Updates from the chair
Greetings from Debbie Armstrong, Board Chair
Dear EOLONM Friends,
First, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Barak for his years of service as Chair and Founding Member of the Board of Directors for EOLONM. His leadership and dedication were instrumental in bringing the organization to where it is today and thereby advancing the movement in New Mexico and providing aid and comfort to so many. I am honored to now step into the role of Board Chair and, along with Barak, MaryKay and our new Board members Sherry Burns and Elizabeth Armijo, to further the mission and vision of EOLONM. I would also like to thank Poem Swentzell and Erika Gergerich for their time as Board members and am grateful for their continued engagement and support for our work.
As I reflect on what we have accomplished, I realize we are entering a new phase of development. Our first two years were focused largely on establishing ourselves as an organization and on educating clinicians and the public on the law and its implementation. Our success in those endeavors is evidenced by the facts that we have been able to hire Julia Bergen as our first full-time executive director as well as support staff; and the uptake and utilization of Medical Aid in Dying has far outpaced our sister states, no matter their population. I am proud that our law serves as a national model but, so too, does our success and effectiveness in implementation.
Now our focus is on enhancing and expanding our ability to support individuals and their families, as well as reaching out to rural and underserved areas of the state, providing education on all end-of-life options in multiple languages. We are partnering with community organizations, enhancing the training of client support and public outreach volunteers, and facilitating the development of a community of clinicians. We are exploring the establishment of a grievance support group and engaging social work students in our work as part of their professional training.
I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for whatever role you play in supporting our mission, whether financially, as a volunteer or by spreading the word and talking with your friends and family and making referrals when appropriate. All efforts are important and appreciated.