NMU Offers Grief Speaker Series

Grieving support (iStock image)

Northern Michigan University is hosting a Grief Education Speaker Series. The free event is open to the public and will feature virtual presentations from three nationally recognized experts on the topic. 

Kenneth Doka, professor emeritus at the graduate school of the College of New Rochelle and senior consultant to the Hospice Foundation of America, will present from 6-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 23. His talk is titled “Individual and Collective Grieving in the COVID Era and Beyond.”  

Doka's presentation explores the unique issues that the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to have on both individuals and society. He will discuss how the virus creates an array of losses that is likely to lead to a ‘shadow pandemic' of complicated grief. The presentation explores strategies for assisting mourners and addresses the possibilities of post-traumatic growth. 

Doka has authored more than 40 books and more than 100 articles. Doka has extensive experience in the area of grief and has provided keynoted addresses throughout North America as well as Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. He has appeared on CNN and Nightline. He was elected president of the Association for Death Education and Counseling in 1993. He has earned numerous awards, including the coveted Herman Feifel Award. 

Doug Smith, lead instructor for the University of Wisconsin's grief support specialist certification program, will present "Different Ways of Grieving, Different Ways of Healing” from 6-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 16th. He will discuss how to focus on people's strengths and expectations while matching tools and techniques for the particular person. He will emphasize how people all grieve differently—some emotionally, some cognitively and some through actions—and heal differently.  

The UW certification program has trained more than 700 professionals in 39 states and 14 countries. Smith has conducted extensive grief training workshops in all 50 states and internationally. He published eight books on topics related to death and grief. He also has extensive personal experiences related to grief. 

Erica Srinivasan, associate professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, will present “Supporting Grieving Students and Communities” from 6-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 30. She will share best practices for working with grief, including education about various types of losses and grief reactions, such as disenfranchised grief and ambiguous loss, and coping approaches.  

Srinivasan serves as a co-chair for the gerontology emphasis at the university and as director of the Center for Grief and Death Education, helping to organize the International Death, Grief and Bereavement Conference. She is also an instructor with the UW-Madison Grief Support Specialist Program. 

The series is sponsored by the NMU Department of Sociology and Anthropology and the Department of Social Work. The zoom link is available here. The meeting ID is 910 5650 7168 and the passcode is 403449.

Prepared By

Jill Vermeulen
Student Writer

Categories: Around NMU