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The New York Citizens' Committee on Health Care Decisions (NYCCHCD) is a non-profit, non-partisan grassroots initiative providing an impartial forum for public discussion of critical healthcare issues. The Committee's goals are to heighten public and professional understanding of these issues; to foster informed participation in both individual care and formulation of public policy; and to provide a mechanism by which these issues can be broadly communicated to society at large and to policy makers at the state level.
The Committee sponsors Public Forums where health care providers, attorneys, ethicists, clergy and other concerned citizens explore these issues. The forums emphasize dialogue in an open and impartial setting and encourage expression of individual views. Topics range from allocation of resources and physician-patient relationships to decision-making for end-of-life care.
The Committee organizes Community Meetings for local groups and provides discussion leaders to help make the issues come alive. This provides opportunities for citizens to learn about issues and elucidate their concerns and values.
The Committee gathers and disseminates Public Opinion and Policy information from program participants, healthcare professional, attorneys, ethicists and public officials to inform and promote discussion. It also promotes discussion of existing and proposed legislation and publishes a semi-annual newsletter entitled, Citizen Voices in Health Ethics.
Three things in particular distinguish the mission of the NYCCHCD:
First, since its inception in 1989, it has functioned as a recognized megaphone for the voice of the people.
Second, it has no organizational agenda other than to maximize its grassroots role in the community.
Third, as a member of American Health Decisions, a national coalition of like-minded state citizen groups concerned with healthcare policy and ethics, it benefits from collaboration and sharing of "know-how" in disseminating and replicating projects, thereby contributing to the expansion and success of broad-based community initiatives.
The Citizens' Committee is uniquely positioned to bring community programs on a wide range of perplexing problems and concerns to citizens, and can draw upon its stock of achievements in New York City and its suburbs. The Citizens' Committee has no affiliation with government or any other interest groups; and is supported solely by individuals and private foundations.