Advisory Board

Dr Christopher J. Johnson, Ph.D. - USA

Dr Christopher J. Johnson received his Ph.D. in Sociology with a major in Aging and Family and minor in Social Psychology from Iowa State University, Sociology with major in Aging and Family. He earned his B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Denver. He has had a part time practice in gero-counseling with a gero-psychiatrist while in Louisiana as a licensed MFT, LPC. 

Chris retired as Director of Gerontology and Professor of Gerontology and Sociology at the University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM). He also was on the Board of the Geriatric Education Centers at LSU and Ole Miss. At ULM, he developed an award-winning (best academic program in Louisiana by Governor Foster) online M.A. in Gerontology Program. As Director of the Institute of Gerontology (NIA grant-funded) he has published in numerous journals and books. Dr Johnson taught in the Dementia Studies graduate programs at Stirling and Edinburgh Universities, Scotland and worked for the Dementia Services Centre at Stirling University. His exemplary teaching and research skills were recognized by being awarded a Distinguished Fellow in Gerontology. Working for Aging Consultants he and his wife Dr Roxann Johnson (PhD in Dementia Studies) have designed and developed over a hundred Memory Care neighbourhoods in long-term care homes in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. First published in the American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, the Johnson’s model of Alzheimer’s as Time Travel has won international acclaim. 

In the area of teaching, Chris came to Texas State to initiate and be a major contributor to the new online M.S. in Dementia and Aging Studies (link to a program description). His online Masters in Gerontology at ULM was awarded as a top academic program among Louisiana Universities by Governor Foster. He was recognized among the top five teachers at his former University (The University of Louisiana at Monroe or ULM) and has won teaching accolades at Texas State being voted favourite Professor by the student Honor Society three times. 

In research, besides procuring over 3 million dollars in grant and private funding, his interests are in end-of-life dementia care, social models of dementia care, suicide, thanatology, religiosity, and world religions. At his previous university, he was twice awarded “Researcher of the Year” in the School of Arts and Sciences. He has conducted a state-wide needs assessment of elderly in Iowa but specializes in oral histories. He was awarded an Endowed Professorship in Gerontology in Louisiana based upon his outstanding teaching and research skills.

Professor Robert A. Neimeyer, Ph.D. - USA

Robert A. Neimeyer, PhD, is Professor Emeritus of the Department of Psychology, University of Memphis, and maintains an active consulting and coaching practice. He also directs the Portland Institute for Loss and Transition, which provides online and onsite training internationally in grief therapy. Since completing his doctoral training at the University of Nebraska in 1982, he has conducted extensive research on the topics of death, grief, loss, and suicide intervention.

Neimeyer has published 30 books, including Techniques of Grief Therapy: Assessment and Intervention and Grief and the Expressive Arts: Practices for Creating Meaning, the latter with Barbara Thompson. The author of over 500 articles and book chapters, he is currently working to advance a more adequate theory of grieving as a meaning-making process, both in his published work and through his frequent professional workshops for national and international audiences.

Neimeyer is the Editor of the respected international journal, Death Studies, and served as President of the Association for Death Education and Counselling. In recognition of his scholarly contributions, he has been granted the Distinguished Research Award, the Distinguished Teaching Award, and the Eminent Faculty Award by the University of Memphis, elected Chair of the International Work Group on Death, Dying, and Bereavement, and given the Research Recognition, Clinical Practice and Lifetime Achievement Awards by the Association for Death Education and Counselling. Most recently, he has received the Phoenix Award: Rising to the Service of Humanity from the MISS Foundation, been given ADEC’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and been recognized as an Honoured Associate of the Viktor Frankl Association for his lifetime contributions to the study of meaning.

Dr Maggie Ellis - Senior research partner - UK

Dr Maggie Ellis is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the School of Psychology & Neuroscience, University of St Andrews where she develops teaching, training and consultancy in dementia care, based on her own research. Maggie has been working with and researching the lives and experiences of people with dementia, their family members and professional caregivers for twenty years. Her research portfolio includes the development of positive interventions to support people to live well with dementia and to maintain and create relationships. Maggie’s main research focus is on identifying and utilising the spared communication skills in people at very advanced stages of dementia. As such, she worked with collaborator Professor Arlene Astell, to develop Adaptive Interaction, a method of supporting meaningful communication between caregivers and people with very advanced dementia. Adaptive Interaction is a nonverbal technique that supports the building of interpersonal connections and relationships using movements, sounds and eye gaze. This work has generated much interest in the fields of both dementia research and care. Maggie has received personal invitations from the editors of the Journal of Dementia Care and the Journal of Counselling and Healthcare to write articles on this research. She has also given invited talks to multidisciplinary audiences from Dublin to Toronto. She has recently co-authored a book on Adaptive Interaction

Professor Leeroy William - Clinical lead - Australia

Leeroy is the Clinical Director of a Palliative Medicine Service in Australia, who grew up and trained in East London, moving to Dorset for his postgraduate medical training. He has been working in palliative care since 2003, beginning in Lymington (UK), then New Plymouth and Auckland (New Zealand), before settling in Melbourne. Leeroy has developed leadership roles in clinical, educational and research activities and is the current President of the Australian & New Zealand Society of Palliative Medicine.

He has been a Clinical Lead for Schwartz Rounds and has an interest in cancer pain, health professional education, transitions in palliative care, communication skills, and holistic inter-professional care. His passion for improving the knowledge about palliative care has led to development and management of the Facebook page, “Palliative Medicine Teaching” which developed from medical student teaching in 2012.

Healthcare and society have an important role in supporting people and their families during life-threatening illness. The transition from living with an illness to dying from it affects people in different ways. It becomes even more important that we listen to understand and recognise where we can support people, their families and their social networks. 

For these reasons, Leeroy remains dedicated to promoting compassionate healthcare and communities.

Dr Angela Bowen - Clinical lead - UK

Angela is a Consultant Haematologist in the United Kingdom. 

She has been in her current post for 18 years. She trained in South London and Surrey and is originally from London. In her current post, Angela treats patients with the full range of haematological diseases,  both benign and malignant. Many of these conditions are chronic and, as a result, she has known some of her patients and their families for almost 18 years too. She is passionate about  the care of patients with haematological cancer, from the start of their cancer journey to the end. She believes in treating the whole patient as an individual and not just the disease. 

Death is a part of this journey and we are fortunately much more open in our discussions about death today than in her early medical career and sees this as a great advance in managing patients and their families.  Equally, for those patients fortunate to have been successfully treated, survivorship and getting back to a healthy life is key to a full recovery both physically and mentally. 

She loves the countryside, travel, running and yoga and is shortly embarking on Yoga Teacher Training, which she hopes to bring to cancer patients in the NHS in the future. 

Greg Cronan - Australia

Upon completing studies about intergenerational practice at Griffith University (Gold Coast Australia), Greg commenced the implementation of a new and innovative intergenerational learning program. These purposeful interactions involve students situated in their classroom discussing school curriculum topics and other mutually agreed subjects via weekly video calls with elders at a residential aged care home. One of the objectives for these discussion is to achieve reciprocal learning, heath and behavioural outcomes for both age groups. The positive changes in mood and behaviour for the students and elders have been significant. Other outcomes from these interactions has been laughter and the enjoyment of two diverse age groups learning together. The program has recently expanded to include elders living in their own home and young children at early learning centres. All video calls are recorded for research, to improvement the program and for the pleasure of viewing the interactions at a later date.

Tommy Dunne BEM - Patient Advocate - UK

With over 40 years in the Rail transport industry, starting as a Trainee Train Driver, then a Train Driver, then an Instructor Driver, Driver Manager, before becoming the Train Operator Interface Manager for Network Rail. His final position was as Rail Compliance Manager at Mersey travel. Tommy is now a Director of thredCiC Community interest Company. 

After being misdiagnosed with bipolar, he was finally diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s in December 2011. Since his diagnosis he's been: Chair of the Service Users Reference Forum (SURF) Board member of the Nation Dementia Action Alliance (DAA) Member of the 3 Nations Dementia Working Group (3NDWG) A member of Everton pass on the memories group and he is also Vice Chair of the Liverpool DAA Transport Group. 

In 2013 he won at the NHS Positively Awards the Recovery Champion and the Winner of Winners award. In 2014 he won the Innovate Dementia Award and he was awarded British Empire Medal June 2016 for work for People living with Dementia. 

His goal in life is to help his Peers and their family Carers understand that you can still live a happy and productive life after a diagnoses and to take the fear and stigma out of dementia.

Roberta Roccella Askew - UK

Until recently, Roberta (Robi) was the Head of Quality of Life at HC-One, one of the largest health and social care providers in the UK. She has 20 years’ experience within operational and quality related roles in the sector. Robi studied economic history and psychology in Italy and relocated to the UK in 2003 to set up an advocacy project for people with profound disabilities, which received formal recognition from HRH the Countess of Wessex for empowering people with profound disabilities to have a voice in decisions relating to their lives and the care that they receive.

She has committed her career to promoting personalised care and advocates for people receiving care to be recognised as individuals and to have control over the choices regarding their care and quality of life.

She is extremely passionate about value-based technology that can drive better outcomes for people receiving care.

Caroline Southgate MCSP - UK

Caroline is a physiotherapist and founder of Doris Jones Ltd. Named after her Grandmother, Doris Jones is an Outstanding rated home care provider in Essex. Caroline has a Fellowship with NICE 2021-2023 with a focus on the implementation of guidance for people who receive care at home, particularly when they have support with medications. As a business leader Caroline is keen to promote the home care sector as a solution to living well into old age, or with illness, supported and surrounded by the familiar comforts of home. Caroline has authored a book called Cooking for Carers to help support nutrition and hydration as part of great care and will be launching an exciting new training and development programme on this subject in 2022. With a focus on home care, physiotherapy and wellbeing of both paid and unpaid carers, Caroline brings to the advisory board an experience of many years working with families to support end of life care. Her approach to care is to promote dignity, humour and kindness to meet the needs of everyone involved in this important stage of life.

Olga Nikolajev - Canada

Olga is a death educator, certified in Thanatology, the study of death, dying, loss and grief. She is a dying well advocate, nurse educator, cannabis educator and grief counselor with over 25 years of professional experience as a registered nurse in various health care settings, including hospice palliative care. Her educational history includes a degree in Anthropology and Psychology, a Master’s degree in Religion and Culture, an interdisciplinary certificate in palliative care, along with her recent Cannabis Science certificate. Olga has been involved in national, provincial and local efforts to shift the way we view and approach our dying experience, death and grief, including how we care for each other at the end of life. She served as one of the founding faculty members for the Virtual School for Community Deathcare in Canada and is currently facilitating on-line Thanatology program courses through Centennial College, and the on-line End of Life Doula course through Douglas College across Canada. 

Olga is also the founder and director of a Death Education social enterprise and is the founder and current administrator of the Death Doula Ontario Network.

Rev. Ashley Liddington - UK

Having worked in ministry for over 20 years and now specialising as a Chaplain in older persons care, Ashley is a passionate advocate for Spiritual, Pastoral and End of Life Care within healthcare settings. He now oversees the Spiritual and Pastoral needs of the Luxury Care Group (service users and staff), the delivery and maintenance of the end of life pathway within the company along with many other responsibilities.

Holding qualifications in many areas including, Community Chaplaincy, Grief and Bereavement Counselling, End of Life Care, Spiritual Care, activities planning along with being a qualified Soul Midwife and a Mental Health First aider he works hard on ensuring that people get the best support available. He is member of The Collage of Healthcare Chaplains and in 2020 was made a Fellow at the Society of Bereavement Practitioners for his dedication and commitment to the work of End of Life Ministry.

Ross Wilson - Canada

Since the day Ross was born, he was groomed to take over the family hair business. As the next in line of a hair empire, Ross travelled the world attending hair shows, hands on classes and worked in some of the top salons and barbershops across Canada and US. On November 20th, 2017 Ross lost his mother to a long but courageous battle with Cancer. At this moment he realized that all the money, wealth and success he strived for couldn’t save his mother. From that moment on Ross removed himself from the family business and became a true minimalist in all aspects. After the loss of his mother, Ross became an End Of Life Doula and a Hospice Chaplain. He witnessed with his own mothers death, the importance of having one's dignity honoured and respected. This lead him to dedicate his life to providing that level of service and dignified support to the growing homeless population in Canada. In March 2021, Ross created the non-profit organization called “Bardo Network” which provides end of life care and services to Hospice Shelters and homeless shelters across Canada.

Jo Wood - Australia

Jo is an experienced clinical social worker, currently working at a specialist palliative care unit in Melbourne, Australia. She holds postgraduate qualifications in bereavement counselling and has recently taken up a leadership role with Palliative Care Social Work Australia. This leading organisation represents social workers with experience and interest in palliative, end-of-life and bereavement care. 

Jo is passionate about the provision of holistic, interdisciplinary, collaborative and compassionate healthcare for all.

Jerry Fenter - USA

After 30 years of ministry as a pastor for churches, Jerry began a new career as a hospice chaplain in 2010 and felt that he had found his true home in serving people on their end of life journey. Jerry serves as the System Director of Spiritual Counselors for Harbor Healthcare System, a multi-site hospice agency. Jerry is also the co-owner of The Heart of Hospice podcast and uses that platform to encourage and educate hospice professionals.  In 2018 Jerry was selected to serve as a member of the Palliative Care Interdisciplinary Advisory Council for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.  It’s his passion to use each of these roles to help improve the quality of life for every person needing hospice and palliative care.

Helen Bauer - USA

Helen has worked in nursing for over 30 years, specializing in hospice and end of life care for the past 10 years. She is a Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Registered Nurse with a background in compliance and consulting.  As co-owner of The Heart of Hospice, she provides end of life education and consulting services for both hospice providers and consumers.  Helen’s passion for quality end of life care can be heard on The Heart of Hospice podcast as she leads discussions on hospice philosophy, how to get the most from your hospice experience, and advance care planning.

Lisa Doherty - UK

Lisa is Co-founder Dementia Support Services and is an experienced senior Occupational Therapist. She has gained a wealth of experience working within the National Health Service, Social Services and Private Sector.  Part of her role involves post diagnostic counselling and is a trained Dementia Care Mapper, an observational tool which identifies the level of well-being in people living with any form of dementia.

Ru Watkins - UK

Ru a senior executive with extensive experience in leadership and transformational change in both the private and public sectors, who enjoys making a difference.  Demonstrable success in delivering innovation and programmes in both UK and overseas in many sectors including, Defence, Health, Charity and Telecommunications. Ru now independently advises various Public Health and Third Sector organisations.

Jane Duncan Rogers - UK

Award winning coach Jane was devastated when her husband died in 2011. Little did she know that 3 years on she would have founded Before I Go Solutions®, a not-for-profit organisation that provides education, products and programmes to help people create their end of life plans, with the latest product being the End of Life Planning card deck. Her TEDx talk, How to Do A Good Death, was given in 2017 and in 2018 her second book, ‘Before I Go: The Essential Guide to Creating A Good End of Life Plan’ was published. The Before I Go Academy was also started in 2018, enabling lay people and professionals to become licensed End of Life Plan Facilitators. Jane’s background of 25+ years in the world of personal development, training and consulting enables her to bring several different perspectives to a subject that many find hard to talk about. She lives in the north of Scotland, and has a new husband with whom she is building not only a new life but a new eco-house together.