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a presentation of ... Creative Healing, LLC

                                   Opening The Heart Of Western Medicine



The End-of-Life University Interview Series is now a weekly Podcast!

Sign up here to receive notification whenever a new episode is available! 

Read about previous guests from EOLU below:

view:  full / summary

Modern Funeral and Burial Trends with Melissa Unfred

Posted by Karen M. Wyatt on August 9, 2018 at 3:00 AM

Learn how this modern mortician helps families have "green-er" burials and how her dog Kermit plays a role in her work.

NOW AVAILABLE* for listening at this link:

*(As a NEW feature on End-of-Life University you can listen any time to this interview.
You no longer have to tune in at a scheduled time or wait for the replay to arrive by email!
Just click on the link above and start listening - NOW or LATER.)

My guest Melissa Unfred is a "modern mortician" in Austin TX who is helping to transform the funeral industry in many ways. She will share how she serves families by guiding them in choosing more environmentally friendly burial options and helping them arrange home funerals for their loved ones, including pets. 

In this interview you will learn:

  • Why Melissa refers to herself as a "rogue funeral director in a stale industry"
  • The major problems in the funeral industry that Melissa is working to overcome
  • How her dog Kermit became a certified Therapy Dog in Funeral Care
  • The benefits provided to families by a therapy dog
  • How Melissa helps people deal with the death of their pets

Melissa Unfred is a first generation funeral director/embalmer in Austin TX who has worked in the funeral industry for nearly 20 years. She is passionate about empowering families to care for their own dead and supports home funerals and natural burial options for humans and their creature companions as well. In 2016 she partnered with a shelter rescue dog she named Kermit and the two went on to become the first Certified Therapy Team working in funeral service in Texas. Kermit has received national and international recognition for the comfort he provides to families who are dealing with the death of a loved one.

Essential Oils and Aromatherapy for Deathcare with Rayne Johnson

Posted by Karen M. Wyatt on July 19, 2018 at 3:00 PM

Learn how to use sacred aromas and essential oils while caring for the dying and after death.

Thursday July 26, 2018
10 am Pacific/1 pm Eastern

Call-in Number: (425) 440-5010
Code:  882570#

Link to listen to broadcast online or add to calendar:

My guest Rayne Johnson is a death doula with a special interest in the use of sacred aromas and essential oils during the end of life. She will share with us her knowledge of oils and aromatherapy and how to incorporate them into the care of the dying.

In this interview you will learn:

  • What are "essential oils" 
  • The history of aromatherapy
  • How essential oils can be used when working with the dying
  • The benefits of aromatherapy for patients, loved ones and caregivers
  • How to use oils safely with dying patients
  • Tips for incorporating sacred aromas into end of life work

Loraine "Rayne" Johnson is a death doula and end of life consultant from Edmonton, Alberta. She is also a palliative massage therapist, author and educator. She studied at Naropa University in Contemplative End of LIfe Care. Rayne teaches caregivers and the dying practical ways to help with the end transitions. She is a keynote speaker and workshop presenter on her passion: Doing Deathcare Differently.

How the End-of-Life Doula Movement is Going Global with Suzanne O'Brien RN

Posted by Karen M. Wyatt on July 5, 2018 at 4:00 PM

Learn about Doulagivers' international outreach to provide free trainings to people around the world to improve end-of-life care in their communities.

Thursday July 12, 2018
10 am Pacific/1 pm Eastern

Link to listen online or add to calendar:

My guest Suzanne O'Brien is the founder of Doulagivers - a program that offers non-medical training to individuals who wish to care for their loved ones and neighbors at the end of life. She'll share the good news of positive changes that have been happening at home and abroad for the end-of-life doula movement.

In this interview you will learn:

  • What "doulagiver" means
  • How the need for end-of-life doulas is going to increase over the next few decades
  • About the national movement to provide certification for end-of-life doulas
  • Why certification is important
  • How communities around the world are requesting training to improve end-of-life care
  • About a free webinar Suzanne will present on End-of-Life Doula Training for Caregivers and Volunteers

Suzanne B. O’Brien is a registered nurse. She has worked most of her nursing career in hospice care and oncology care In 2008 Suzanne began offering free community educational seminars at her local library. These workshops taught families how to care for their loved ones at the end of life.

In 2012, Suzanne went on a self paid volunteer hospice trip to Zimbabwe, Africa. It was on this trip that Suzanne saw people being trained to “sit” with the person who was dying and “guide” them through the end of life journey. Without the luxury of medications and equipment, this concept was so effective. This reminded Suzanne of the birthing “doula” concept and when she came back to the US, The Doulagivers End of Life Doula Training was born.

Today, Suzanne B. O’Brien RN is the proud Founder and Creator of the award-winning program Doulagivers: End of Life Doula Training, Eldercare Doula Training, and Doulagiver Care Consultant Training. She is a founding member of The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organizations ( NHPCO ) End of Life Doula Council and is a founding board member of The National End of Life Doula Alliance (NEDA). “Awarded Worldwide Leader In Healthcare” by the International Nurses Association for creating Doulagivers. She is also an end of life educator, consultant and author of the #1 International Bestselling book Creating Positive Passings & End of Life Doula Level 1 Caregiver Training (2015) — a guide to learning the invaluable skills of how to care for someone at the end of life.

The New Model of Grief: It's OK That You're Not OK with Megan Devine

Posted by Karen M. Wyatt on June 21, 2018 at 4:25 PM

Learn about the flaws in our old models of grief support and a new approach to being with those who are grieiving.

Thursday June 28, 2018
10 am Pacific/1 pm Eastern

Call-in Number: (425) 440-5010

Code: 882570#

Link to add to calendar or listen online:

After the sudden death of her partner, my guest Megan Devine realized that her psychotherapy training offered her no help whatsoever in coping with the overwhelming grief she experienced. She will share with us how she came to see that our current models of grief support are flawed, what approach she advocates for helping those who grieve and the resources she offers on her website.


In this interview you will learn:

  • How Megan was inspired to create a new model of grief
  • What most grief support programs "get wrong
  • About our society's broken relationship with grief
  • What those who are grieving need to know right now
  • How to be an effective support person for someon experiencing grief
  • About Megan's book "It's OK That You're Not OK"

Megan Devine is a psychotherapist, writier, grief advocate and communication expert. She is the author of the book "It's OK That You're Not OK" and the creator of an online community, blogs, podcasts, and courses for people dealing with grief.

Taking Death on the Road with Kimberly Paul

Posted by Karen M. Wyatt on June 7, 2018 at 3:50 PM

Learn how Kimberly Paul has been inspired to write and talk about death and plans to take to the road to share her story.

Thursday June 14, 2018

10 am Pacific/1 pm Eastern

Call-in Number: (425) 440-5010

Code: 882570#

Link to add to calendar or listen online:

After a 17-year career working for hospice as the VP of Outreach & Communication, my guest Kimberly Paul woke up one day to realize that she was not living her life to the fullest, which was something she had learned from hospice patients over the years. So she followed her heart, left the security of her job and struck out on her own to teach others how to prepare for the end of life. She'll share her story in today's interview.

In this interview you will learn:

  • About the award-winning advance directive campaign Kimberly created in 2008 called "Begin the Conversation" (listen to my previous intervies with her about BTC" target="_blank">here.)
  • Why she decided to leave her hospice job
  • The inspiration behind her popular podcast Death by Design
  • Why she believes "design thinking" can help advance the death-positive movement
  • How to get her recently published book Bridging the Gap
  • How to connect with Kimberly if you'd like to be a sponsor or host for Kimberly's upcoming road trip

Kimberly Paul graduated from Meredith College in Raleigh NC and worked in the entertainment industry until she was inspired to change her career path to hospice work. As Vice President of Outreach and Communications for Lower Cape Fear Hospice in Wilmington, NC, Kimberly created a myriad of award-winning marketing strategies to share real stories of how hospice patients and their loved ones face the end of life journey. As creator of the “Begin the Conversation” campaign in 2008, Kimberly was the driving force of the program until her departure from Lower Cape Fear Hospice in 2016. “Begin the Conversation,” (BTC) is a nationally recognized program encouraging the use of advance care directives with a focus on the value of conversations in advance care planning. BTC has received multiple honors and awards, including the Carolinas Healthcare Public Relations Marketing Society Silver Wallie Award (2012) for mixed media campaign and a Telly Award for best television spot (2015). In addition, the campaign won honorable mentions for Best Branding/Re-Branding and Best Social Responsibility Campaign/Initiative in PR Daily’s Nonprofit Public Relations awards competition in 2013.

In 2017 she started the Death by Design Podcast and has interviewed individuals from medicine, the arts, design and technology about death and dying. She recently published her first book Bridging the Gap: Life Lessons from the Dying.


Finding Peace in Life and Death with Alua Arthur

Posted by Karen M. Wyatt on May 17, 2018 at 3:00 PM

Learn how to prepare for the emotional and legal needs that arise after death in order to find peace during life.

Thursday May 24, 2018
10 am Pacific/1 pm Eastern

Call-in Number: (425) 440-5010
Code: 882570#

Link to add to calendar or listen online

While dying is a physical, emotional and spiritual experience for patient and family, there are also a number of practical considerations that play a huge role in how peacefully the end of life unfolds. My guest, attorney and certified death midwife Alua Arthur, has built her career on helping people navigate the unexpected legal and financial challenges that arise after death and teaches how to be better prepared for the end of life.

In this interview you will learn:

  • How Alua went from being an attorney to a death midwife
  • How her legal background helps her current work
  • The most common unexpected challenges for family members at the end of life
  • How to get comfortable with needing help from others
  • What to do now to prepare for the unexpected and "go with grace"

Alua Arthur is the Founder and Executive Director of Going with Grace, an end of life planning and support organization. As a certified death midwife and attorney Alua is able to focus on her clients' practical and emotional needs while giving them the space to contemplate the end of life. She has created and facilitated dozens of unique workshops to explore topics in end of life planning and inspired living and is the author of the Going with Grace Guide to Completion: The First 10 Steps in Completing the Affairs of Your Loved One's Life.

Mothers and Daughters at the End of Life with Kate Riley

Posted by Karen M. Wyatt on May 3, 2018 at 3:00 PM

Learn how the special relationship between mothers and daughters is affected at the end of life.

Thursday May 10, 2018

10 am Pacific/1 pm Eastern

Dial-in Number: (425) 440-5010

Code: 882570#

Link to add to calendar or listen online:

This is a special interview in honor of Mother's Day. My guest Kate Riley, who is a certified death midwife and author of the book Launching Vee's Chariot: An End-of-Life Tale, shares her experiences as a caregiver for her mother at the end of life. In an intimate conversation we explore our own relationships with our mothers and how they were healed when we were able to care for them as they were dying. 


In this interview you will learn:

  • The ups and downs of the caregiver journey
  • The benefits of presence at the end of life
  • How meditation helps with preparation for death
  • Death has its own mysterious timing
  • The pain of letting go of our mothers and being let go of by them
  • How caregiving helps us heal our relationships
  • Advice for daughters caring for their mothers

Kate Riley is a certified death midwife, minister, international story consultant, author and educator. She began private practice in compassionate end-of-life care after completing hospice training in the late 1980s. She serves as a liaison for individuals facing end-of-life decisions, working with their families and medical teams in providing a more person-centered approach. She encourages and supports those who want to take a conscious, active role in their own dying process. She is the author of The Green Velvet Journals and Launching Vee’s Chariot: An End-of-Life Tale. Kate lives in the Wood River Valley of Idaho—a great place to find balance in all of life’s stages. Her advanced training includes death midwife/doula certification through Final Passages and current enrollment in the California State University Palliative Care Chaplaincy program.

End-of-Life Doulas: A Movement for the Future with Deanna Cochran RN

Posted by Karen M. Wyatt on April 5, 2018 at 4:00 PM

Learn how the doula movement is changing the way we care for people at the end of life.

Thursday April 12, 2018
10 am Pacific/1 pm Eastern

Dial-in Number: (425) 440-5010

Code: 882570#

Link to add to calendar or listen online:

There's a movement sweeping the country that involves teaching people to provide care for their loved ones and neighbors as they reach the end of life. My guest for this interview, palliative care nurse Deanna Cochran, is one of the leaders and instigators of this trend through her Quality of LIfe Care Orgnanization. Deanna will share with us how the doula movement is growing and what has changed in grassroots end-of-life care over the past few years.

In this interview you will learn:

  • The definition of an "end-of-life doula"
  • What it currently means to have a "certificate" as an end-of-life doula and how that will change in the future
  • Why the certification process can be helpful to the doula movement overall
  • How the International Death Doula Training taking in place in Maui got started and what the future holds
  • How hospices are beginning to embrace end-of-life doulas
  • Advice for those who are considering becoming an end-of-life doula

Deanna Cochran is a registered nurse with certification in hospice and palliative care who has served as a private EOL doula since 2005. She is the founder of the End of Life Practitioners Collective and Quality of Life Care which provides awareness, information, resources and support to people and their families who are living with life-limiting illness. She has also been mentoring and training death doulas and caregivers since 2010.

A New Model for End-of-Life Care with Dr. Bob Uslander

Posted by Karen M. Wyatt on March 22, 2018 at 5:00 PM

Learn how this doctor is revolutionizing end-of-life care for his patients with a unique concierge model.

Thursday March 29, 2018

10 am Pacific/1 pm Eastern

Dial-in Number: (425) 440-5010

Code: 882570#

Link to add to calendar or listen online:

We often lament that end-of-life care needs improvement in our society but few of us know how to actually change it. My guest Dr. Bob Uslander has actually created a unique end-of-life medical practice that is making a difference for his elderly patients and transforming the way they die. He'll discuss the concierge model and how it is working for his patients.

In this interview you'll learn:

  • How Dr. Bob got interested in caring for patients at the end of life
  • How his concierge practice works
  • The special services offered to patients through his office
  • The gaps in medical care that are being filled by this new model
  • Dr. Bob's experience providing medical aid in dying to patients
  • Advice for other doctors who are considering becoming prescribers for MAID

Dr. Bob Uslander received his BS in Biology at the University of Illinois (Summa Cum Laude), and is a graduate of the UCLA School of Medicine (AOA Honor Society). He completed his residency in Emergency Medicine at the University of Illinois Affiliated Hospitals. Dr. Bob is board certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine and is a member of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO), the California Medical Association and the San Diego County Medical Association. While his training was in emergency medicine, his career has evolved toward taking care of the elderly and those nearing the end of their lives.

Since 2003, he has focused on creating and working with practices and programs that help the elderly and clinically complex members of the community receive excellent health care. In 2003 Dr. Bob created Sierra Housecalls Medical Group to provide medical care to the homebound and elderly members of his Northern California community. In 2004, he helped form Seniority Life Care at Home, a provider of non-medical in-home care for seniors, which allows them to remain in their own homes more safely and independently. He was a founder and past president of Sierra LifeNet, a non-profit organization dedicated to meeting the needs of the frail elderly, including the operation of a local Adult Day Health Care program.

Living While Dying: Exploring Death Through Film with Cathy Zheutlin

Posted by Karen M. Wyatt on March 8, 2018 at 4:00 PM

Learn about a beautiful new documentary film that explores death through the eyes of a novice and introduces viewers to the dying process of 4 different patients.

Thursday March  15, 2018

10 am Pacific/1 pm Eastern

Dial-in Number: (425) 440-5010

Code: 882570#

Link to save to your calendar and listen online:

My guest Cathy Zheutlin is a filmmaker who undertook to create a film about the dying process when her mother's partner was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She admitted that she knew very little about death before starting the film, but she was led on a journey through the landscape of dying as she continued filming over time.

In this interview you will learn:

  • What motivated Cathy to create this documentary
  • How she was introduced to and captured the compelling stories she captured on film
  • A synopsis of the patients' stories
  • What Cathy learned from making the film
  • Who will benefit from watching Living While Dying
  • Feedback about the film
  • How to arrange a screening in your area

For the past 40 years Cathy Zheutlin has been interested in making films to explore consciousness and encourage progressive change, first as a cinematographer and then as a producer and director. She has directed and produced short films such as Lost Love (1982), and the documentary Just One Step: The Great Peace March, capturing the heart and soul of a nine-month cross-country trek for global nuclear disarmament. That led to her filming the first Soviet-American Peace March, and then becoming a wife and mother as well as a cranio-sacral biodynamic healer.

Cathy has many other films to her credit and recently won 2nd prize for a short film SPIRITUALITY IN THE WORKPLACE. Most recently she has created the film Living While Dying, which we will be discussing today.