Compassion & Choices today announced the promotion of its chief program officer, Kim Callinan, to chief executive officer (CEO). Barbara Coombs Lee, who co-authored the nation’s first medical aid-in-dying law in Oregon in 1994 and served as CEO and president of the end-of-life care advocacy organization for the last 13 years, will remain president of the organization.
“It’s so exciting to be able to bring Kim Callinan in, into the CEO role, because she has the right skills, the right experience, the right knowledge to bring this movement into its next stage,” says Coombs Lee in a YouTube video announcing the appointment posted at bit.ly/KimCEOpromo. “The most important thing Kim has is a drive to gather people together: A calling to unite people of every background, every aspect of diversity, every corner of the nation because that’s who she is.”
As the chief program officer for Compassion & Choices for the last three years, Kim has led her team to achieve unprecedented accomplishments. They include 1) guiding the program team through the authorization and implementation of medical aid-in-dying laws in California, Colorado and the District of Columbia; 2) expanding Compassion & Choices’ outreach efforts to all Americans by supporting the creation of African-American and Latino Leadership Councils, 3) integrating the organization’s successful efforts to persuade medical societies and health systems to accept medical aid in dying and integrate it into the standard of end-of-life care; and 4) launching its Truth in Treatment initiative to empower patients with life-threatening diseases to get the care they want reflecting their goals, priorities and values.
“…this has been truly a team effort…working with Barbara and with the staff and all of our supporters. She’s [Barbara’s] been an incredible inspiration for me in her ability to hold a vision and to look far in advance into the future,” says Callinan in the YouTube video. “If I think about the next 10 years and what I’d like to see the movement look like…is that half the country has access to end-of-life options, and I think this is completely doable.”
Currently, six states have explicitly authorized medical aid in dying (California, Colorado, Montana, Oregon, Vermont and Washington), along with the District of Columbia. Collectively, these seven jurisdictions represent 18 percent of the nation’s population and have 40 years of combined experience safely using this end-of-life care option. In addition, national and state polls show strong support for medical aid in dying among people and physicians across the ethnic, political and religious spectrum.
Prior to joining Compassion & Choices in 2015, Callinan spent two decades creating integrated campaigns to engineer social change, including supporting issue campaigns to reduce the number of uninsured Americans and improve children’s health, and political campaigns at the federal, state and local levels.
Kim earned a master’s degree in public policy from Georgetown University, a graduate certificate in public health from the University of South Florida and a bachelor’s degree in government from Oberlin College. She also has a certificate in the fundamentals in gerontology via a joint program offered by the American Society on Aging and the University of Southern California’s Davis School of Gerontology.
Kim grew up in Oradell, New Jersey (a suburb of New York City). She now lives in Kensington, Maryland, with her husband and their two teenage children.