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Collage of Resolve Through Sharing national faculty.

Resolve Through Sharing National Faculty

Learn alongside our distinguished national faculty who bring vast professional experiences and perspectives to RTS bereavement training.

See bereavement trainings

Meet our national faculty

When you join us for Resolve Through Sharing (RTS) training, you'll learn from and interact with members of our outstanding national faculty team. Each presenter has a unique background with a different healthcare and patient-care related specialization, and all are committed to the ongoing advancement of quality bereavement care services for patients and families. Our national faculty members uphold the RTS evidence base and enrich the learning experience. 

Laura Birkeland, MS, CGC

Portrait of Laura Birkeland.

UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health Master of Genetic Counseling Program director, RTS national faculty

Laura earned her Bachelor of Arts in Biology at Gustavus Adolphus College and her Master of Science in Medical Genetics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After completing her master’s degree, she began her clinical work in prenatal genetic counseling with UnityPoint Health-Meriter. In 2010, she joined the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health’s Master of Genetic Counselor Students (MGCS) program where she developed an interest in program development and student education. In 2014, she became the assistant program director for the MGCS program, and in 2022, she was named the program director. In her role as director, Laura provides expert leadership, vision and oversight to continue the growth and positive impact of this key health professions education program.

Mary Beth Hensel, MBA

Portrait of Mary Beth Hensel.

RTS director, Resolve Through Sharing national faculty

Mary Beth joined RTS, a program of Gundersen Medical Foundation, in 2008 and has served as director since 2016. Her strategic vision led to program expansion, business model conversion and evidence-based examinations to ensure quality, diversity, equity, and inclusion measures are met. Notably, she steered RTS through the COVID-19 crisis.  

Mary Beth regularly presents on RTS programming to leadership groups, including delivering the RTS Coordinator Training. She serves as an integral part of the RTS writing and editing team. Her co-authored chapter—“Using Principles of Guided Participation to Develop and Maintain a Bereavement Program,"—can be found in the award-wining book Guided Participation in Pediatric and Nursing Practice. The chapter deftly weaves together the origins of the RTS program and Mary Beth’s MBA research measuring the effectiveness of RTS training.

Mary Beth is the first invited member to the board of directors for the Pregnancy Loss and Infant Death Alliance. She has served on the steering committee for Gundersen’s chapter of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Her leadership extends into the community, where she’s active on a variety of boards and committees.   

Lori Ives-Baine, MN, BScN, RN, CPB, CWT, TIP

Portrait of Lori Ives-Baine.

SickKids Hospital Grief Support coordinator, RTS national faculty

Lori has been nursing at SickKids Hospital in Toronto, Ontario, Canada since 1990, primarily in palliative and bereavement care settings. She obtained her BScN at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and her master’s degrees in Nursing and Bioethics at the University of Toronto. In addition, Lori has 2 traumatology certificates.  

Lori’s passion is supporting those who are dying and their families; she sees such resilience and growth in those with whom she works. She formed a grief support program as part of her work with her pediatric hospital’s palliative care service. This donor-funded program serves families for as long as they need in their grief journey.  

Lori presents internationally on many topics focused on grief and bereavement in pediatrics. She is on the board of directors for Bereaved Families of Ontario and for the Bereavement Ontario Network. Lori served on the Pregnancy Loss and Infant Death Alliance Board for 8 years.  

Lori is published in the Oxford Textbook of Palliative Care for Children (3rd edition). Her research has focused on family experiences and nurse experiences of caring for a dying child. 

Natasha Nurse-Clarke, PhD, RN, FAAN

Portrait of Natasha Nurse-Clark.

Assistant professor at Lehman College, City University of New York (CUNY), RTS national faculty  

Dr. Nurse-Clarke is a registered nurse with a background in neonatal nursing, grief counseling and nursing education. She has experience as a regional perinatal center coordinator at Maimonides Medical Center and experience facilitating a bereavement support group for families experiencing miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death. Dr. Nurse-Clarke currently serves as an associate professor and undergraduate program director in the Department of Nursing at CUNY in the Bronx, N.Y., where she is a leader in online education.

Dr. Nurse-Clarke holds a PhD in Nursing from the CUNY Graduate Center, where she completed a grounded theory, dissertation study exploring how nurses care for patients experiencing stillbirth. She has been involved in the New York State Birth Equity Improvement Program, the New York State COVID-19 Maternity Task Force and various other public health driven initiatives around maternal-child care.  

Dr. Nurse-Clarke is active in the Delta Zeta chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International; the New York chapters of the National Black Nurses Association, the National League for Nursing, and the National Association of Neonatal Nurses; and other associations. Her work on perinatal loss and online education is widely published, and she presents at multiple conferences and speaking engagements.

Darryl Owens, MDiv, BCC, CT, CPLC

Portrait of Darryl Owens.

UNC Hospital Department of Pastoral Care Women Services Chaplain and Bereavement counselor, RTS national faculty  

Darryl received his undergrad degree in Industrial Relations from the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill and his Master of Divinity from Duke University. After graduation, he served as a clinical chaplain at Central Prison in Raleigh, N.C.  

Darryl has served in his current role as a women’s services chaplain/grief counselor at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill since 2001. Darryl provides pastoral care and grief counseling to patients, families and staff of N.C. Women’s Hospital. He also manages the perinatal bereavement follow-up program, serves on the hospital bereavement team and trains facilitators for the community bereavement support group.  

Darryl is certified as a clinical chaplain through the Association for Professional Chaplains and served as president of the organization. He is also certified in thanatology through the Association for Death Education and Counseling and in perinatal loss care through the National Board for Certification of Hospice and Palliative Nurses. 

Catherine Pelletier, MS, CCLS

Portrait of Catherine Pelletier.

Certified child life specialist, RTS national faculty  

Catherine serves at the bedside as a child life specialist in the Outpatient Surgery Center at Gundersen Health System and in the development and implementation of bereavement support as the system bereavement coordinator. She has expansive experience in pediatric psychosocial development and grief, including a master’s degree in Child Life from Auburn University and clinical practice at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.  

While completing her master’s degree, Catherine assisted in developing and implementing a non-pharmacological pain management system in the Level III NICU at East Alabama Medical Center.

As a child development expert, Catherine strives to ensure that life remains as normal as possible for children and their families in healthcare settings and other challenging environments. She promotes effective coping through play, self-expression, age-appropriate medical preparation and bereavement support. Catherine introduced scripting at her organization as an aide for difficult conversations with children and families. The scripts she constructs serve as multifaceted tools that enable children, parents, and providers to learn while developing competencies. Catherine was selected to present this groundbreaking work at the 2024 International Perinatal Bereavement Conference.

In her role as bereavement coordinator, Catherine works with staff across the organization to standardize bereavement care throughout the system. 

Elizabeth Ricci, MS, RN, IBCLC

Portrait of Elizabeth Ricci.

Perinatal Testing Centers nurse manager at Main Line Health System - Bryn Mawr, RTS national faculty  

Elizabeth has over 40 years of nursing experience in maternal/child units. She practiced as an adjunct professor at Delaware County Community College and Widener University in Pennsylvania. For 18 years, she owned and operated a freestanding birth and breastfeeding resource center, offering lactation consultation, birth and postpartum support, and doula services. Throughout her career, she has served as chair for perinatal bereavement and perinatal palliative and hospice care committees. She has also planned and implemented perinatal bereavement programs for three hospital systems. Elizabeth is currently the nurse manager for Perinatal Testing Centers in a four-hospital health system.

Elizabeth is trained in psychological first aid and serves as a member of her system’s critical incident response team and bioethics committee. She has also served as vice president for the Pregnancy Loss and Infant Death Alliance and the Pennsylvania Resource Organization for Lactation Consultants. Elizabeth’s RTS journey began in 1986 as a hospital perinatal bereavement coordinator.  

Deb Rich, PhD, LP, PMH-C

Portrait of Deb Rich.

Shoshana Center for Reproductive Health Psychology founder and director, RTS national faculty  

Dr. Rich is a licensed psychologist with over 35 years of experience providing psychotherapy, professional training, consultation and program development. She completed Resolve Through Sharing training and became a coordinator in 1989. Dr. Rich served 13 years as system-wide coordinator of Perinatal Bereavement Services for Fairview Health Services in Minnesota. She currently works full time in her specialty practice, Shoshana Center for Reproductive Health Psychology, which was founded in 1995 and inspired by the birth of her stillborn daughter. Dr. Rich was among the first cohort to receive the designation certified in perinatal loss care by the Hospice and Palliative Care Credentialing Center. She became certified in the specialty of perinatal mental health, which includes perinatal loss specialization, in 2021.

Dr. Rich has served in leadership positions in the Pregnancy Loss and Infant Death Alliance, Twin Cities Pregnancy Loss Coordinators Coalition, Pregnancy and Postpartum Support Minnesota, North American Society for Psychosocial Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Minnesota Women in Psychology. She is currently the chair of the International Marce Society Pregnancy Loss and Infant Death special interest group. She has lectured both locally and nationally and has published articles in many professional journals.  

Marie Walter, MS, RN, C-EFM, CPLC

Portrait of Marie Walter.

RTS national faculty

Marie spent most of her career as a clinical nurse specialist in Obstetrics at Gundersen Health System as part of an interprofessional team providing care to women with high-risk pregnancies. In 2016, Marie assumed the role of RTS lead educator, a position she held for 4 years. As part of her inpatient responsibilities, Marie also served as the bereavement coordinator for her unit. She served as Gundersen's liaison for perinatal palliative care and was the chair of the Advanced Degree Nurse Committee for over 10 years. Marie retired in 2020, after 42 years as a registered nurse.

In 2015, Marie led the interdisciplinary team and developed protocols and standard operating procedures for implementation of the nitrous oxide pain management program in Labor & Delivery at Gundersen. In 2011, Marie received the Wisconsin Association of Perinatal Care President's Award for her commitment to the health of women and babies in Wisconsin.

Marie is a board member of the Great Lakes Milk Bank—an organization that provides breast milk to NICUs and at-risk infants throughout the Midwest. They have a bereavement program that allows bereaved mothers to donate in honor of their babies who have died. 

Abigail Wilpers, PhD, WHNP-BC

Portrait of Abigail Wilpers.

University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing associate professor, RTS national faculty

As a clinician, Dr. Wilpers has cared for pregnant people and families facing their greatest fear—the loss of a normal pregnancy and the possibility of going home without a child. As a researcher, she explores how models of care, social determinants of health and patients’ experiences connect to perinatal care quality and health outcomes. One of her notable projects is the development and validation of a person-centered care scale. It is designed for specialized fetal diagnosis and treatment practices to promote care that is respectful of, and responsive to, individuals’ and families’ preferences, needs and values. Dr. Wilpers has also helped develop hospital-based perinatal palliative care programs and is proud to have served community-based perinatal loss organizations, such as Hope After Loss. 

This was a well-directed training, with wonderful educational terms and concepts. It was thoughtful and I enjoyed the discussion and learning that occurred over the past two days.
Graphic of teardrop resting on green leaf.

RTS team members

Portrait of Mary Beth Hensel.
Mary Beth Hensel
Portrait of Ann Weidner.
Ann Weidner
Business development consultant
Portrait of Arie Bachmann.
Arie Bachmann
Virtual learning systems administrator
Portrait of Kathleen Cassidy.
Kathleen Cassidy
Education conference planner
Portrait of Melissa Koch, Resolve Through Sharing.
Melissa Koch
Managing editor/writer
Portrait of Catherine Pelletier.
Catherine Pelletier
Bereavement coordinator
Portrait of Cynthia Steinhoff.
Cindy Steinhoff
Office assistant
Portrait of Amanda Weyer.
Amanda Weyer
Materials specialist
Portrait of Doctor Randi Berg.
Randi Berg
Medical partner
Professional portrait of Rana limbo.
Rana Limbo
Director emerita
Ask our experts

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