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Video: How to Reach a Gentle Death in NM
Gail Rubin, The Doyenne of Death, Funeral Expert Gail Rubin, The Doyenne of Death, Funeral Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Albuquerque , NM
Thursday, December 13, 2018


“How to Reach a Gentle Death in New Mexico." is one of the panel discussions that took place at the Before I Die New Mexico Festival Symposium. During this one-hour discussion, panelists presented information on a range of topics, including hospice, healthcare and end-of-life options for terminally ill people. They also discussed the upcoming legislative session starting January 2019 in Santa Fe, where a bill regarding medical aid-in-dying will be introduced.

The speakers are Libby Hopkins, hospice and palliative care nurse; Revathi A-Davidson, retired hospice/healthcare administrator; and Keith Julian, advocate for the End-of-Life Options movement. The moderator is Jean Anderson with the Compassion Choices New Mexico Action Team.

The Symposium was held on Saturday, November 3 at the UNM Continuing Education Center in Albuquerque. The event was co-sponsored by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of New Mexico. Watch the video of the 56-minute presentation and discussion here:

Meet the Panelists

Libby Hopkins is a Registered Nurse who holds a National Certification as a Hospice and Palliative Care Nurse (CHPN). She is also certified as a Hospice and Palliative Care Administrator (CHPCA). Libby has a Master’s Degree in Organizational Management, a Graduate Certificate in Applied Thanatology (the study of death, dying and bereavement), and a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing. She is the Director of Clinical Services for Hospice of New Mexico, and volunteers with the End-of-Life Options Leadership Coalition, Compassion and Choices Action Team and New Mexico Conversation Project. Libby also volunteers with the Chevre Kaddisha, providing holy washing to Jewish bodies in preparation for burial.

Revathi A-Davidson, MA (Vanderbilt University); MPH (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) is a retired healthcare and hospital administrator who had a long career at Presbyterian Healthcare Services in Albuquerque, NM. At Presbyterian, her leadership positions included the Oncology Program, Home HealthCare and Hospice Services, the Medicine Program (Adult Hospitalist and Intensivist Services) , and Kaseman Presbyterian Hospital and Campus. In retirement, she is involved with healthcare decision making and end of life care planning initiatives and is a member of the New Mexico End-of-Life Options Coalition. Revathi has also worked as a volunteer Spanish to English translator for domestic violence victims.

Keith Julian was awarded his BA degree in Regional Economics and Natural Science from Harvard University in 1964 and completed Master’s and Doctoral work in Earth and Environmental Science at the University of California–Los Angeles in 1976. In addition to co-authoring a best-selling textbook (“Physical Geography Today”), Keith has written more than 85 published scientific reports and technical papers, as well as serving as editorial consultant on nearly a dozen textbooks, instructor’s manuals, and cartographic documents. Recently he completed 12 years as Department Chairman and science faculty member at Albuquerque Academy, retiring in June, 2008. During his 40-year career in education, Keith taught courses in earth science, environmental science, astronomy, geology, and evolution as a part-time or full-time instructor at UCLA, Harvard-Westlake School, University of California–Santa Barbara Graduate School of Environmental Science, and for the University of California’s Extension Program, as well as Albuquerque Academy. He also spent more than twenty years as an environmental and earth science consultant, working throughout the U.S. and in Africa, Central America, and Asia, before making his final permanent home in New Mexico in 1996.

Gentle Death Panel Discussion

(L to R) Jean Anderson, moderator, Revathi A-Davidson, Libby Hopkins, Keith Julian

About the Before I Die New Mexico Festival

The six-day Before I Die New Mexico Festival offered activities to get us thinking about, talking about and doing something about our 100% mortality rate. Events took place October 30 to November 4, 2018, at multiple locations in Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Belen.

Thank you to the sponsors and partners who made the Before I Die New Mexico Festival possible:

  • A Good Goodbye Death educator Gail Rubin puts the “fun." in funeral planning.
  • EternityGardens.com Giving families looking for a final resting place for cremated remains guidance on the range of options available for people and pets.
  • National Guardian Life Insurance Company For more than 100 years, one of America’s most successful and highly rated independent mutual life insurance companies.
  • FRENCH Funerals and Cremations Albuquerque’s largest and oldest family-owned funeral service company.
  • Morris Hall New Mexico’s premiere estate planning attorneys.
  • EstatePros Your expert resource for property organization, distribution and administration.
  • Legacy Concierge Helping prevent identity theft, secure digital access to online accounts, and provide a host of other important services to the families of the deceased.
  • Passages International A leading provider of environmentally friendly funeral options for burial and cremated remains.
  • Zia Trust The Advisors’ Trust Company®.

Partners were La Puerta Natural Burial Ground, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of New Mexico, Guild Cinema, Berardinelli Family Funeral Service, Children’s Grief Center of New Mexico, Compassion & Choices NM Action Team, Daniels Family Funeral Services, Catholic Cemetery Association, and LifeIZShort.com.

Gail Rubin, CT, is author and host of the award-winning book and television series, A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die, Hail and Farewell: Cremation Ceremonies, Templates and Tips, and KICKING THE BUCKET LIST: 100 Downsizing and Organizing Things to Do Before You Die.

Rubin is a Certified Thanatologist (that's a death educator) and a popular speaker who uses humor and films to get the end-of-life and funeral planning conversation started. She "knocked 'em dead" with her TEDx talk, A Good Goodbye. She provides continuing education credit classes for attorneys, doctors, nurses, social workers, hospice workers, financial planners, funeral directors and other professionals. She's a Certified Funeral Celebrant and funeral planning consultant who has been interviewed in national and local print, broadcast and online media.

Known as The Doyenne of Death®, she is the event coordinator of the Before I Die NM Festival. She also hosts A Good Goodbye Internet radio show and produces Mortality Minute radio and online video spots. Her YouTube Channel features more than 450 videos!

Rubin is a member of the Association for Death Education and Counseling, the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association, Toastmasters International and the National Speakers Association New Mexico Chapter. Her speaking profile is available at eSpeakers.com.

Gail Rubin has been interviewed about funeral planning issues in national and local broadcast, print and online media. Outlets include The Huffington Post, Money Magazine, Kiplinger, CBS Radio News, WGN-TV,  and local affiliates for NPR, PBS, FOX, ABC-TV, CBS-TV and NBC-TV.

Sign up for a free planning form and occasional informative newsletter at her website, AGoodGoodbye.com.

A Good Goodbye
Albuquerque, NM