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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI College of Nursing to host national teleconference on ‘Diversity and End-of-Life Care’

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862

KINGSTON, R.I. – March 11, 2009 – The 16th annual Living with Grief Teleconference will be hosted by the University of Rhode Island’s College of Nursing, Wednesday, April 29 from 1:30 to 4 p.m. A 30-minute local discussion will follow the live broadcast.

This year’s program, “Diversity and End-of-Life Care,” will be presented at URI’s Coastal Institute, 218 South Ferry Road, Narragansett Bay Campus. The teleconference is free of charge for interested participants. Continuing education units are available for professionals at a cost of $25. Participants are required to register by calling 401-874-2766 or by going online at http://URI.EDU/Nursing.

“End-of-life issues are affected by ethnic background, religion, family customs, sexual orientation and many other factors,” said Diane Gerzevitz, URI clinical assistant professor of nursing.

“We welcome nurses, pharmacists, doctors, funeral directors, psychologists, educators, social workers, bereavement counselors and clergy,” Gerzevitz said. “The Living with Grief Teleconference is well known throughout the country as a premier program on death and dying issues.”

Each year it reaches 125,000 people in 2,000 communities in North America. This year’s teleconference will examine how diversity influences end-of-life decision-making and the impact that culture has at the time of death and during bereavement. One of the goals of the teleconference is to increase sensitivity by helping professionals acknowledge how their own cultural values and assumptions influence the delivery of care.

The teleconference will be moderated by Frank Sesno, professor of media and public affairs at The George Washington University and special correspondent with CNN.

Panelists are: Samira K. Beckwith, president and chief executive officer of Hope Hospice and Community Services; Sandy Chen Stokes, executive director of the Chinese American Coalition for Compassionate Care; Kenneth J. Doka, professor of gerontology at the Graduate School of the College of New Rochelle; Wanda H. Jenkins, bereavement services manager, Vitas Innovative Hospice Care; Richard Payne, director of the Institute on Care at the End of Life, Duke University; Paul Rosenblatt, professor in the College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota; and the Rev. Carlos Sandoval-Cros of St. Simon’s Episcopal Church and psychiatrist in private practice.

The teleconference is produced by Hospice Foundation of America, a not-for-profit organization, which acts as an advocate for the hospice concept of care through ongoing programs of professional education, public information and research on issues relating to illness, loss grief and bereavement.