Program Director, UVM End-of-Life Doula Professional Certificate
Francesca Arnoldy, UVM alumna and longtime birth worker, is the course developer, facilitator, and program director of the University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine’s End-of-Life Doula Professional Certificate Program. She is author of Cultivating the Doula Heart: The Essentials of Compassionate Care and leads in-person workshops about doula approaches and end-of-life wishes. Her goal is to encourage people to hold one another’s hands through life’s intensities and sacred rites of passage. She founded Contemplative Doula as a resource to help people to prepare for birth, death, and life with the doula heart. Francesca lives in quaint Hinesburg, VT with her family in a most idyllic village.
DVM, JD, Owner of Old North End Veterinary Clinic and Vet to Pet Mobile Veterinary Service
Susan McMillan has a diverse background and began her career in justice, receiving a Doctor of Jurisprudence (JD) degree from George Washington University National Law Center. After working for the Department of Justice in Washington, DC, and working in consumer affairs, she attended University of Wisconsin’s School of Veterinary Medicine and received the Academic Leadership Award and Clinical Competency Award. Her animal care skills further developed in Fairbanks, Alaska, where she practiced as a veterinarian and served as volunteer vet for many sled dog races.
Upon moving to Vermont, Susan and her partner started Vet to Pet Mobile Veterinary Service in 2005, which grew into Old North End Veterinary Clinic and opened in 2006. As part of her practice, Susan offers hospice and end-of-life care for her patients because she believes in compassionate palliative care for animals. She works with clients to develop treatment plans for the care of their pets and focuses on alleviating discomfort, anxiety, pain, nausea, and dehydration for the pet, and looks for accommodations that can be made in the home to make life easier and safer for everyone.
Susan has also spent 12 years as the in-house veterinarian for the Human Society of Chittenden County and recently cycled off the HSCC Board of Directors after several years. She is a Past-President of the Greater Burlington Academy of Veterinary Medicine and a member of the VVMA and HSVMA. In her free time, Susan enjoys drawing, photography, snowshoeing, hiking, water skiing, running, and hiking. She is in the process of discernment to become ordained as a Deacon in the Episcopal Church. She is proud co-parent of beloved pets, Fury, Scoop, and Monkey. Fury and Scoop are cats from the Humane Society of Chittenden County and Monkey is a wonderful mutt from the south who was brought to Vermont via Potter’s Angels Rescue.
Born in Philadelphia, Dr. Ken Gorczyca has a diverse background, life experiences and interests. He graduated from the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine and started practicing in the Castro District of San Francisco at the dawn of the AIDS Pandemic in 1984. Ken learned to be a death doula by being with many of his friends and clients at the end of their lives.
Ken is a recent graduate of the University of Vermont’s (UVM’s) Companion Animal End-of-Life Certificate Program and the Companion Animal Euthanasia Training Academy. He is also a graduate from the Foundation of Shamanic Studies Three Year Program of Advanced Initiations in Shamanism and Shamanic Healing and is a regular participant and assistant at the School of Lost Borders which uses wilderness vision fasts for personal development, healing and ceremony.
During the past 25 years. Ken has worked tirelessly to build a more inclusive and stronger veterinary profession through his advocacy work at the Lesbian and Gay Veterinary Medical Association, (now Pride Veterinary Medical Community). He received the 2010 Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year award and the 2020 University of California School of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Achievement Award for his human-animal bond and his LGBTQ advocacy.
Ken helped establish Pets Are Wonderful Support (PAWS) in San Francisco in 1986 which provides volunteers, financial support for veterinary care, a pet food bank and pet-associated zoonoses education for pet guardians with HIV/AIDS, and has since expanded to assist low-income people with disabilities, who are homeless and who are aged. He led the national effort to establish similar organizations throughout the county.
Ken was introduced to painting, gardening and animals by his maternal grandfather, sparking lifelong passions. He has studied at the San Francisco Art Institute and UC Berkeley Extension and paints plein air nature scenes and pet portraits in memoriam and life.
Ken resides in San Francisco with his husband and dog companion, Kira, where he works as an at-home veterinary euthanasia practitioner at A Gentle Rest.
Heather Caulfield Mills
End-of-Life Doula Instructor
Heather is an end-of-life doula and one of the first graduates of the UVM program. She is passionate about serving her clients and their loved ones throughout their journey – honoring each client’s wishes for their death. She lives in Vermont with her husband and two small children. She is an award-winning writer and has edited several published works in the end-of-life field, including Francesca Arnoldy’s book Cultivating the Doula Heart. Heather found her own experience in the UVM EOL doula program to be invaluable both personally and professionally. She is grateful for this opportunity to share the course with others, and looks forward to discovering the unique skills and experiences each learner brings with them.
End-of-Life Doula Instructor
Tessa Cone is a yoga teacher, caregiver and Hospice Volunteer. As a graduate of the UVM EOL Doula Professional Certificate Program and other trainings for end-of-life care, she is passionate about serving as an EOL Doula. After many years of tutoring students, teaching rock climbing, Yoga, personal training and guiding people in the mountains, she is thrilled to be part of the team for the UVM EOL Doula Professional Certificate Program. Tessa lives in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and can be found outside on most days indulging her love of gardening, climbing, walking her dogs, meditating and simply being surrounded by the beauty of the natural world.
End-of-Life Doula Instructor
Greg received his Bachelor of Arts from Kenyon College, not far from the Ohio village where he was raised. Continuing his education in the Upper Midwest, he received a Master of Arts in Music Theory from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Nearly two decades later he pulled up his roots to return to his hometown to become the primary caregiver for his terminally ill father. Greg has always centered his life around music: teaching college-level music theory, giving piano lessons to children, singing in choirs, playing keyboards in bands, and volunteering to make playlists for people receiving hospice care. He loves late-night conversations about how people of all cultures use music to make meaning in all stages of their lives, particularly during the final days and weeks. Greg currently lives in Columbus, Ohio, where in his private end-of-life doula practice he welcomes opportunities to meet the needs of LGBTQIA+ clients and others whose support systems and family/friend networks are atypical.
Ken Dolan-Del Vecchio
LMFT, SPHR, Family Therapist and Author
Ken Dolan-Del Vecchio is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), and Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) who led monthly pet loss groups for eleven years. He is a lifelong animal companion enthusiast, having shared his home with dogs, cats, chickens, rabbits, cockatiels, finches, chinchillas, guinea pigs, turtles, mice, one horse, and one rat. A special rat, indeed, Nero sat on Ken’s shoulder eating peanuts while Ken studied late into the evenings while at college. Ken earned his B.A. in biopsychology at Cornell University and Master of Social Work (MSW) at Hunter College of the City University of New York. He completed a three-year post-graduate program in family therapy at The Multicultural Family Institute in Highland Park, New Jersey, and later served on the Institute’s board of directors. Ken is the author of four books, including The Pet Loss Companion: Healing Advice from Family Therapists Who Lead Pet Loss Groups; Simple Habits of Exceptional (But Not Perfect) Parents; and Making Love, Playing Power: Men, Women, and the Rewards of Intimate Justice. He is an award-winning leader and keynote speaker in the field of workplace mental health. Ken also delivers keynotes on power, bias, and inclusion in the workplace, as well as on parenting, couple relationships, and healing after loss. He appears monthly on NBC TV affiliate WWLP’s Mass Appeal show as an on-air expert on mental health, family relationships, and leadership. Ken has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Fast Company, Bloomberg, Entrepreneur, Inc. Magazine, Working Mother, HR Executive, and other media. In 2017, Ken retired from his 19-year tenure at Prudential as Vice President, Health and Wellness, and founded GreenGate Leadership, LLC. At Prudential, he was responsible for behavioral health services for US employees, leadership consulting internationally, and violence prevention. Learn more at GreenGateLeadership.com.
Molly Witters has been practicing veterinary medicine since 2009. She started her career as a mixed large animal practitioner, and for the last eight years has worked in a predominantly equine practice. Molly has a strong interest in preventative and palliative care. Her connections to the industry are also personal, as a lifelong horsewoman and animal-lover. Witters attended Middlebury College, where she was awarded a degree in Environmental Studies and Literature and received her veterinary degree from the University of Pennsylvania. When she’s not travelling to Vermont farms in her blue vet truck, she enjoys cross-country skiing with her family, or traipsing through the woods on her horse, Pete.
Veterinarian and Anesthesiologist's Assistant
Dr. Caroline Horn is an experienced veterinarian and anesthetist. She is the owner of Paws at Home Mobile Vet in Chittenden County, VT and has a special interest in pain management and senior pet care, including palliative and hospice care. Dr. Horn received her veterinary degree at the University of Georgia and a masters in human medical science specializing in anesthesia at Emory University. Prior to moving to Vermont and working at Peak Veterinary Referral Center, she also worked as an emergency vet in Atlanta, GA and Asheville, NC In addition, Dr. Horn contributed a chapter to the textbook, Small Animal Surgery by Theresa Fossum, that focused on veterinary small animal anesthesia.
Canine Behaviorist and Ethologist
Jamie Shaw, the owner of The Dog School, is a widely recognized expert in canine behavior and communication. She began training dogs at age 7 while growing up in Chicago, IL and has continued to do so ever since. Jamie came to Vermont in 1980 to attend Sterling College, where she earned a 2-year degree in Environmental Resource Management. She then went on to complete her B.S. in Animal Science at the University of Vermont, working with and training dogs along the way. After college, Jamie spent 2 years as an apprentice to Dr. Ray Coppinger, a world renowned ethologist and author. Returning to VT, Jamie’s career as a behaviorist took off, and she founded The Dog School. While starting her business, Jamie also served as the Animal Control Officer for South Burlington, gaining experience with the problems Vermont dog owners face while getting to know the local community (and their dogs).
An early adopter of scientific and positive reinforcement-based training, Jamie believes that how we train our dogs reflects the love we have for them. As the sole proprietor of The Dog School, Jamie ran group training classes in her indoor facility located first in Richmond, then in Williston, for 24 years, while also offering private behavior consultations and dog boarding in her Huntington home. In 1997 Jamie started teaching canine behavior at the University of Vermont, and has taught there since. Jamie also volunteers for numerous shelters and rescues, now focusing her volunteer efforts in rehabilitating and rehoming rescue dogs. In addition to her long career in the dog world, Jamie was the director of the rape crisis center in Burlington for 3 years.
Jamie’s book “Dog To Dog Communication: The Right Way To Socialize Your Dog” was published in 2007, with the aim of helping all dog owners better understand their canine companions. Jamie lives in Huntington, VT with her daughter, their 5 dogs and 2 geckos. Other animals in Jamie’s life have included a horse, rescued pot bellied pigs, rescued goats, and a lizard. She enjoys daily hikes with her pack, sledding, kayaking, gardening and “talking dogs.”
Eileen received a BS degree in biology and psychology from SUNY Oswego and attended graduate school at Rutgers University in the department of Ecology and Evolution. She conducted research on environmental enrichment behavior of two species of Bird of Paradise at the Bronx Zoo in Bronx, New York. After graduating with her MS, she worked as a Bird Keeper for three years at the Bronx Zoo, followed by serving as Bird Keeper at the San Diego Zoo. Her time as a Bird Keeper was filled with much happiness, and wonder, but there were also many challenges. She left zoo keeping after 16 years to pursue other dreams and goals.
Returning to the East Coast to be closer to family, Eileen currently lives in Roanoke, VA, surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains. She works at Ferrum Collegein the School of Arts and Sciences as a lab assistant. The favorite parts of her job are managing the school’s tropical greenhouse, caring for the education animals, and sharing her love of plants and animals with students and visitors.
Eileen completed the End-of-Life Doula Professional Certificate Program at UVM in March, 2020. When she’s not working, her favorite activities are nature photography, cooking, baking, gardening, volunteering at a local hospital, and walking with her dog in the woods.
Registered Psychotherapist, Certified Nursing Assistant
Marta Shoman comes to the Companion Animal EOL Doula work through multiple professional and personal streams of activities and study. Her relationship to companion animals (dogs and cats) is a heart connection that supports inter-species communication and counsel to humans. After living with 2 rescue Standard Poodles, a Labradoodle and one large black cat, she now provides long- and short-term dog and cat care for people in her community, dog walks and behavioral problem-solving support.
Marta is a Colorado Registered Psychotherapist with her Master’s degree in Contemplative Psychotherapy from Naropa University, Boulder Colorado. Over several decades, she has applied her counseling work in correctional, educational and private settings. She holds a state license as a Certified Nursing Assistant where she provides home health care services and care team coordination in private settings and in hospice. Marta is a member of the Crestone End of Life Project (CEOLP), a non-denominational community-based group promoting informed end of life choices and supporting their fulfillment for local residents.
Marta has her UVM End of Life Doula Professional Certification (December 2019) and in April 2020, she will complete the Companion Animal End of Life Professional Certificate. Marta is developing local EOL doula services in southwest Colorado based on supportive presence and non-judgmental counsel for people and their loved ones, as well as companion animals and their humans. Her other passions include: social justice and reconciliation work, and rambling along the Rio Grande river in the San Luis Valley and in the high country of the Sangre de Cristo mountains. She enjoys writing, contemplative practices, singing with a women’s group, and sharing healthy food with loved ones.
Energy Medicine Practitioner and Doula
Kat is a certified shamanic practitioner with a true passion for healing and is dedicated to helping others discover self empowerment for improving balance and vitality. She facilitates body, mind, emotional and spiritual health using a wide variety of energy healing modalities in her private healing practice. She is also an ordained officiant presiding over weddings and funerals, and is an End-of-Life Doula.
Robert E. Gramling, MD
Holly & Bob Miller Chair in Palliative Medicine Division Chief, Palliative Medicine Physician, & Associate Professor and Research Director, University of Vermont College of Medicine
Bob Gramling, M.D., D.Sc. is the Holly & Bob Miller Chair in Palliative Medicine and Tenured Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Vermont. Bob is the Chief of the UVM Division of Palliative Medicine, where his compassionate team cares for and about thousands of seriously ill people every year. He is the PI of the Vermont Conversation Lab, an inter-disciplinary team of inspiring student and faculty scholars dedicated to understanding and promoting high quality communication in serious illness. Bob has received major research funding from the National Institutes of Health, the National Palliative Care Research Center, the Greenwall Bioethics Foundation and the American Cancer Society. He has authored more than 100 publications, including the recent Palliative Care Conversations book with his brother, David, a world-renown cultural linguist. Bob received his undergraduate degree from Colby College, his Doctor of Medicine from Dartmouth Medical School, and his Doctor of Science (Epidemiology) from Boston University School of Public Health. He and Lindy are proud parents of Cailin and Finian, two pretty amazing UVM students, and Pancake, their trusty golden-doodle.
Fully realizing and embracing our imminent impermanence, Craig retired from the role of a Fortune 500 corporate business executive to give back and do something meaningful. Craig now sits with actively dying patients in hospice two or more days per week.
As altruistic as giving back sounds, Craig believes it’s also selfishly motivated, as he gains refreshed perspective on the tenuousness of life from the honor of performing this service for another, and heightened gratitude for the value of every moment alive. “In light of death one can (perhaps) step back, and laugh at all the silly things we thought were important. Everything other than love becomes unimportant.”
This work, combined with meditation and filling life with little adventures each day, has brought Craig great happiness—which he expects to continue—come what may.
Michelle Acciavatti, M.S.
End-of-Life Specialist at Ending Well
Michelle Acciavatti is an End-of-Life Specialist at Ending Well, LLC. Her work includes teaching people to be empowered patients, advance planning, being a pregnancy loss and end-of-life doula, training end-of-life doulas, creating meaningful and personal rituals for after death, including home funerals and green burial, and giving community workshops. What she enjoys most about her work is helping people make a personal connection with dying and death.
Michelle has her Master of Science in Neuroscience, a Clinical Ethics Certificate from Harvard Medical School, and has completed multiple end-of-life and home funeral programs. She previously worked as a consultant for the Office of Ethics at Boston Children’s Hospital. Michelle is proud to be the citizen champion of a green burial bill and founder of an LLC dedicated to helping people approach the end-of-life. In her spare time she devours books.
Healing Touch Practitioner; UVM College of Nursing Lecturer
Kathleen Scacciaferro, R.N., M.S.A., Certified Healing Touch Practitioner/Instructor. Kathleen is the School Nurse at Vergennes Union Middle / High School, Vergennes, VT, where she promotes a holistic health focus for faculty and students. She practiced and taught Healing Touch as part of End-of-Life Care at UVM Med Center, where she was a Critical Care Nurse and Manager for over 25 years. She is Part Time Faculty of the College of Nursing & Health Sciences at UVM. Kathleen teaches Healing Touch and Energy Medicine; online courses: LGBTQ Health Disparities and Dismantling Rape Culture; and leads UVM travel study courses to Cuba: Complementary Therapies in Cuban Health Care & Cultural Immersion and Mongolia: Traditional Mongolian Medicine & Cultural Immersion.
Mary Beth Daniels, MDiv
Spiritual Counselor, Celebrant, Animal Therapist, Healer, EOL Doula
Former corporate marketing executive turned interfaith minister, spiritual counselor, and animal whisperer, Mary Beth Daniels spends her days at Soul Celebration Sanctuary, a farm on Martha’s Vineyard communing with her alpacas, donkeys, goats, babydoll sheep and ducks. The Sanctuary is a place for deep healing and connection—for the animals as well as the humans who visit here. Mary Beth shares that the animals are profound spiritual teachers and guides and spending intentional time in the presence of the animals & nature helps us to connect to something deeper and richer in each of us- our true soul essence.
Through spiritual counseling sessions, group gatherings, retreats, workshops, ceremonies, and rituals, as well as alpaca, donkey, goat and sheep walks, Mary Beth invites individuals to transcend the ordinariness of life and experience the sacred in all things. There is something so mystical and magical about the Sanctuary and our beloved four-legged and webbed companions that beckon one to discover and recover the truth of our most authentic identity. Mary Beth accompanies others at the end-of-life and creates communities of celebration to honor the lives of our loved ones and beloved pet companions. She is working on a book to share the many spiritual lessons she has learned from her animal friends. Learn more at: www.soulcelebration.com.