May 28 & 29, 2019
SOMETIMES THE ONLY CHOICES ARE HOW WE FACE DEATH,
AND HOW OUR COMMUNITY CAN SUPPORT US.
There’s nothing inherently medical about dying. It’s much larger than medicine. It’s purely human. Part of the missions is to keep all of this couched in humanity, not medical science, or social science, but really a full arc of humanity. Kindness, total openness, vulnerability, exchange.~ BJ Miller, MD, End Game
End Game, an Academy Award nominated documentary, is about one thing we all share as human beings – the experience of death and dying. Many of us will be called on to be caregivers at some point in our lives, and many of us will be patients. As advances in medicine continue to develop treatments and technology to sustain and extend our lives are allowing people to live longer with serious and chronic illness. And yet creating the space to talk about death and our values around end-of-life care is more often than not, stressful and emotionally difficult. Fear of the unknown or of saying the wrong thing or the belief that talking about it makes it happen, can prevent the topic from ever coming up until a health crisis occurs.
End Game lays bare what happens in a medical environment during the last stages of life. The film shows how these experiences can be positively addressed.
However, this reliance on the medical profession to discuss end of life issues often leaves us with unanswered questions and a less than positive death experience for ourselves and our loved ones.
Using the arts/theatre to start a new conversation around dying, death, and grief. Our mission is to erase the stigma and to create a compassionate environment to share our honest stories about death and grief. We believe: Out of Grief Comes Art
The Center for Integrative Oncology and Palliative Care Social Work at the UW School of Social Work is dedicated to supporting the next generation of oncology social work scholars and practitioners.
Established in 2018 with a substantial gift from Lynn Behar (MSW ’86, PhD ’99) and her husband Howard, the Center takes a social justice approach to oncology and palliative care and aims to prepare culturally adept researchers and practitioners who are dedicated to addressing disparities in cancer and end-of-life care based on race and ethnicity, disability, gender and sexual identity, geographic location, income and education.
End Well Foundation
End Well, is a non-profit media platform and annual convening. It is the only interdisciplinary symposium that brings together tech, policy, media, healthcare, patients, artists and design with the goal of transforming the end. Shoshana’s goal is to amplify a cultural shift we need to support new collaborations, systems, protocols and products so that everyone has access to ending well.
People’s Memorial Association (PMA) is the trusted resource and thought-leader for funeral choice, education, and advocacy in Washington State. We envision a future where everyone has access to after-death arrangements that reflect their personal values and resources.
The Ernest Becker Foundation illuminates the role of death in life. It advances understanding of how unconscious denial of death influences our behavior at the societal and individual levels.
Honoring Choices Pacific Northwest(an Initiative of WA State Hospital Association and WA State Medical Association)
Bonnie Bizzell is Community Engagement Liaison & Program Manager for Honoring Choices Pacific Northwest, a joint initiative between the Washington State Hospital Association and Washington State Medical Association to inspire advance care planning conversations.
Speaking of Dying is a meaningful documentary film produced by Heartwork. It is information and intimate. It captures the importance of individuals and groups speaking openly about all aspects of dying process. Viewing this film encourages you to talk to your friends, family, health care agents and medical providers about end of life planning choices
Providence Hospice of Seattle is a not-for-profit, community-based hospice ministry, serving seriously ill patients in all of King County, Washington including Vashon Island. We provide comprehensive and compassionate physical, emotional, and spiritual care to people nearing the end of their lives, including support for their families and friends.
Grief Coach is a text-messaging service by Emma Payne that delivers personalized content, tips and reminders to people who are grieving, as well as to the friends and family who want to support them
Recompose is a company founded by Katrina Spade that offers “natural organic reduction” to the public. In the future, we will provide the service of recomposition in facilities by staff who value transparency, participation, and choice. We recognize that for many, death is a momentous spiritual event.
Island Volunteer Caregivers works within community to support life-enriching connections between caring people and the elderly and persons with disabilities to enable their independence, dignity, health and well-being.
TUESDAY, MAY 29 PROGRAM
Welcome: J’May Rivara, Center for Integrative Oncology and Palliative Care Social Work
Master of Ceremonies: Elizabeth Coplan, Author and Founder, Grief Dialogues
Kari Hilwig, MSW, Palliative Care Social Worker, Virginia Mason Medical Center.
Kari Hilwigis an outpatient palliative care social worker at Virginia Mason. She graduated from the University of Washington and was a Carol LaMare Endowed Fellow in Oncology and Palliative Care Social Work. In 2016, she experienced her own cancer diagnosis and treatment, giving her a unique perspective on the support she provides for patients today.”
Maya Scott, MSW, LSWAIC, Pediatric Palliative Care Consultant, Seattle Children’s Hospital
Maya Scott is a bereaved mom, clinical social worker and palliative care consultant currently practicing at Seattle’s Children’s Hospital. She also provides support to individuals and families as a grief therapist. Her focus with the Journey Program is to provide culturally responsive outreach and therapeutic care.
Rashmi K. Sharma, MD, MHS, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine, Center for Scholarship in Patient Care Quality and Safety, Cambia Palliative Care Center of Excellence, University of Washington
Rashmi K. Sharma is a palliative care physician at the University of Washington and a health services researcher. Her research focuses on communication and decision making about end of life care with a focus on minority populations.
Karen Vargas, Founder and Director, Living Life Leadership, is a frequent speaker on equity and inclusion. Currently she is founder and co-chair of the Bainbridge Island School District’s Multicultural Advisory Council. MAC’s mission is to create an inclusive environment where all students, teachers, non-certificated personnel, parents and administrators feel safe, secure and understood and can be free to learn. She is also a member of the Grief Dialogues Advisory Council.
Shoshana Ungerleider, MD, Producer and Founder, End Well: Design and Innovation for the End of Life Experience Complete bio here.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 30 PROGRAM
Master of Ceremonies: Elizabeth Coplan, Grief Dialogues
Rita Elsberry, Executive Director for Island Volunteer Caregivers, is an RN who worked as a hospice nurse for 7 years. Island Volunteer Caregivers exemplifies how members of a community can take care of each other, with “helping hands and open hearts”.
Kari Hilwig, MSW, Palliative Care Social Worker, Virginia Mason Medical Center is an outpatient palliative care social worker at Virginia Mason. She graduated from the University of Washington and was a Carol LaMare Endowed Fellow in Oncology and Palliative Care Social Work. In 2016, she experienced her own cancer diagnosis and treatment, giving her a unique perspective on the support she provides for patients today.
Dr. Sharon Stanley is a psychotherapist with a private practice on Bainbridge Island, Washington. She began developing and teaching Somatic Transformation in 2004. Since then, she traveled throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe helping mental health professionals learn how to access the innate wisdom of the body for healing trauma. The neurological research principles and six practices of Somatic Transformation are described in her book, Relational and Body-Centered Practices for Healing Trauma: Lifting the Burdens of the Past.
Karen Vargas, Founder and Director, Living Life Leadership and Co-Chair Multicultural Advisory Council, is a frequent speaker on equity and inclusion. Listen here for her podcast on Wake Up Bainbridge and on Grief Bursts(the Grief Dialogues podcast) in honor of MLK. She is founder and co-chair of the Bainbridge Island School District’s Multicultural Advisory Council, Co-chair of the BI Race Equity Task Force and a founding member of the Grief Dialogues Advisory Council.
Grief Dialogues is an educational and informational community and not meant to diagnose or act as medical treatment. Professional support services based on life and grief coaching practices for moving forward after loss may be offered. If you are experiencing serious suicidal thoughts that you cannot control, please stop now and telephone 911 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)