The following is a republished press release from a community organization or member and NOT written by the Ithaca Voice … click here to submit community announcements directly to The Voice, or contact me at

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Sandy Bem, a 64 year old Cornell psychology professor, was alone in her bedroom one night in May 2009, watching an HBO documentary called “The Alzheimer’s Project.” For two years, Sandy had been forgetting names of things and confusing similar-sounding words. As she followed the documentary she took a simple memory test being given to a patient and, alarmingly, failed it.

Subsequent testing at the University of Rochester Medical center provided her diagnosis; amnestic mild cognitive impairment – likely to progress to Alzheimer’s disease within ten years. By her 65th birthday, Sandy had made the decision to “…live only for as long as I continue to be myself”.

New York State is currently grappling with legislation regarding a terminally ill person’s right to die.  Consider the pros and cons of this issue as panelists discuss the effort in New York to legalize physician-assisted dying. Currently in New York, promoting a person’s suicide attempt is a class E felony. All are invited to the Panel Discussion of “Death with Dignity” legislation and a screening of “How to Die in Oregon” on Thursday, April 14, 2016, 6-9pm, Cornell Law School, Room 184.

Panelists include:

  • Dennis Vacco, Esq., former New York State Attorney General, in case of Vacco v. Quill Dennis successfully argued that Physician Assisted Suicide was not a constitutionally protected right.
  • Timothy E. Quill, M.D., Professor of Medicine, Psychiatry, and Medical Humanities at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry and Director of the Center for Ethics, Humanities and Palliative Care.
  • Professor Daryl Bem, Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Cornell University and husband of the late Sandra Bem.
  • Father Daniel T. McMullin, Sacramental Minister, Associate Director of CURW at Cornell University.
  • Cynthia Grant Bowman, Dorothea S. Clarke Professor of Law at Cornell Law School.

Please RSVP:

(Featued image courtesy of Clearcut films)

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Michael Smith

Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.