Barbara Coombs Lee worked as a nurse, nurse practitioner and physicians assistant for more than 25 years. Her time in clinics and hospitals led her to the conclusion that the way our society thinks about death, and the way the medical community works to avoid it, can make the experience of dying more stressful – and painful – than it needs to be.

Coombs Lee eventually transitioned into the role of advocate, pushing for access to hospice services and education regarding options for end-of-life care. She has also been a leading voice in the “medical aid in dying” movement, an issue that Diane advocates for, as well.

Coombs Lee has now written a book called “Finish Strong: Putting Your Priorities First at Life’s End.” It outlines what she thinks we, as a society, get wrong about death, and explains how we can do it better.


  • Barbara Coombs Lee President, Compassion & Choices; co-author of the nation's first death with dignity law in Oregon that took effect in 1997; author of "Finish Strong: Putting Your Priorities First At Life's End"

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