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Honoring Choices Massachusetts was founded in 2013 by Ellen DiPaola, an attorney, and Kathy Hankel, a nurse who shared the same vision of helping all adults make a health care plan to get quality person-directed care all through their lives.

Ellen M. DiPaola, President & CEO

Ms. DiPaola is an attorney, with a former practice concentrated in Guardianship and Conservatorship and health care planning. Ellen has worked extensively in helping adults and families create personal health care plans as a Respecting Choices Certified Instructor.  She is an appointed member of the Department of Public Health Palliative Care & Quality of Life Interdisciplinary Advisory Council, chairs the Health Care Planning and MOLST Sub-Committee. Ellen is a certified Mediator, and is an experienced advocate for the rights of adults with cognitive challenges.

Kathy Hankel RN MSN, Co-Founder

Ms. Hankel has over thirty years experience as a nurse and a nurse educator. Kathy has extensive consulting experience with curriculum development, program administration and development. She has been a National League for Nursing Accrediting evaluator for over twenty years. Kathy is a Respecting Choices Instructor. Kathy has co-developed an Advance Care Planning in Nursing Education curricula. She will help incorporate her innovative and flexible nursing education curricula into programs at community colleges, nursing schools, hospitals programs, senior living facilities, and any setting where nursing and health care planning education and tools are vital.

The Honoring Choices Massachusetts Model

Honoring Choices Massachusetts (MA) is an independent, non-profit consumer-focused Massachusetts incorporated organization.  Our mission is consumer focused to help every adult understand and exercise their right to direct their care, make a health care plan, and get the best possible care that honors their care goals, values and choices, starting at 18 years old and continuing all through their life.

We offer a structured health care planning approach that flows from Massachusetts law, and provides the same Massachusetts based language and tools to consumers and care providers to foster effective early and on-going discussions.

Our mission is highly collaborative. Together with the help and expertise of our Community Partners and Alliance Partners we strive to address the barriers of age, ability, race, culture and economic challenges that block access to timely effective care planning and quality person-directed care, not just at the end of life, but all through a persons life.

The Honoring Choices MA signature "Who’s Your Agent?® Program is the first public health education and engagement initiative to help adults open the door to lifelong health care planning discussions in Massachusetts. As our Partner network grows across the state, we are able to address regional and statewide challenges and work together toward systematic change.

We have licensed our name from Honoring Choices Minnesota, integrating their collaborative, community-based model into our consumer-focused initiative. We utilize the Respecting Choices® evidence based methodology within our Massachusetts educational platform.  Respecting Choices® systematic approach is considered the gold standard in advance care planning programs.

Our Funding

Honoring Choices Massachusetts is a 501(c)(3) incorporated non-profit organization privately funded through grants and donations.  We welcome Corporate Champions and Foundations to support our unique consumer-focused, highly collaborative movement. Your support will open new pathways for all Massachusetts residents to access person-directed care, and directly support our Partners in providing hands-on help to adults and their families in communities across the Commonwealth. To learn more, contact Ellen DiPaola, President, 781-642-0454,

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