Beverly 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 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!
Kaili 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.
Joshua 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.
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 email@example.com.
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.
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.
Would 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/.
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.
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.
Chad Harris is the 2015 recipient of the Dr. Dana G. Cable Outstanding Thanatology Student Award. While at Hood, Chad showcased the power of communication and education to build and strengthen bonds with the revival of the Thanatology program’s student newsletter. As a blog contributor, he uses his writing talent to help combat the stigma that death — one of the few universal human experiences — is a topic which should never be discussed.
Chad’s current research is focused heavily on the responsible use of communication in moments of public tragedy. He hopes to help educate media organizations and public-safety forces on how to interact with the grieving during tragedies to ensure that they are not harmed by the harsh spotlight of the 24-hour news cycle and endless social-media scrutiny.
Working with fellow Hood Thanatology students, Chad helped to organize and run Frederick’s first Death Cafe, a gathering at which people came together and shared their thoughts on a variety of issues surrounding death and dying. He is eager to participate in a second Death Cafe that will take place in Frederick later in 2015.