My primary area of research is care of persons experiencing complicated grief, a persistent and disabling grief experience. We have completed randomized-controlled trials examining Complicated Grief Group Therapy (CGGT) in two populations; suicide survivors and bereaved dementia caregivers. We are beginning a study adapting CGGT into a prevention model for dementia caregivers at risk for complicated grief, funded by the National Alzheimer's Association.
- PhD , Social Work, University of Utah. Project: Complicated Grief in Older Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Complicated Grief Group Therapy
- Master of Science, Child & Family Studies-Human Development, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Project: Thesis: The effect of pre-admission counseling on nursing home placement in the elderly.
- Master of Science, Counseling & Guidance, University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Bachelor of Science, Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Certification in Gerontology, Faye McBeath Institute on Aging, University of Wisconsin-Madison
I am an Associate Professor and the Director of Caring Connections: A Hope and Comfort in Grief Program, the bereavement care program of the University of Utah serving the intermountain west. I attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, earning a BS in Psychology, a Master’s Degree in Child and Family Studies (Human Development) and a Master’s Degree in Counseling and Guidance. I earned my PhD from the University of Utah College of Social Work in 2012.
I am a licensed clinical social worker and have been a practicing psychotherapist for over 30 years. My clinical practice includes care of older adults with depression and multiple chronic health concerns, end-of-life care, and bereavement care. In addition to counseling, I have worked in the areas of elder abuse and neglect, geriatric care management, nursing home advocacy and smoking cessation. I am a Fellow in the Gerontological Society of America, a Fellow of Thanatology-Association of Death Education and Counseling, and a founding member of the Social Work Hospice and Palliative Care Network.
Prior to joining the faculty in 2007, I served as social worker to the University of Utah Hospital Palliative Care team. Before coming to Utah, I was a clinical social work manager at Turner Geriatric Clinic-University of Michigan Health Center, and have also worked in the mental health system and in long-term care.