Robert A. Neimeyer, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of the Department of Psychology, University of Memphis, and maintains an active consulting and coaching practice. He also directs the Portland Institute for Loss and Transition, which provides online and onsite training internationally in grief therapy. Since completing his doctoral training at the University of Nebraska in 1982, he has conducted extensive research on the topics of death, grief, loss, and suicide intervention.
Neimeyer has published 30 books, including Techniques of Grief Therapy: Assessment and Intervention and Grief and the Expressive Arts: Practices for Creating Meaning, the latter with Barbara Thompson. The author of over 500 articles and book chapters, he is currently working to advance a more adequate theory of grieving as a meaning-making process, both in his published work and through his frequent professional workshops for national and international audiences.
Neimeyer is the Editor of the respected international journal, Death Studies, and served as President of the Association for Death Education and Counselling. In recognition of his scholarly contributions, he has been granted the Distinguished Research Award, the Distinguished Teaching Award, and the Eminent Faculty Award by the University of Memphis, elected Chair of the International Work Group on Death, Dying, and Bereavement, and given the Research Recognition, Clinical Practice and Lifetime Achievement Awards by the Association for Death Education and Counselling. Most recently, he has received the Phoenix Award: Rising to the Service of Humanity from the MISS Foundation, been given ADEC’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and been recognized as an Honoured Associate of the Viktor Frankl Association for his lifetime contributions to the study of meaning.
Dr Christopher J. Johnson received his Ph.D. in Sociology with a major in Aging and Family and minor in Social Psychology from Iowa State University, Sociology with major in Aging and Family. He earned his B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Denver. He has had a part time practice in gero-counseling with a gero-psychiatrist while in Louisiana as a licensed MFT, LPC.
Chris retired as Director of Gerontology and Professor of Gerontology and Sociology at the University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM). He also was on the Board of the Geriatric Education Centers at LSU and Ole Miss. At ULM, he developed an award-winning (best academic program in Louisiana by Governor Foster) online M.A. in Gerontology Program. As Director of the Institute of Gerontology (NIA grant-funded) he has published in numerous journals and books. Dr Johnson taught in the Dementia Studies graduate programs at Stirling and Edinburgh Universities, Scotland and worked for the Dementia Services Centre at Stirling University.
His exemplary teaching and research skills were recognized by being awarded a Distinguished Fellow in Gerontology. Working for Aging Consultants he and his wife Dr Roxann Johnson (PhD in Dementia Studies) have designed and developed over a hundred Memory Care neighbourhoods in long-term care homes in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. First published in the American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, the Johnson’s model of Alzheimer’s as Time Travel has won international acclaim.
In the area of teaching, Chris came to Texas State to initiate and be a major contributor to the new online M.S. in Dementia and Aging Studies (link to a program description). His online Masters in Gerontology at ULM was awarded as a top academic program among Louisiana Universities by Governor Foster. He was recognized among the top five teachers at his former University (The University of Louisiana at Monroe or ULM) and has won teaching accolades at Texas State being voted favourite Professor by the student Honor Society three times.
In research, besides procuring over 3 million dollars in grant and private funding, his interests are in end-of-life dementia care, social models of dementia care, suicide, thanatology, religiosity, and world religions. At his previous university, he was twice awarded “Researcher of the Year” in the School of Arts and Sciences. He has conducted a state-wide needs assessment of elderly in Iowa but specializes in oral histories. He was awarded an Endowed Professorship in Gerontology in Louisiana based upon his outstanding teaching and research skills.
Leeroy is the Clinical Director of a Palliative Medicine Service in Australia, who grew up and trained in East London, moving to Dorset for his postgraduate medical training. He has been working in palliative care since 2003, beginning in Lymington (UK), then New Plymouth and Auckland (New Zealand), before settling in Melbourne. Leeroy has developed leadership roles in clinical, educational and research activities and is the current President of the Australian & New Zealand Society of Palliative Medicine.
He has been a Clinical Lead for Schwartz Rounds and has an interest in cancer pain, health professional education, transitions in palliative care, communication skills, and holistic inter-professional care. His passion for improving the knowledge about palliative care has led to development and management of the Facebook page, “Palliative Medicine Teaching” which developed from medical student teaching .
Healthcare and society have an important role in supporting people and their families during life-threatening illness. The transition from living with an illness to dying from it affects people in different ways. It becomes even more important that we listen to understand and recognise where we can support people, their families and their social networks.
For these reasons, Leeroy remains dedicated to promoting compassionate healthcare and communities.
Dr Maggie Ellis is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the School of Psychology & Neuroscience, University of St Andrews where she develops teaching, training and consultancy in dementia care, based on her own research. Maggie has been working with and researching the lives and experiences of people with dementia, their family members and professional caregivers for twenty years. Her research portfolio includes the development of positive interventions to support people to live well with dementia and to maintain and create relationships. Maggie’s main research focus is on identifying and utilising the spared communication skills in people at very advanced stages of dementia. As such, she worked with collaborator Professor Arlene Astell, to develop Adaptive Interaction, a method of supporting meaningful communication between caregivers and people with very advanced dementia. Adaptive Interaction is a nonverbal technique that supports the building of interpersonal connections and relationships using movements, sounds and eye gaze. This work has generated much interest in the fields of both dementia research and care. Maggie has received personal invitations from the editors of the Journal of Dementia Care and the Journal of Counselling and Healthcare to write articles on this research. She has also given invited talks to multidisciplinary audiences from Dublin to Toronto. She has recently co-authored a book on Adaptive Interaction and was also recently honoured with an MBE.
Angela is a Consultant Haematologist in the United Kingdom.
She has been in her current post for 18 years. She trained in South London and Surrey and is originally from London. In her current post, Angela treats patients with the full range of haematological diseases, both benign and malignant. Many of these conditions are chronic and, as a result, she has known some of her patients and their families for almost 18 years too. She is passionate about the care of patients with haematological cancer, from the start of their cancer journey to the end. She believes in treating the whole patient as an individual and not just the disease.
Death is a part of this journey and we are fortunately much more open in our discussions about death today than in her early medical career and sees this as a great advance in managing patients and their families. Equally, for those patients fortunate to have been successfully treated, survivorship and getting back to a healthy life is key to a full recovery both physically and mentally.
She loves the countryside, travel, running and yoga and is shortly embarking on Yoga Teacher Training, which she hopes to bring to cancer patients in the NHS in the future.
Dr. Arian Nachat, MD Chief Executive Officer is an emergency medicine and palliative care physician, educator, and importantly, a changemaker. She is a regular speaker and contributor on emergency medicine, palliative care, Traditional Chinese Medicine and pain management. Most recently, she founded Pallity - a specialty-specific platform to access education, medical guidance, social support, as well as a marketplace for goods. Their goal is to ensure that anyone with palliative needs has access, regardless of diagnosis and prognosis. Dr. Nachat has been recognized for the past two years as “Top Doctor” by her peers. She founded Kaiser’s first inpatient integrative symptoms management service in northern California, served on the State of Oregon opiate prescribing taskforce and is an exam item writer for the American Board of Internal Medicine. Dr. Nachat currently practices emergency medicine and serves as clinical faculty at Balboa Naval Medical Center, the VA Medical Center and Scripps Memorial in San Diego, California.
With over 40 years in the Rail transport industry, starting as a Trainee Train Driver, then a Train Driver, then an Instructor Driver, Driver Manager, before becoming the Train Operator Interface Manager for Network Rail. His final position was as Rail Compliance Manager at Mersey travel. Tommy is now a Director of thredCiC Community interest Company.
After being misdiagnosed with bipolar, he was finally diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s in December 2011. Since his diagnosis he's been: Chair of the Service Users Reference Forum (SURF) Board member of the Nation Dementia Action Alliance (DAA) Member of the 3 Nations Dementia Working Group (3NDWG) A member of Everton pass on the memories group and he is also Vice Chair of the Liverpool DAA Transport Group.
In 2013 he won at the NHS Positively Awards the Recovery Champion and the Winner of Winners award. In 2014 he won the Innovate Dementia Award and he was awarded British Empire Medal June 2016 for work for People living with Dementia.
His goal in life is to help his Peers and their family Carers understand that you can still live a happy and productive life after a diagnoses and to take the fear and stigma out of dementia.
Olga is a death educator, certified in Thanatology, the study of death, dying, loss and grief. She is a dying well advocate, nurse educator, cannabis educator and grief counselor with over 25 years of professional experience as a registered nurse in various health care settings, including hospice palliative care. Her educational history includes a degree in Anthropology and Psychology, a Master’s degree in Religion and Culture, an interdisciplinary certificate in palliative care, along with her recent Cannabis Science certificate. Olga has been involved in national, provincial and local efforts to shift the way we view and approach our dying experience, death and grief, including how we care for each other at the end of life. She served as one of the founding faculty members for the Virtual School for Community Deathcare in Canada and is currently facilitating on-line Thanatology program courses through Centennial College, and the on-line End of Life Doula course through Douglas College across Canada.
Olga is also the founder and director of DyingMatters.ca a Death Education social enterprise and is the founder and current administrator of the Death Doula Ontario Network.
Until quite recently, Roberta (Robi) was the Head of Quality of Life at HC-One, one of the largest health and social care providers in the UK. She has over 20 years’ experience within operational and quality related roles in the sector. Robi studied economic history and psychology in Italy and relocated to the UK in 2003 to set up an advocacy project, which received formal recognition from HRH the Countess of Wessex for empowering people with profound disabilities to have a voice in decisions relating to their lives and the care that they receive.
She has committed her career to promoting personalised care and advocates for people receiving care to be recognised as individuals and to have control over the choices regarding their care and quality of life.
She is extremely passionate about value-based technology that can drive better outcomes for people receiving care.
Having worked in ministry for over 20 years and now specialising as a Chaplain in older persons care, Ashley is a passionate advocate for Spiritual, Pastoral and End of Life Care within healthcare settings. He now oversees the Spiritual and Pastoral needs of the Luxury Care Group (service users and staff), the delivery and maintenance of the end of life pathway within the company along with many other responsibilities.
Holding qualifications in many areas including, Community Chaplaincy, Grief and Bereavement Counselling, End of Life Care, Spiritual Care, activities planning along with being a qualified Soul Midwife and a Mental Health First aider he works hard on ensuring that people get the best support available. He is member of The Collage of Healthcare Chaplains and in 2020 was made a Fellow at the Society of Bereavement Practitioners for his dedication and commitment to the work of End of Life Ministry.
Jo is an experienced clinical social worker, currently working at a specialist palliative care unit in Melbourne, Australia. She holds postgraduate qualifications in bereavement counselling and has recently taken up a leadership role with Palliative Care Social Work Australia. This leading organisation represents social workers with experience and interest in palliative, end-of-life and bereavement care.
Jo is passionate about the provision of holistic, interdisciplinary, collaborative and compassionate healthcare for all.
After 30 years of ministry as a pastor for churches, Jerry began a new career as a hospice chaplain in 2010 and felt that he had found his true home in serving people on their end of life journey. Jerry serves as the System Director of Spiritual Counselors for Harbor Healthcare System, a multi-site hospice agency. Jerry is also the co-owner of The Heart of Hospice podcast and uses that platform to encourage and educate hospice professionals. In 2018 Jerry was selected to serve as a member of the Palliative Care Interdisciplinary Advisory Council for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. It’s his passion to use each of these roles to help improve the quality of life for every person needing hospice and palliative care.
Helen has worked in nursing for over 30 years, specializing in hospice and end of life care for the past 10 years. She is a Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Registered Nurse with a background in compliance and consulting. As co-owner of The Heart of Hospice, she provides end of life education and consulting services for both hospice providers and consumers. Helen’s passion for quality end of life care can be heard on The Heart of Hospice podcast as she leads discussions on hospice philosophy, how to get the most from your hospice experience, and advance care planning.
Lisa is Co-founder Dementia Support Services and is an experienced senior Occupational Therapist. She has gained a wealth of experience working within the National Health Service, Social Services and Private Sector. Part of her role involves post diagnostic counselling and is a trained Dementia Care Mapper, an observational tool which identifies the level of well-being in people living with any form of dementia .