Coda empowers easier, early end-of-life conversations, enabling you to Take Responsibility, Choose Your Own Way, and Embrace Life

We know how tough end-of-life discussions can be, so we use every means possible to help you comfortably and more easily start your conversation. Backed by research, Coda partners with families, health and religious professionals, communities, hospitals, universities, hospices, elder care facilities and global partner organizations to make end-of-life conversations a natural part of life.

We develop tools, such as our GoWish cards, now available in 10 languages, to help you and your loved ones introduce these conversations in a more comfortable way; one that respects multiple cultures, and encourages people to hold conversations before they become ill – at any stage of life.

We also offer resources that are geared to matching your individual needs via our directory – it’s not a one size fits all list, instead it recognizes that each of us have different needs at different times.

Coda Directory
We support and embrace worldwide research which helps you to overcome stigmas and obstacles, and is already driving major changes to help you get what you want. For example:
  • Understanding the dire need for end-of-life conversations, major medical centers have begun to provide classes to help their teams hold conversations with patients.
  • Medicare and other health insurance companies now pay physicians to start end-of-life discussions with their patients.
  • Family and senior centers offer classes to help families deal with the issues and fiduciaries, lawyers and estate planners are integrating Coda’s Go Wish cards into end-of-life discussions with their clients.
The Coda Alliance is here for you. We are committed to
  • Education about end-of-life care options
  • Guidance in sharing experiences for both embracing life and for end-of-life planning
  • Providing positive ways to encourage professional and religious communities to hold end-of-life discussions and to provide Advance Directives.
  • Bringing organizations, communities, leaders and research centers together to overcome barriers to end-of-life conversation, care and preparation.
  • Implementing social change in end-of-life care and conversation
  • Expanding the languages available for GoWish

The Coda Leadership Team

Cindy Safe

Larry Kavinoky

Julie Groves

Larry Wildemuth

Jennifer Just

Dr. Gary Lee

Coda History – 16 Years of Advocacy for “The Conversation”

  • 1999

    Began as The Community Coalition for End of Life Care
  • 2001

    Coda Alliance established as a nonprofit by founders Dr. Elizabeth Menkin and the Santa Clara County End of Life Community
  • 2003

    Respecting Choices community trainings begin
  • 2004

    After extensive research, first release of GoWish Cards, funded by the Archstone foundation
  • 2005

    Continuing educational program on end-of-life conversations and Advance Directives
  • 2010

    British English version of GoWish, The Conversation Game
  • 2011

    GoWish available in Spanish. Now available in multiple languages through partners
  • 2014

    Began building a Consumer Reports-style directory of end-of-life conversations
  • 2016

    GoWish cards can be found in all areas of geriatric care, educational institutions, professional legal and financial practices, as well as private homes. GoWish app will soon be available for smartphones, adaptable to many languages

Coda Alliance Conferences: Speakers

Dennis McCullough, M.D.

Geriatrician Dennis McCullough has spent his life helping families to cope with their parents' aging and eventual final passage, experiences he too faced with his own mother. In this comforting and much-needed book, he recommends a new approach: Slow Medicine.

Dr. Dennis McCullough has been an "in-the-trenches" family physician and geriatrician for 30 years. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Medical School, and serves as a faculty member in the Department of Community and Family Medicine at Dartmouth Medical School.

Dr. McCullough is a member of the American Geriatrics Society, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine, and the American Medical Directors Association, as well as the coauthor of The Little Black Book of Geriatrics. He lives with his wife, the poet Pamela Harrison, in Norwich, VT.

Maggie Callanan

Since becoming a hospice nurse in 1981, Maggie Callanan has studied, taught, and written about death and dying. This includes the unique and symbolic communication of the dying, which is often labeled as "confused language" and consequently often ignored by professional and family caregivers. Addressing medical, personal, emotional, and spiritual aspects of life's final journeys, Maggie delivers practical, no-nonsense answers to difficult questions tempered by humor, wisdom, and compassion.

She is the co-author of the celebrated book Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness Needs and Communication of the Dying, which is now published in ten languages.

Our Partners