Seattle End of Life

End of Life: The Role of State Health Departments

Recognizing the importance of an increased focus on preparing for the end of life, CDC initiated efforts in 2002 to better define opportunities and public health roles and responsibilities in this area.

As a first step, CDC’s Healthy Aging Program, in collaboration with CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control and the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD), worked with more than 200 key stakeholders to identify short-, medium-, and long-term public health priorities related to the end of life.

Of these priorities and the process used to develop them, five were deemed most critical. These include the following:

  • Identify point of contact for end-of-life issues in state health departments.
  • Collect, analyze, and share data related to the end of life.
  • Incorporate end-of-life principles in state comprehensive cancer control plans. "
  • Educate the public about hospice and palliative care.
  • Educate the public about the importance of advance directives and health care proxies.