We are pleased to announce the IPBC 2021 Preconference Speakers and Sessions!

Click here to download the Preconference Session Descriptions!

A Proposed Model of Programmatic Bereavement Outreach Following Intrauterine and Neonatal Death
Joanna CM. Cole, PhD, PMH-C and Joy N. Macdonald, BSN, RN

Joanna CM Cole, PhD, PMH-C is a clinical psychologist and manager of psychosocial services in the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr. Cole provides options and grief counseling with couples struggling with pregnancy decision making, and is the leader within the Perinatal Palliative and Bereavement Care Program, committed to helping families plan for and cope with the knowledge that their baby might die in-utero or shortly after birth. She is a trainer for the 2-day and Advanced Training courses for Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders: Components of Care hosted by Postpartum Support International and currently holds the position of Curriculum Manager. She is frequently sought out by medical, nursing and mental health professionals to present at local, national and international venues on issues of perinatal loss and bereavement and perinatal mental health complications. 

Joy N. Macdonald, BSN, RN, is a fetal therapy nurse coordinator with the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Mrs. Macdonald receives referrals, removes barriers to care, and minimizes the wait for a diagnostic evaluation and counseling appointment. She provides verbal, written and online resources, and connects the patient to families that have had similar experiences. Depending on each patient’s evaluation and diagnosis, she arranges specific counseling with maternal-fetal medicine specialists, fetal and pediatric surgeons, and other subspecialists as needed. Mrs. Macdonald helps guide families throughout their care, from prenatal testing and surveillance through delivery and after a baby is born, working closely with referring physicians to coordinate ongoing care for both mother and baby. She also follows up with families who have experienced a loss in pregnancy or a death of their child shortly after birth and connects them to grief resources when needed.


Mindful Journeys: An Innovative Approach to Healing for Mothers/Parents Experiencing Perinatal Loss
David M Steinhorn, MD and Jana Din, BA

Dr. David Steinhorn is an academic pediatrician who practices intensive care and hospice medicine for children. He has developed palliative care programs at Children’s Hospital of Buffalo and Northwestern University in Chicago and served as medical director of George Mark Children’s House in California. He is currently medical and fellowship director in palliative care at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC.  Dr. Steinhorn has additional training in energy medicine, yoga, meditation, and shamanism, studying with teachers from the Foundation for Shamanic Studies, the Four Winds Society, and Dr. Carl Greer. He and Ms Din have developed symposia on supporting the human spirit through the alchemy of transpersonal medicine.  His passion is to find ways of alleviating suffering wherever it may occur and to help patients, families and healthcare providers discover meaning in all of life’s experiences. 

Jana Din, BA, is a retired child psychology teacher, shamanic healer, and director of the Tao Center for Healing. She has provided over 100 volunteer shamanic healing services for parents coping with the loss of their infants, and critically ill children and their families, in a unique collaboration with David Steinhorn, MD, ICU and hospice physician.  It is Ms. Din’s privilege to provide shamanic healing in hospitals, hospices and across the nation, and to help parents find peace when losing their newborn or child. It is also her privilege to assist patients and families to discover the spiritual meaning in the challenges faced when seriously or terminally ill, or when losing a loved one. Ms. Din inspires audiences nationwide with her poignant, often heart rending stories of healing the human spirit in the midst of working with patients and families who are often facing the most agonizing times of loss in their lives.


Recognizing Miscarriage Through Standardized Respectful Disposition Practice and Inclusive Ritual
Ann Tyndall, M.Div, BCC, CPLC

Ann served as a Unitarian Universalist parish minister for 23 years before training to become a healthcare chaplain. She was drawn to working with people from diverse spiritual traditions, including those who did not identify as religious. The role of chaplain—not promoting a particular religious tradition—fit Ann’s inclusive approach to spirituality. She worked for a year as an affiliate chaplain at Chicago Children’s Hospital before accepting a position as staff chaplain at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse, WI. There, Ann’s duties included providing bereavement support for patients and families. Though she attended deaths at any age, her primary responsibility was caring for families experiencing perinatal loss. In June 2019, Ann accepted the position of Bereavement Coordinator for Gundersen Health System. She is working to standardize bereavement practice across the system in accordance with the Resolve Through Sharing perinatal bereavement model.

Memory Making and Planning Group Activities
Rosemary Carlson, BS 

Rose Carlson has worked in the pregnancy and infant loss community since 2002 when she joined Share Pregnancy and Infant Loss as a bereaved parent volunteer. She joined the Share staff as Program Director in 2004, and in that role, she provides support to parents grieving the death of their baby, plans memorial events for Share, and is an educator who teaches professionals who work with bereaved parents how to best support the families they serve.

Rose has served 3 terms on the PLIDA Board of Directors, has presented workshops at four International Perinatal Bereavement Conferences, and currently serves as PLIDA’s Education Specialist. 

Support Through Community: A Perinatal & Infant Loss Support Meeting Workshop
Patti Budnik BSN, CPLC, Vicki Culling, BA, MA, PhD and Carol McMurrich, EdM

Patti Budnik BSN, CPLC has over 20 years of NICU and Labor & Delivery nursing experience. She joined the National Share staff in 2013 as the primary liaison for the parent Companion program. In her current role as Bereavement Care Manager Patti: facilitates support groups, provides professional education regarding standards of perinatal bereavement care and the Rights of Parents, and manages the First Response program. Patti has seen first-hand the benefits of an ongoing bereavement support system both for the families she served and in her own family. Having available resources to families is a priority and requires connecting with other organizations and building up peer to peer support relationships. Patti is excited for the opportunity to help others evaluate or expand their bereavement programs in order to best serve their communities.

Vicki Culling, PhD, is a bereaved parent, experiencing the stillbirth of her first daughter over 20 years ago, and has been actively involved in Sands New Zealand (a national non-profit organization supporting bereaved parents and families) for 17 years. Vicki was a founding committee member of the NZ Perinatal and Maternal Mortality Review Committee (PMMRC); she currently sits on two government committees in relation to perinatal and infant mortality (Maternal Fetal Medicine Governance Committee and the National Perinatal Pathology Service Clinical Network); and has recently consulted with government in the establishment of the NZ website, Whetūrangitia, providing information for parents and families when a baby or infant dies.

Her business, Vicki Culling Associates, was established in 2011 with the goal of providing quality information and training about perinatal and infant loss to NZ health and caring professionals through in-person workshops and online modules.

Carol McMurrich, EdM, is a perinatal support professional and educator from Western Massachusetts who completed her undergraduate at Middlebury College in Sociology and Psychology and her Master’s in Education from Smith College. Following the death of her newborn daughter in 2003, McMurrich shifted her sociological focus to surviving perinatal loss and founded Empty Arms Bereavement Support. Due in part to extensive mentoring with Cathi Lammert of Share, McMurrich's organization grew to include five separate support groups, companion programs in five hospitals, and a robust teaching program. The success of Empty Arms' in-person support groups and the resulting close, enmeshed community of bereaved parents in Western Massachusetts has inspired McMurrich to want to teach others about successful support group methodology and the ways in which support groups can build community among bereaved parents.


Evaluation of Stillbirth: Constructing Meaning from Pathology
Linda M. Ernst, M.D., M.H.S.

Dr. Linda Ernst is currently an Associate Clinical Professor and the director of Perinatal Pathology at NorthShore University HealthSystem. She has recently been name the Vice Chair for Research in the Pathology Department. She is board certified in AP-CP and Pediatric Pathology having trained at Yale University for her residency and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for fellowship. She has devoted her career to Perinatal Pathology with clinical expertise in Placental Pathology and Perinatal Autopsy. One of her greatest contributions to the field is the beautiful Color Altas of Fetal and Neonatal Histology. She has also had an active research career with over 80 peer-reviewed publications on subjects related to fetal and placental pathology and has a keen interest in stillbirth. She is currently a co-investigator on 3 NIH-funded research projects to evaluate the importance of placental pathology in poor pregnancy outcomes associated with social disadvantage, race, and environmental exposures. At NorthShore, she also obtained pilot

funding to investigate molecular methods to diagnose neonatal sepsis and recently been awarded the Harry B Neustein Award by the Society for Pediatric Pathology for her presentation of this innovative research. She has also very recently been selected as the FY2020 Auxiliary Scholar with plans to advance PCR-based diagnostic methods for neonatal sepsis.

Ethical and Communication Issues in the Perinatal Unit
Mark Sheldon, PhD

Mark Sheldon is Distinguished Senior Lecturer Emeritus in Philosophy at Northwestern University and is also faculty in the Medical Ethics and Humanities Program at Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University.  He received his PhD from Brandeis University, where he was awarded a Sachar Fellowship to study at Oxford University. He has served as Adjunct Senior Scholar at the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago, and Senior Policy Analyst at the American Medical Association. Formerly Professor of Philosophy and Adjunct Professor of Medicine at Indiana University (Northwest campus) and Indiana University School of Medicine, he currently serves as adjunct faculty and ethicist at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

Sheldon has published and presented talks on a variety of issues including informed consent, confidentiality, the forced transfusion of children of Jehovah's Witnesses, children as organ donors, disclosure, and the use of Nazi research. He has contributed book chapters and published in a variety of journals including The Journal of the American Medical Association, The Hastings Center Report, The Philosophical Forum, The Journal of Value Inquiry, and The New England Journal of Medicine. He has served as guest editor of two journals - Theoretical Ethics and Bioethics and The Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics. He has served a three-year term as a member of the Committee on Philosophy and Medicine of the American Philosophical Association and served as co-editor of the American Philosophical Association’s Newsletter on Philosophy and Medicine from 2000 until 2019. He also served as a member of the Task Force on Genetics for the Illinois Humanities Council. The focus of his research is the point at which the interests of children, the prerogatives of parents, and the obligations of the state often come into conflict in relation to medical decisions for children.

Psychotherapy for Pregnancy Loss and Newborn Death: Advanced Skills, Research Update and Current Controversies
Deborah Rich, PhD, LP

Deb Rich, PhD, LP, CPLC is the Founder and Director of Shoshana Center for Reproductive Health Psychology, PLLC in St. Paul, MN. Deb has provided specialty psychotherapy, training and consultation for over 30 years. Shoshana Center has gained local, national and international recognition, and is the only licensee of Dr. Rich’s training curricula, MommaCareTM. Deb was the Coordinator of Pregnancy Loss and Perinatal Mental Health Services for a Minnesota

multi-hospital and clinic health service from 1999-2013 when the Perinatal Support Services Department was eliminated. Deb has held leadership positions with the North American Society for Psychosocial OB/Gyn, Pregnancy Loss and Infant Death Alliance, Minnesota Women in Psychology and serves as national faculty for Resolve Through Sharing. She is currently expanding her work to Israel in order to accomplish frequent visits with her grandbabies and extended family.      

Perinatal Mood Disorders:  An Overview
Birdie Gunyon Meyer, RN, MA, PMH-C     

Birdie Gunyon Meyer is an RN with a Master’s Degree in Psychology and Counseling. She is the Founder of the Perinatal Mood Disorders Program at Indiana University Health in Indianapolis, Indiana.  She is Certified in Perinatal Mental Health, and is an internationally known expert and speaker. She is a Past-President and Past-Chair of Education and Training for Postpartum Support International (PSI) and currently is the Director of Certification. Birdie is also on the President’s Advisory Council for PSI and for the International Childbirth Education Association.  

Birdie specializes in the recognition and treatment of pregnancy and postpartum mood and anxiety disorders. She is a childbirth educator and a lactation counselor. Birdie is highlighted as a PMD expert in PSI’s video that is shown around the country. “Healthy Mom, Happy Family: Understanding Pregnancy and Postpartum Mood and Anxiety Disorders”. Birdie has been speaking to audiences for over 35 years and is an International Trainer for PSI’s 2-day “Perinatal Mood Disorders, Components of Care” and “Advanced Psychotherapy” 1-day training. She also speaks frequently to communities, nursing schools, grand rounds, and conferences.