"Before I Die" Television Program Generates Discussion on End-of-Life Issues

The Educational Broadcasting Corporation, New York, and Barksdale Ballard & Company, a Vienna, Va., communications firm, produced a television broadcast and a multi-media curriculum to be used by grassroots organizations to promote the exploration of attitudes toward end-of-life issues.

Key Results

  • The project's centerpiece, a one-hour television broadcast, Before I Die, aired on Public Broadcasting Service stations April 22, 1997 and was rebroadcast September 19, 1997. More than 646,000 viewers saw the original broadcast.

    The program featured a panel of experts in medicine, journalism, ethics, and religion who debated three hypothetical scenarios:

    • A young mother dying from advanced breast cancer.
    • A 65-year-old man who, in peak health, signs an advanced directive.
    • A young man with AIDS who seeks control over his death.
  • The project also developed a "Viewer's Guide for Before I Die" and other educational materials for individuals and groups to further explore issues around end-of-life.

  • The project held a pre-broadcast videoconference for 40 local stations or organizations designed to generate interest in organizing discussion groups following the actual broadcast.