.
Compassion & Choices' Major Gifts Officer and family friend of to Emmanuel parishioners shares his # DWDin6Words.
Jane Dyer shares her views on #DWDin6Words.
Dinny and Dave Moore share their views on Death with Dignity for Rhode Island.
June Wing shares her views on Death with
Ellie Fish shares her views on Death with Dignity.
Attorney Mercedes Deines shares her views on Death with Dignity.
John French perusing Compassion & Choices materials at Redwood Library & Athenaeum before its screening of How To Die in Oregon.
Host Carolyn du Pont, director of programs, says a few words about Compassion & Choices and its work to expand choice and improve care at life's end.
Jared Hughes sets up the Sundance Award Winning film, and how it came to be made and speaks about the work of Compassion & Choices which it chronicles.
Photographs by Nick Mele (Newport); (NYWF); David X Prutting/ (Rockefeller); Annie Watt (SSMAC).