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The Center for Healthcare Decisions has given itself a tough task. Its staff tries to bring together people from different economic brackets and get them to talk in very specific terms about all facets of health care.

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Initiative 1000, the so-called "Death with Dignity Act," took effect in Washington state on March 5, after being approved by voters in November. And it has put hospitals in a strange position. Hospitals are considered the place where doctors and staff do everything in their power to keep a person alive. Now hospitals are being asked to allow their patients to kill themselves.

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Update: Dr. Gupta removed himself from the list of candidates on March 5, telling CNN's Larry King, "I think for me it really came down to a sense of timing more than anything else. This job...takes us away from our children for so many years at once, and I sort of came to grips that I'd probably be away for several years of their lives."

Dr. Sanjay Gupta appears to be the first surgeon general picked not for his public service but for his public image.

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Dr. Sherry Glied's principal areas of research are in health policy reform and mental healthcare policy. She served as a senior economist for healthcare and labor market policy to the President's Council of Economic Advisers, under both President Bush and President Clinton. In the latter part of her term, she was a participant in President Clinton's Health Care Task Force. In 1996-1997, Dr. Glied was a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School. Her research on health policy has focused on the financing of healthcare services in the U.S.

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Peter J. Pronovost, MD, PhD is a practicing anesthesiologist and critical care physician, teacher, researcher, and international patient safety leader. Dr. Pronovost is a Professor in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (Departments of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, and Surgery); in the Bloomberg School of Public Health (Department of Health Policy and Management) and in the School of Nursing. He is also Medical Director for the Center for Innovation in Quality Patient Care, which supports quality and safety efforts at the Johns Hopkins Hospitals. In 2003 Dr.

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Pete Delgado is currently the Chief Executive Officer for the Los Angeles County- University of Southern California (LAC+USC) Healthcare Network. He is responsible for directing the leadership and operations of all health service programs for LAC-USC
Healthcare Network including the Medical center, the tertiary care hub of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services and the primary teaching facility of the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. As a seasoned healthcare executive, Mr.

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Len Nichols, a highly respected healthcare economist, is the director of the Center for Health Policy Research and Ethics at George Mason University. Previously he directed the Health Policy Program at the New America Foundation, which aimed to expand health insurance coverage to all Americans while reining in costs and improving the efficiency of the overall health care system. Before joining New America, Dr.

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Dr. Laurence Baker is an associate professor of health research and policy, and a fellow with the Center for Health Policy (CHP) and the Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research (PCOR) at Stanford University. He is an economist interested in the organization and economic performance of the U.S. healthcare system. His research focuses on the effects of managed care on the healthcare system, the effects of regulation on healthcare markets, the determinants and effects of technological change in medicine, the culture of patient safety in U.S.

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Dr. David M. Gaba is director of the Patient Safety Center of Inquiry for the VA Palo Alto Health Care System. He is also a professor of anesthesiology at the Stanford School of Medicine and a fellow with the university's Center for Health Policy (CHP) and the Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research (PCOR).

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Over the past 24 years, Mr. Changvang Her has been involved in the Hmong community as a healthcare interpreter, cultural broker and director of several programs for the Merced-based nonprofit Healthy House. Mr. Her currently directs language service projects and its \"Partners in Healing Project,\" which works to create more understanding between physicians and Hmong shamans in the Central Valley. Mr. Her facilitates home visits that allow Western doctors to observe traditional ceremonies, and he shares information about shaman tools, altars and the cultural meanings of traditional practices.

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