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Dying with Dignity: Starting the Conversation to Close the Healthcare Gap

Posted on May 13 2015 under Communication, Previous Programs

Jackie FontWhat constitutes a ‘good death’? How and where are people dying? Are the needs of the dying being met? How can we advocate for a “good death”? Considering we are all going to die and lose loved ones at some point in time in our journey through life, these are all important questions to explore. Recently there has been an increased emphasis on the importance of addressing healthcare disparities in end of life care. This increased emphasis is mostly as a result of a bountiful of research on how dying patients are invisible in many acute healthcare settings in the United States and are victims of healthcare disparities. That is, certain groups receive lower quality of care than others. Worse than being a dying patient, is being a dying patient who is perceived by medical personnel as belonging to a different race, culture or ethnicity. These biases that lead to disparate treatment are often present at a subconscious level. Jacqueline will share her latest on-going research on ways to address end of life healthcare disparities through conflict engagement processes such as World Café Dialogues, some of the challenges, and what can you do to improve your and your loved ones quality of end of life care.


Dr. Jacqueline N. Font-Guzmán is associate professor at the Werner Institute at Creighton University. She is a certified mediator and arbitrator by the Puerto Rico Supreme Court.  She is a Fulbright Scholar who has actively participated in the field of conflict studies through national and international conferences and workshops, and has conducted a wide variety of trainings and seminars in the field, throughout the United States, the Caribbean, Europe, and Latin America.  Some of the organizations she has provided mediation, facilitation and/or training services to include the: World Health Organization, U.S. Postal Service, Judicial Academy of the Puerto Rico Supreme Court, Spanish Supreme Court Judicial Council for Continuous Education for Judges, Venezuela Supreme Court, Johnson & Johnson, and the Nebraska Bar Association. She has also been a visiting professor at the University of Puerto Rico Law School in San Juan, Puerto Rico and at Carlos III University School of Law in Madrid, Spain.

Dr. Font-Guzmán conducts qualitative research with a focus on the fields of healthcare disparities, law, and conflict engagement. Specifically, how people construct meaning at critical points in their lives about their identity (e.g., professional and community), reflective learning/practice, and end of life to explore the manners in which meaning-making leads them to productively engage with conflict. She also explores how marginalized individuals create alternate stories and counter-narratives to address institutional injustices. You can view her research on her SSRN Author Page and follow her scholarship work on Academia.edu and Linkedin.

Prior to joining Creighton University, Dr. Font-Guzmán was in private practice and mediation. She also clerked for Honorable Carmen Consuelo Cerezo on the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico.

Additional Resources:  It’s All About the Conversation   The Center for Promoting Health and Health Equality

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