Laurie Leonard is the Executive Director of End of Life Choices New York. She has an MBA from the Harvard Business School and an MSW from Fordham University. After a career in television broadcasting, Laurie developed an interest in end of life issues, and worked for Cabrini Hospice in New York City. She has served on the board of directors of many organizations, and in 2001 she received a New York Volunteer Service Award.
David Leven, JD, is Executive Director Emeritus and Senior Consultant to End of Life Choices New York, after having led the organization for 14 years. He has won awards for his work in public interest law, and has played a leadership role in having legislation introduced and enacted in New York to improve pain management and palliative care. David has been a guest on numerous radio and television programs.
Deborah Grayson recently retired after 16 years as a nutritionist with a large NYC hospice. Prior to that she worked in fields ranging from criminal justice research to book publishing. She has spoken before national and state hospice groups on nutrition-related topics. Deborah has two masters degrees - in nutrition and public health.
Jane Lowers, speaker for EOLCNY
Jane Lowers is a health services researcher and a Ph.D. student in palliative care. She has worked as a medical journalist, editor, and educator. Her research interests include advance care planning and the experience of caregivers of people with serious illness.

Book Our Speakers

Modern medicine has increased our life spans. In many ways it has also improved our quality of life as we age; but some medical treatments can actually diminish our quality of life.

Our popular presentations explain what you can do to maximize your chances that you will stay comfortable if you become ill, and have a peaceful death if that time has come.

We offer two different types of presentations; either can be customized to meet your group's needs. For example, some groups only want a speech on advance directives, so for them we speak in more detail about that topic than we do in our usual presentation.

Both talks are suitable for the general public; we can also modify them for more specialized audiences such as health care professionals, graduate students or caregivers.

To book one of our presentations, or to find out more about them, please contact our Executive Director Ayana Woods, at or scroll all the way down to the form below.

Presentation One

“How To Get Your End of Life Wishes Respected and Receive Good Quality Care”

In “How To Get Your End of Life Wishes Respected and Receive Good Quality Care,” we provide a guide to navigating today’s health care system. Some of the things you’ll learn:
  • Why many doctors undertreat pain and how you can get effective pain treatment
  • What palliative care is and how and when it can benefit you
  • Why dying is very different today than it was 100 years ago
  • How to inform your doctors about your end of life care goals and treatment preferences
  • The difference between a health care proxy, a living will, and a do not resuscitate order
  • How hospices provide for a better quality of life and a more peaceful death
  • Why “Aid in Dying” is legal in some states, and what its status is in New York.
  • Testimonial
    “We all came away with valuable insights and information. Your engaging style and compelling information immediately motivated me to take some actions on my own behalf. After learning about what standard medical care can and cannot do, it’s clear that having basic information about hospice, pain management, palliative care and end of life directives is essential. You have given us the tools to advocate for ourselves to prepare for a time when we can no longer do so, and to help others do the same."
  • Testimonial
    “Thank you so much for your very informative and engaging presentations last week…Your style of presenting and appropriate humor are always appreciated when the subject is so grave.”
  • Testimonial
    “We wanted to extend our sincere gratitude for sharing your passion and expertise with us on such an important topic yesterday.  Your lecture was gripping, compassionate and extremely informative.”
  • Testimonial
    “It was unanimous among all of us who participated that the program met or exceeded our expectations. Not only did you bring a wealth of valuable information to share, but your manner of presenting made it all so accessible and easy to understand.”

Presentation Two

“Aid in Dying in New York: Your Right to Choose”

Our other presentation, “Aid in Dying in New York: Your Right to Choose” focuses completely on aid in dying, the process by which a mentally competent, terminally ill adult patient obtains a prescription of medicines which the patient may ingest to end suffering and achieve a peaceful death. You’ll learn:
  • The arguments for aid in dying and why it should be legalized
  • The current status of proposed legislation to legalize aid in dying in New York
  • The current status of a New York lawsuit that has been led in an attempt to legalize aid in dying
  • The experiences of Oregon, where aid in dying has been legal for 18 years
  • Legal alternatives to aid in dying that can improve your chances of having a peaceful death