August 15, 2018 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

King’s College hosted the 30th meeting of the International Working Group on Death, Dying and Bereavement (IWG) in June 2018 and received high praise for the organization and planning of the meeting.

“The King’s community pulled together to make this meeting a huge success,” Dr. Darcy Harris, Ph.D., FT, Thanatology Program Coordinator and Associate Professor, says, pointing to the support received from Information Technology Services, Central Services, Finance, and Media and Communications.

“The board of the IWG told us… (this) was the most well-organized and planned meeting they could recall,” Dr. Harris says. “This was really due to all the background support we received in the planning and implementing of the meeting.”

The pre-meeting conference on Dying Matters: Current Issues and Approaches in Hospice Palliative Care took place at Labatt Hall at King’s on June 23. It was attended by approximately 100 people including local clinicians, social service workers, and health care professionals. They heard internationally-recognized leaders in the field speak on topics including assisting grieving children and families, the impact of the Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) legislation in Canada, creativity and mindfulness for professionals in the field, and current trends and issues in hospice/palliative care.

The IWG Conference took place at Ivey Spencer Leadership Centre near King’s June 24-29. It was attended by 100 participants from 30 countries. They were welcomed by Peter Fragiskatos, MP-London North Centre, along with Dr. Joseph Michalski, Associate Professor/Associate Academic Dean at King’s, and Bill Hill, a representative from the Indigenous community. Speakers for the meeting included Glen Pearson, Board Member of the London Poverty Research Centre at King’s, Leslee WhiteEye, a member of King’s Board of Directors and past Chief, Chippewas of the Thames First Nation, Dr. Naheed Dosani, and Dr. Sheldon Solomon.

Attendees participated in workgroups, exploring specific topical areas from an international perspective. Topics included family issues and death, complicated grief interventions, structural issues and use of language in the field, compassion-based approaches to death, dying, and grief, sociological perspectives and current issues, and cost-analysis issues in care settings.

The 2018 IWG conference is the third to take place in London. The 1986 and 1993 meetings were organized by Dr. John (Jack) Morgan, who founded the Thanatology program at King’s.

“It was an honour for me to feel like I was walking in (Dr. Morgan’s) footsteps,” Dr. Harris says of her involvement in the conference.