Current faculty

Jan Booth, MA, RN, NC-BC

Jan Booth, MA, RN, NC-BC

has worked as a nurse for over 37 years within the intersection of quality of life and end of life, and she is deeply curious about what creates and sustains wellbeing throughout the human experience. Her work trajectory has taken her from years at the bedside of hospice and palliative care patients to supporting the wellbeing of caregivers, and now into the larger community to further open our cultural conversation about end of life. Her current work is primarily as an end-of-life nurse, coach, and educator. She serves as faculty for the Integrative Nurse Coach Academy, the Conscious Dying Collective, and the Art of Dying Institute’s integrative thanatology certificate program; and presents a wide variety of workshops on the transformative possibilities of end-of-life care. Additionally, Jan is the author of Re-Imagining the End-of-Life: Self-Development & Reflective Practices for Nurse Coaches, and one of the co-authors of Bold Spirit Caring for the Dying.

Leslie Blackhall, MD

Leslie Blackhall, MD

is an Associate Professor of Medicine and Medical Humanities at the University of Virginia Medical Center and Director of its Palliative Care Services. She also earned a master’s in theology, at Harvard Divinity School, with a concentration in biomedical ethics, history, and philosophy.

Wilka Roig, MA, MFA

Wilka Roig, MA, MFA

is a transpersonal psychologist, death doula, grief counselor, dream worker, ordained minister, educator, facilitator, writer, Taoist Arts instructor, musician, photographer, performance artist, silversmith, baker, mythmaker. She is the founder and president of Fundación Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (EKR) México Centro, deputy director of education of EKR Foundation Global, end-of-life doula educator and BIPOC/International advisor of the International End of Life Doula Association (INELDA), co-founder of Red Iberoamericana de Acompañamiento en la muerte y el duelo. Her interests include the neurobiology of trauma, loss, grief, and relationships, conscious living & dying, birds, stars, confectionery arts, and wine culture 

Iya Rev. DeShannon Barnes-Bowens, MS

Iya Rev. DeShannon Barnes-Bowens, MS

is the founder of ILERA Counseling & Education Services, where she works as a psychotherapist, professional development trainer, and spiritual counselor. Through ILERA, she offers national & international workshops and programs focusing on sexuality and spirituality, sexual abuse and healing, and vicarious trauma and wellness. She is the author of Hush Hush: An African American Family Breaks their Silence on Sexuality and Sexual Abuse (2007, 2015).

Iya DeShannon has practiced Ifa-Orisa spirituality since 2001 and is an initiated priestess. She was ordained as an Interfaith Minister through One Spirit’s seminary in 2010 and served as a first-year dean, Assistant Director and Co-Director of the program. Find out more about Iya DeShannon and her work at www.ilera.com.

Rev. Eileen Fisher

Rev. Eileen Fisher

is an ordained minister, an initiated Sufi dervish and the former Co-Director of One Spirit Interfaith Seminary. She holds a master’s degree in education and has experience developing educational programs while working with young children, families and adult learners. As a Middle School teacher, she developed and implemented a school-wide Mindfulness program for students. When she can, Eileen volunteers both locally and abroad.

Rev. Olivia Bareham

Rev. Olivia Bareham

is a certified Death Midwife, Home Funeral Guide and Celebrant. She holds degrees in Education and Natural Theology and Sacred Healing, and is the founder of the Sacred Crossings Institute and Sacred Crossings Alternative Funeral Home in Los Angeles.  Olivia has over 18 years’ experience as a death midwife guiding hundreds of families in the art of conscious dying and home-based after-death care. Olivia facilitates certificate training programs for Death Doulas and Death Midwives and manages her funeral home to support families seeking green and conscious alternatives to conventional funeral industry practices. Services include home funerals, green burials, and full-body deep sea burials. Please visit sacredcrossings.com for more information.

Jeanne Denney, MA

Jeanne Denney, MA

is a somatic psychotherapist, educator, hospice worker, founder of the School of Unusual Life Learning (SoULL) and author of The Effects of Compassionate Presence on the Dying. She has worked in many roles to help people fearlessly embrace a life which includes aging, dying and nature. This has involved years at bedsides, study and research, in contributing pioneering ideas to somatic psychology, in death and grief work, teaching, mothering, and facilitation of the Art of Dying projects in New York City.  Her unique insights on energy and the body through aging, illness, and dying have been derived from this wide lens of human experience and a deep understanding of our mortal journey.

Ira Byock, MD, FAAHPM

Ira Byock, MD, FAAHPM

is a leading medical authority, author, and public advocate for improving care for people living with serious medical conditions. Dr. Byock is an active emeritus professor of medicine and community & family medicine at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine. His research has contributed to conceptual frameworks for the lived experience of illness; measures for subjective quality of life; and counseling methods for life completion and wellbeing. He is founder of the Institute for Human Caring within the Providence health system. The Institute drives transformation in clinical systems and culture to make caring for whole persons the new normal. Byock has authored numerous articles in academic journals. His books include Dying WellThe Four Things That Matter Most, and The Best Care Possible. More information is available at IraByock.org

Francesca Lynn Arnoldy

Francesca Lynn Arnoldy

is a community doula and death literacy advocate. She is the author of Cultivating the Doula Heart (a guidebook), Map of Memory Lane (a picture book) and The Death Doula’s Guide to Living Fully and Dying Prepared (an interactive workbook). Francesca is a researcher with the Vermont Conversation Lab and she was the original course developer of the University of Vermont’s End-of-Life Doula Professional Certificate Programs. She regularly presents on life-and-death topics with hopes of encouraging people to support one another through times of intensity. You can find her contemplating birth, death, and life with the doula heart at https://francescalynnarnoldy.com/

Dr. Karen Wyatt, MD

Dr. Karen Wyatt, MD

is a retired hospice physician and the author of the award-winning book 7 Lessons for Living from the Dying. She hosts the popular podcast End-of-Life University and is widely regarded as a thought leader in the effort to transform the way we care for the dying in the U.S. Learn more at her website: https://eoluniversity.com.

Rev. Kat Kowalski, MDiv, BCC

Rev. Kat Kowalski, MDiv, BCC

 is the Perinatal Palliative Care and Chaplaincy Coordinator at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. She often works with parents who have received a worrisome prenatal diagnosis, and has ministered to countless families experiencing the serious illness and/or death of a baby.

Emily Johnson, MSN, CRNP

Emily Johnson, MSN, CRNP

is a certified pediatric nurse practitioner who provides palliative care in Johns Hopkins’ Pediatric ICU. With extensive experience in pediatric critical care nursing, she has cared for hundreds of dying children. In addition to advanced degrees in nursing, Emily holds certificates in Nurse Education and Pediatric Bioethics.

Cora Gallagher, CCLS, MA

Cora Gallagher, CCLS, MA

is the Program Manager of Pediatric Palliative Care at Johns Hopkins. She provides psycho-social support to patients and families as well as follow-up bereavement care. She has degrees in Child Life, Literature and Pastoral Care, and special interest in adolescents and informed decision-making at all stages of development.

Catharine DeLong

Catharine DeLong

is a certified music thanatologist, hospice chaplain, and end-of-life educator based in Salt Lake City. With harp and voice she tends to the emotional, physical and spiritual needs at the bedside of palliative patients and their loved ones. Catharine is a graduate of the One Spirit Interfaith Seminary. Her 2021 video performance at the edge the Great Salt Lake brings awareness to climate thanatology. 

Rabbi Simcha Raphael, Ph.D.

Rabbi Simcha Raphael, Ph.D.

is the Founding Director of the DA’AT Institute for Death Awareness, Advocacy, and Training. He has served as Adjunct Professor of Religion at LaSalle University, Temple University and the Aleph (Rabbinic) Ordination Program, and currently works as a psychotherapist and bereavement counselor in the Philadelphia area. Ordained by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi as a pastoral rabbi, he is the author of numerous publications on death and the afterlife, including the groundbreaking Jewish Views of the Afterlife. His website is www.daatinstitute.net.

Anthony P. Bossis, Ph.D.

Anthony P. Bossis, Ph.D.

 is a clinical psychologist and Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine, an Adjunct Professor of Classics and Religious Studies at the University of Ottawa, and an Investigator at The Lundquist Institute for Biomedical Innovation at UCLA.   Since 2006, he has conducted FDA-approved clinical research with the psychedelic compound psilocybin.  His primary psychedelic research interests are the treatment of end-of-life existential distress and to advance our understanding of consciousness, meaning, and spirituality. Dr. Bossis was director of palliative care research and co-principal investigator on the landmark 2016 clinical trial demonstrating a significant reduction in emotional distress from a single psilocybin session in persons with cancer, specifically, a rapid decrease in depression, anxiety, hopelessness, and demoralization along with improvements in spiritual well-being and quality of life.   He is the study director and lead therapist on an FDA-approved clinical trial investigating a psilocybin-generated mystical experience upon religious leaders. Dr. Bossis is a training supervisor of psychotherapy at NYU-Bellevue Hospital Center and co-founder and former co-director of the Bellevue Hospital Palliative Care Service. He is a faculty member at The Center for Psychedelic Therapies and Research at the California Institute of Integral Studies. He is on the editorial board of the Journal of Humanistic Psychology and a guest editor for the journal’s Special Series on Psychedelics. Dr. Bossis has a long-standing interest in comparative religion, mystical experience, and the interface of psychology and spirituality.  He maintains a private psychotherapy and consulting practice in NYC.

Amy Cunningham

Amy Cunningham

was a magazine writer until 2007 when her elderly father’s memorial service got her interested in helping folks plan more meaningful end-of-life services. When she’s not directing funerals, she writes a funeral planning blog called TheInspiredFuneral.com. She believes that a good funeral can send everyone in attendance out the door with an altered view of what life’s all about, and the beginnings of a plan for moving forward.

Tashel C. Bordere, PHD, CT

Tashel C. Bordere, PHD, CT

 is a grant funded researcher at the Center for Family Policy and Research at the University of Missouri Columbia. She is a Forward Promise Fellow (Boys & Young Men of Color) and certified Thanatologist. Dr. Bordere publishes works relating to diversity and resilience through loss including a coedited book, Handbook of Social Justice in Loss, and Grief. Her research areas include African American youth grief and adjustment to loss (homicide, race-based trauma). She also developed S.H.E.D. Loss and Grief Tools.