United States of America

Professor Robert A. Neimeyer, Ph.D.

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 Christopher J. Johnson, Ph.D.

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.

Dr Rachael D. Nolan (she/her)

Rachael is an Assistant Professor at the University of Cincinnati, College of Medicine (UCCoM), and maintains an active consulting and grief recovery practice as an Advanced Certified Grief Recovery Specialist®. She is the co-founder and business owner of Sages of Grief, LLC, that specializes in assisting individuals and businesses navigate through grief and loss, charting a course towards grief recovery.

Dr. Nolan is a co-editor for the Ohio Journal of Public Health and currently serves as the Concentration Director of Health Services Management and Deputy Director in the UCCoM Masters of Public Health Program, which prepares students to promote health, prevent disease, and protect the well-being of communities, both locally and beyond. As an advocate for death, dying, end of life, and the unique needs of persons impacted by significant loss, Dr. Nolan’s research specializes in understanding the unique social determinants of grief experienced by underserved and medically disadvantaged communities, older adults, LGBTQ* folk, and the differently-abled.

In recognition of her scholarly contributions to the public health discipline, Dr. Nolan has been granted the distinguished merit as a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health (London, UK).


Jerry Fenter

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

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.