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Bristol Public Library's Health Education Series to Examine End-of-life Issues

November 11, 2013

The successful Health Education Series at the Bristol Public Library will continue on Thursday, November 14, 2013, at 7 PM in the J. Henry Kegley Meeting room with a presentation on Advanced Medical Directives (often called a “living will”) and End-of-Life issues. A partnership between the BPL, the Bristol Family Residency Program of the Quillen College of Medicine, and Wellmont, the Health Education Series offers insights into serious health concerns that affect our community and region. Presenters for the November 14th event will be Erin Downs and Dr. Tom Townsend. Only 19% of Americans have an Advanced Medical Directive. Though hospitals have been asking patients if they have an AMD since the late 1960s, many people are uncomfortable or very reluctant to complete the form. “We hope this gives the community a starting point so people can sit down with their loved ones and have the discussions that are critically important as we all face the end of our lives, “ said Jud Barry, executive director of the BPL. For more information about the Health Education Series, please contact Doris at the BPL on 276-821-6148.

Ms. Downs is an attorney with the firm of Jones, King, Downs, and Peel in Bristol. She received her Juris Doctorate from the Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College of William and Mary. She began her legal career as an Associate in the Trusts and Estates department of the law firm of Christian & Barton in Richmond, Virginia. She also served as Trust Counsel for Crestar Bank in Richmond for several years before moving to Bristol to join the law firm of Jones and King, P.C., in 1996. Ms. Downs works with Advanced Medical Directives and their legal aspects extensively. She is also active in the Bristol community serving on a number of non-profit and community boards including past service on the Bristol Public Library Board of Trustees.

Dr. Tom Townsend left his home in Arkansas 35 years ago to practice with the National Health Service Corps in Independence, Virginia. He remained in a community-governed practice for more than 16 years before joining the faculty at Bristol in 1991. His special interests are the philosophy of practice, medical ethics, geriatrics, and social medicine. He is board-certified by the American Board of Family Practice and holds the Certificate of Added Qualifications in Geriatrics. He enjoys and needs the outdoors and all of rurality. He and his wife live in Bristol. Also, he holds the rank of Professor in the Department of Family Medicine. And he’s a nationally recognized expert in the area of rural medical ethics.

All presenters have donated their time and expertise to making the Series viable and enriching for the community. “The library is grateful to everyone who’s given so generously of their time and expertise to benefit our community. Every speaker has acted out of a sense of mission to bring high-quality, vital information to our audiences.”