WPSU webinar tackles bereavement support services for underserved communities

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pennsylvania — People of color have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, but there are often fewer resources available for grieving survivors in these communities.

“We need to be able to reach out to everyone and make sure no child cries alone,” said Cristina M. Chipriano, director of equity and community outreach at the Dougy Center for Grieving. Children and Families, based in Portland, Oregon.

Chipriano will be a panelist at a WPSU-produced webinar on August 30 on “Effective Outreach Strategies to Connect Underserved Communities with Bereavement Support Services.” The webinar is part of WPSU’s Speaking Grief initiative, a multimedia project that aims to encourage a national conversation about normalizing grief. The initiative has more than 20,000 followers on Instagram.

The webinar will take place at 6 p.m. EDT. More information and registration details are available at Speakinggrief.org/webinars.

Chipriano will be joined by panelists Judy Austin, director and senior therapist of the Grievance Center of Southwest Colorado; Charise Hunter, Family Groups Decision-Making Coordinator at the Southern Ute Department of Education, Tribal Courts and Tribal Council; and Tashel Bordere, assistant professor of human development and family sciences at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Alica Forneret, Founder and Executive Director of PAUSE, a project dedicated to supporting people of color in bereavement and end of life, will moderate the discussion.

Chipriano said she hopes the webinar will be seen by providers serving rural or other communities with small minority populations that may be overlooked.

“I hope they challenge themselves to reach out to communities that are disproportionately affected and that may not be reflected in their staff,” she said. “We have to get creative and not just say, ‘Here’s a Zoom link and connect when you can.'”

Other scheduled webinars are “The In-Between: Supporting Grieving Young Adults” on September 28 and “Supporting Neurodivergent Grieving People” on October 26.

Many other resources, including recordings of previous webinars, a documentary, and interviews with grief experts, are available at SpeakingGrief.org. The resources were created to help those who are grieving, people who want to support others who are grieving, and anyone who just wants to learn more about grief, said WPSU Senior Producer Lindsey Whissel Fenton.

“All of our resources were created to be extremely simple and actionable,” Fenton said. “A lot of people avoid grief. We don’t talk about it, so we don’t understand it, and we’re afraid of things we don’t understand. But we know more than we think; we cry many things throughout our life.

Primary funding for the Speaking Grief initiative is provided by the New York Life Foundation.

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