UCLA ASA to Host Dr. Jack Kevorkian Lecture on Saturday

LOS ANGELES—Dr. Jack Kevorkian, one of America’s most prominent physicians, and widely considered a leading expert on Euthanasia, will be the guest of honor at a lecture at University of California, Los Angeles’s Royce Hall on Saturday, January 15 at 7 p.m.

The event, hosted by the Armenian Students’ Association at UCLA (ASA) in collaboration with the Armenian-American Medical Society of California (AAMSC), will include a lecture, audience discussion and private reception at UCLA, one of the country’s top academic and research institutions.

The event will be moderated by UCLA alumnus and former Foreign Minister of the Republic of Armenia, Dr. Raffi Hovannisian.

Since the 1950s, because of Dr. Kevorkian’s interest as a pathologist in determining the time of a patient’s death, he was dubbed by colleagues “Dr. Death,” a name later picked up by the media in the 1990s.

Topics to be discussed include his childhood in Pontiac, Michigan; his parents’ experience as survivors of the Armenian Genocide of 1915; and his life after his prison release.

The lecture and following question and answer period will be held at UCLA’s Royce Hall. General admission is $20 and $15 for UCLA Students.  Parking for the event is available at Parking Lot 5, off Sunset Blvd. 340 Royce Drive Los Angeles, CA 90095.

Following the lecture, the ASA will host a private reception for VIP ticket holders which benefits the ASA and AAMSC scholarship programs. Tickets can be purchased at Ticketmaster here. For more information, contact UCLA Central Ticket Office (310) 825-2101 Will-call will be at the Box Office prior to the event. Photo ID will be required.

Kevorkian, a world renowned pathologist and controversial advocate and practitioner of physician-assisted suicide, who says he has assisted in more than 130 suicides, was tried five times for assisted suicide in the 1990s. It was only in his last trial in 1999 that the prosecution dropped the assisted suicide charge and charged him with murder. The trial resulted with Kevorkian being convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 10 to 25 years in prison for assisting in the suicide of a man in the final stages of ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis). Kevorkian was denied parole in 2005 but released on parole in June 2007 for poor health after serving 8 years in prison.

Kevorkian, believes in the fundamental right of an individual to make end-of-life decisions. Following his prison release, Kevorkian said he would abstain from assisting any more terminal patients with death, and his role in the matter would strictly be to persuade states to change their laws on assisted suicide. At the time of Kevorkian’s release, Oregon was the only state to legally permit doctor-assisted suicide; Montana and Washington state have since legalized it as well. He has travelled throughout the US lecturing at Universities and appearing on numerous television news programs.

In 2008, Kevorkian ran for Michigan’s 9th Congressional seat as an independent. He came in third place and received 2.6% of the vote.

“We’re honored to have Dr. Kevorkian attend the lecture in person and discuss the issues to which he has dedicated his life,” said UCLA ASA president Nina Babaian.

“As members of a non-profit organization with the goal of mentoring the next generation, the AAMSC is very glad to work with UCLA’s ASA on hosting Dr. Kevorkian. He has inspired and provoked much thought amongst medical professionals,” said AAMSC president Dr. Vicken Sepilian.

”Dr. Kevorkian was a polarizing figure who altered the course of history in late 20th Century America – not just in the field of medicine, but across the spectrum of civil liberties,” said UCLA alumnus, and Arpa International Film Festival director Alex Kalognomos, who will serve as the event’s emcee. The Kevorkian documentary “Right to Exit” was featured at the Los Angeles-based festival in 2010.

Kevorkian was the subject of the HBO film You Don’t Know Jack, which premiered April 24, 2010. The film was nominated for 15 Emmy Awards. Kevorkian was portrayed by Academy Award-winning actor Al Pacino who was awarded the 2010 Best Actor Emmy for his performance as Kevorkian. The film co-starred Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon and the film continues to garner award recognition from the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild, Satellite Awards, and Television Critics Association Awards.
About Dr. Kevorkian

Dr. Jack Kevorkian (born May 26, 1928) is an American pathologist, right-to-die activist, painter, composer, instrumentalist and author. He is best-known for publicly championing a terminal patient’s right to die via physician-assisted suicide; he claims to have assisted at least 130 patients to that end. He famously said that “dying is not a crime.” Beginning in 1999 Kevorkian served eight years of a 10-to-25-year prison sentence for second-degree murder. He was released on parole on June 1, 2007, on condition that he would not offer suicide advice to any other person. Available for download without charge, is a copy of his book at www.amendmentnine.com.

About the ASA of UCLA

The Armenian Students’ Association at UCLA was established in 1945 to promote and encourage the academic, intellectual, and social advancement of UCLA’s approximately 500 students of Armenian descent.

About Armenian-American Medical Society of California

The mission of AAMSC is to cultivate and develop professional, social, and friendly relations amongst its members, and to contribute toward the improvement of the health services rendered to the Armenian community in the Diaspora and Armenia. Since its inception, the Armenian American Medical Society of California has been a vibrant and integral part of the community in all its endeavors. Programs include Pediatric Epilepsy Project, Rural Hospital Project, Juvenile Diabetes Project, AAMSC Scholorship and Mentorship Programs as well as several other programs and projects. For more information, please visit www.aamsc.com.

About UCLA

UCLA is a shared public asset, owned and operated by the 38 million people of California. UCLA is one of the world’s great research universities. Faculty includes Nobel Laureates and Pulitzer Prize winners. Interdisciplinary teaching and research is a particular strength, with initiatives in the arts, stem cells and other biosciences, nanoscience, international studies and the environment. There are almost 40,000 students at UCLA. The campus is a cultural magnet for the entire Southern California region. Performances and lectures fill Royce Hall with enthusiastic audiences for music, dance, debate and the spoken word. UCLA’s ultimate goal as a public research university is the creation and application of knowledge to better the lives and well-being of people. More information is available here.

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7 Comments

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  4. Ed said:

    What an abomination. What about assisted life rather than assisted suicide? We seem to be ready to celebrate anyone who is Armenian, regardless of whether there is anything to celebrate. A classic case of double standards – people attending this event may go to communion on Sunday completely disregarding or oblivious to the fact that their celebration of Kevorkian and their (even nominal) Christian faith are incompatible.

    • I Back Jack said:

      Hey Ed,

      If you actually knew what he stood for instead of following the media tactics of fear, you would actually know this man stands for patients rights, personal liberty, and the ending of suffering. Take religion out of medicine and you’ll see that this man is an angel of mercy.

      If you attend this event, you might actually learn a thing or two about being compassionate respecting the rights of others.

    • AK said:

      An individual’s and patient’s right to choose the course of their own life, particularly when they are suffering from an intractable, debilitating, and terminal disease (such as an overwhelming metastatic cancer to bone / lungs / brain) is a basic and essential human right. No government entity nor religion should impede on that right and Dr. Kevorkian’s methods, although controversial, are a means to achieve that end with dignity. I don’t believe any group or anyone should tell another human being who is in immense suffering that they should continue suffering because it is Christian and / or a government body decided that they should continue suffering terrible pain and disability. What is the rationale for forcing a patient to be in torment when there are no options or therapies left and even more significantly, if neurological function is compromised or not present ?

    • FSM said:

      Keep fairy tales out of human rights.

      Thank You. May my noodly appendage touch you.

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