Thanatology

From Thanatology to Counseling and Beyond

Posted by | Clinical Counseling, Graduate School Highlights, Thanatology | No Comments

WeinsteinElsie Weinstein was thrilled when Hood College developed its Counseling program, which she enrolled in as part of the first class in 2015. Born in Miami, Florida, Elsie has lived everywhere from Laramie, Wyoming to Richmond, Atlanta, New York City, and the Greek island of Corfu. She was accepted to Hood out of high school – she still has her original acceptance letter – but circumstances prevented her from attending. For most of her career, she worked as a paralegal for several law firms in Montgomery County. She was also active with the Maryland Land Title Association, helping to develop ongoing continuing education classes within the residential real estate world. She noticed that much of her energies were going towards counseling others, something that she had always been interested in, but hadn’t wanted to pursue due to policy and politics.

In 2013, Elsie got earned her Master of Arts degree in Thanatology at Hood and then came back for her counseling degree. She currently works for the Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County. Elsie loves to travel and take photographs. She maintains a small side business, making note cards and matted prints of her photography and being hired to document small events; sometimes earning enough to pay those expenses. She looks forward to being able to apply what she is learning at Hood in a private practice. She plans to use her degrees in Thanatology and Counseling to help people dealing with grief and to help them move forward in a life that changes drastically from what one knows and believes. Elsie is a three-time cancer survivor and has volunteered for the American Cancer Society, Montgomery Hospice, Frederick County Hospice, and 4H Therapeutic Riding Center in Thurmont. She recently attended the American Counseling Association conference in San Francisco as a volunteer representing Hood College.

With two graduate degrees from Hood, we know great things lie ahead!

Outstanding Student- Thanatology

Posted by | Thanatology, Uncategorized | No Comments

i-R525fd4-LBeverly entered Hood’s Thanatology program in 2011 as she approached her retirement from the U.S. government.  She retired in 2013 after more than 32 years of service at the Social Security Administration.  Since retiring, Beverly has become an ardent volunteer for Montgomery Hospice, the Association for Death Education and Counseling, and others.  While working toward her Thanatology degree, she served as graduate assistant to the program chair for two years.  In and out of the classroom, Beverly has been a peer leader in the program and is the clear choice for this year’s Outstanding Thanatology Student Award.

Hood College hosts Death Cafe – Frederick

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death cafe

Hood College will host the 2017 edition of Death Cafe – Frederick, from 2 – 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 6 in the Whitaker Center Commons.

Death Cafe is an international movement where people gather to eat cake, drink tea, and discuss death with the intention of increasing awareness so people make the most of their lives. It is a group directed discussion with no agenda, but not a grief support group or counseling session.

Last year’s Death Cafe recorded an impressive turnout. According to Kaili van Waveren, this year’s co-organizer, “I attended the event and was blown away by how eager people were to actually talk about death, and how supportive and validating people were to each other. Everyone I spoke with said that they were very impressed, and a number of the RSVPs I have received mentioned that they attended last year and were excited to participate in another Death Cafe.”

She added; “We believe that talking about death is important: mindfulness of one’s mortality can inspire rich and purposeful living. We also know that talking about death can be scary and sad and Death Cafe provides a supportive and fun environment in which people can discuss their fears and feelings. We hope that many students will join, but also see this as a service to community and a great opportunity for outreach.”

Attendees should expect a low-key and upbeat atmosphere in which they can talk about death and meet like-minded people while enjoying delicious baked goods!

Charting the Labyrinth: Hood Graduate Student to Present at Conference

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Kailipic6Kaili van Waveren, a Master’s candidate in Hood College’s Thanatology program, will present research at the 11th Annual Graduate Student Conference: Beyond Disciplines: Understanding the World Around Us at the University of Rhode Island in April.  She is one of several Hood students presenting.

Kaili’s specific area of interest is suicidology.  In “Charting the Labyrinth: An Exploration of Suicide Among 5-to 24-year-olds in America.” she uses her educational background to research and write about suicide from an epidemiological and cultural perspective, with a focus on child and preadolescent suicidality.  She hopes that this research will provide the scaffolding for the future research she plans to undertake and that this conference will be the first of many in her future.

Kaili received her undergraduate degree – with a double major in writing and anthropology – from Johns Hopkins University.

Hood College Thanatology Graduate to direct health services in Manatee County, Florida

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Joshua Barnett 8Joshua T. Barnett, an alumnus of Hood College’s Master of Arts in Thanatology program, has been hired by Manatee County, Florida as the county’s new health services manager.  Barnett joins the county’s Human Services Division to lead Manatee’s “Community Health Care Initiative” and to serve as the county’s staff liaison to the Health Care Advisory Board.

Barnett has spent his career managing public mental health, substance use and physical health treatment services for private, nonprofit and state government entities. For the past three-plus years he served as a consultant to a settlement agreement between the Justice Department and the state of Delaware, monitoring quality and treatment outcomes of community-based supportive services within the substance abuse and mental health division of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services.

“Joshua joins our team with a broad range of needed attributes and skills,” deputy county administrator Karen Windon said in a statement on Friday. “His background in behavioral health and experience integrating primary care into that setting is exactly what we need in our community. That focus, coupled with his experience in data analytics and quality as they relate to the Institute for Healthcare Improvement Triple Aim, will place Manatee County on a positive path.”

Barnett said in a statement: “I am thrilled for the opportunity to return to my home state of Florida, to work with community shareholders on a collaborative agenda to enhance the use of Manatee County’s public health resources in the areas of prevention, intervention, care coordination, and treatment outcomes.”

He has served on boards throughout the Mid-Atlantic area focusing primarily on public awareness related to health care policy, improving mental health and substance use disorder screenings and grief awareness.

Barnett has a master’s of health science degree from The Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore and a bachelor’s of science in psychology from Florida State University. He also is a certified psychiatric rehabilitation practitioner and is an internationally certified co-occurring disorders professional.

Hood’s Thanatology program is one of the few in the United States and the only one of this type available in Maryland. Both the certificate and master’s coursework specifically prepares individuals to work with the terminally ill and the bereaved and to provide death education.

Internationally Known Thanatologist to Speak at Hood College

Posted by | Gerontology, Graduate School Highlights, Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Behavior (Previously Human Sciences), Thanatology | No Comments
Dr. Neimeyer

Dr. Neimeyer

Robert A. Neimeyer, Ph.D., will be the featured speaker for the Friday, April 1, 2016 program of the Dana G. Cable Memorial Thanatology Lecture Series. The internationally respected thanatologist will also conduct a workshop on Saturday, April 2, 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. His topic will be contemporary understandings of grieving as a meaning-making process and what it implies for individuals and families.

Both events are open to the public and free of charge. The lecture will be held in Rosenstock Hall’s Hodson Auditorium. To register for the workshop, which will take place at Hodson Science and Technology Center, Room 131, email psychologyrsvp@hood.edu.

Dr. Neimeyer is a Professor in the Department of Psychology, University of Memphis, where he also maintains an active clinical practice. Since completing his doctoral training at the University of Nebraska in 1982, he has published 30 books, including Techniques of Grief Therapy: Creative Practices for Counseling the Bereaved and Grief and the Expressive Arts:  Practices for Creating Meaning (with Barbara Thompson). Dr. Neimeyer serves as Editor of the journal Death Studies and has authored nearly 500 articles and book chapters.

Find out more about Hood’s thanatology certificate and master’s degree programs.

Thanatology Program Holds Death Cafe

Posted by | Gerontology, Graduate School Highlights, Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Behavior (Previously Human Sciences), Thanatology | No Comments

Recently, the Graduate School at Hood College’s Thanatology program hosted a Death Cafe for the greater Frederick community. The Saturday event–attended by 41 individuals ranging from hospice volunteers, a physician, and a death doula–spent the morning enjoying refreshments while discussing death. The objective was to increase awareness of death with a view of helping people make the most of their finite lives.

The group talked about right to die legislation, death anxiety, young individuals’ changing views of death and other death-related topics. Facilitators included thanatology program graduates Bunny O’Dell and Elsie Weinstein and current students Emily Fair, Paula Grant and Beverly Rollins.

Find out more about Hood’s thanatology certificate and master’s degree programs.

Chat About Death and Dying

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death cafe 3Would you like to better understand death so that you can make the most of your finite life? The Hood College Death Café will facilitate a casual conversation surrounding this very question on Saturday, Feb. 27. The Death Café is free to the public and will be held 10 a.m. until noon at Hood’s Whitaker Campus Center at 401 Rosemont Ave., Frederick, MD.

Thanatology graduate students Emily Fair and Paula Grant will host the event. Cookies, coffee and tea will be served. According to the host group, “Most—but not all–people are averse to talking, or even thinking, about death. At our Death Café, we hope to offer a welcoming venue for those who do think about this important topic and want to share their thoughts. We hope they leave feeling enlightened, inspired and stimulated.”

For more information, visit deathcafe.com/deathcafe/2868/or  www.facebook.com/deathcafeathood/.  

Former FBI Thanatologist Teaching at Hood

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Kathleen D Hall Photo (2)

Kathleen D. Hall has utilized her M.A. in Thanatology from Hood College to assist victims of complex, high-profile crimes, disasters and tragedies across the country and to educate special agents and law enforcement about victim assistance. Now retired from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, where she was hired as the Bureau’s first Thanatologist, she is supporting Hood College as a member of the new Thanatology Advisory Council in addition to her role as an adjunct professor in the Psychology/Thanatology program.

In 2004, Kathleen served as a disaster cadre member for FEMA, assisting victims devastated by four hurricanes in Florida. She then joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation, serving as Victim Assistance Program Specialist, Unit Chief and Deputy Program Director for the FBI’s Office for Victim Assistance in Washington, DC.

Representing the FBI, the Department of Justice and the Department of State, Kathleen traveled internationally to speak about victim assistance and assist local law enforcement with start-up victim assistance efforts.  In 2011, as the Bureau’s first Line of Duty Death Liaison, Kathleen developed and implemented the FBI Line of Duty Death protocol, for which she received the FBI Knowledge Award for innovation and excellence.

Kathleen received the FBI Director’s Award Distinguished Service to Victims of Federal Crime, the Bureau’s highest award, for her exemplary assistance to victims, families and survivors of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting in Newtown, CT, and the U.S. Department of Justice Federal Service Award for her coordination of services to the Boston Marathon Bombing victims.  In 2014, Kathleen was asked to lead and develop an FBI National Law Enforcement Victim Assistance Training and Certification Program to promote the need for Victim Specialists within local, state and federal law-enforcement agencies throughout the country.

Kathleen retired from the FBI in 2015, but she continues to serve in a number of capacities within law enforcement, hospital and educational environments to communicate the need to expand victim assistance and death education.

Thanatology Program Announces Advisory Board

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The Hood College Graduate School recently welcomed the first Advisory Board for the Thanatology program. The group’s mission is to provide advice, guidance and recommendations regarding program and goal development, marketing and program implementation to ensure the program’s future success.

The new Board includes experts in the fields of thanatology, hospice care, gerontology and funeral administration:

  • RaeAnn Butler, Administrator, Edenton Retirement Community
  • Laurel A. Cucchi, Executive Director, Hospice of Frederick County
  • Gary Fink, Vice President of Spiritual Care and Volunteer Services, Montgomery Hospice
  • Kathleen D. Hall, Program Specialist, FBI Victim’s Assistance Program
  • Jarred Harrington, Vice President of Operations, Alden-Harrington Funeral Home and Thanatology student
  • Jacqui Kreh, Maryland Licensed Funeral Director/Mortician and Certified Funeral Celebrant, Stauffer Funeral Homes
  • Suzanne Morris, Chaplain, Homewood Retirement Center of Frederick
  • Rebecca S. Morse, adjunct professor at George Mason University, University of Maryland at Shady Grove, Marian University and Hood College
  • Donna Mowry, Pastoral Counseling Program Candidate at Loyola University
  • Carolyn True, Director, Frederick County Department of Aging

The Board also includes program alumni and students and, as ex officio members, Thanatology program faculty representatives, the Dean of the Graduate School and the Provost.

At its inaugural August 6, 2015, meeting, Advisory Board members were asked to submit responses by September 1 to three questions: (1)   Given the larger program developments at Hood College and elsewhere, who should be Hood’s audience for the Thanatology degree today?; ( 2)  Do the program’s learning outcomes address the needs of today’s audience?; and ( 3)  How can Hood better market its Thanatology program?  The program director, Dr. Elizabeth MacDougall, will in turn present the feedback to the Dean of the Graduate School for consideration.