2018 FRIENDS WAY Conference
When Death Impacts Your Community: Helping Children Heal
Thursday, November 15, 2018
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Metacomet Country Club
​500 Veterans Memorial Parkway, East Providence, RI 

FRIENDS WAY is pleased to announce its first annual professional development conference. FRIENDS WAY is a unique organization in Rhode Island and Southern Massachusetts that provides peer support bereavement groups for children and teens who have experienced the death of a loved one. Schools and communities encounter deaths that have a significant impact on their children and teens: the death of a parent, a friend, a sibling, a staff member. Death brings a level of trauma that is difficult to navigate, whether the result of an illness, a suicide or drug overdose, a homicide or other violent loss. 

This all-day conference will include nationally-recognized experts on planning for and responding to events, and local school personnel and students who have lived through tragic experiences. We’ll also explore strategies for addressing the fears that result from these events whether personally experienced or observed through the news. Finally, there will be sessions on supporting the healing of children both in the short-term and long-term.



  1. Donna Shuurman, EdD, FT
    Managing Director
    Donna Schuurman, EdD, FT is an internationally recognized authority on grief and bereaved children, teens, and families, and the author of Never the Same: Coming to Terms with the Death of a Parent, among other publications. A seasoned and compelling speaker to both public and professional audiences around the world, Schuurman trains, lectures, serves on panels, and presents keynotes on understanding and facilitating the grieving process of children. In addition to her leadership roles at The Dougy Center in Portland, Oregon, Schuurman has written extensively on topics related to bereaved children and has worked on the ground with families and communities impacted by large-scale tragedies including the Oklahoma City bombing, 9/11, the Sandy Hook/CT school shootings, and others.
  2. Jennifer Kaplan Schreiber, PhD, LICSW
    Managing Director
    Jennifer Kaplan Schreiber, PhD, LICSW, FT, is founding director for Jeff’s Place Children’s Bereavement Center, Inc. in Framingham, MA, and Clinical Director of Manitou Experience, a weeklong overnight camp for grieving boys. She has worked extensively with bereaved children, teens and families in various settings providing counseling, professional training and education, and crisis intervention regarding issues of grief and loss with youth. Kaplan Schrelber is the author of Young Adults Coping With Death: You Are Not Alone. She teaches as an Adjunct Faculty member at Simmons College School of Social Work in Boston and participates on multiple research projects related to childhood health. Kaplan Schrelber was also the founder of FRIENDS WAY.
  3. Carolyn Hames, MS, RN
    Managing Director
    Carolyn Hames, MS, RN, is associate professor in the College of Nursing at URI. Hames specializes in pediatric nursing and thanatology – the study of death, loss and grief. Hames is very involved with the College of Nursing’s Weyker Thanatology Endowment, the goal of which is to improve the care of the dying and bereaved through education and research. Hames helped establish and lead FRIENDS WAY in 1999 and has written many articles on children’s issues surrounding death and bereavement.
  4. Doreen Wiggins, MD
    Managing Director
    Doreen Wiggins, MD, is assistant clinical professor of surgery and obstetrics and gynecology at Brown University, physician/surgeon at the Women’s Medical Collaborative, and director of the Cancer Survivorship Program at Brown University. Recently, Wiggins completed the Executive Masters in Healthcare Leadership at Brown University. In addition to her medical training, Wiggins completed training as a children's grief counselor at the Dougy Center in Oregon in 2000. She serves as Advisory Board member of FRIENDS WAY (RI's children's-only grief center) and in the past has been the Vice President of the Board, and volunteered as a facilitator. She has published book chapters and journal articles and has received numerous awards for medical teaching at Brown University, along with awards for philanthropy.

Learning Objectives​​

At the conclusion of this session, participants should be able to:

  1. Recognize the impact of death in a school or community on the children and youth across developmental levels.
  2. Identify strategies for navigating these tragic experiences, including crisis response, communicatin, and leadership fromboth students and adults.
  3. Develop an understanding of the therapeutic supports and long-term healing strategies that will heal individuals and the community.


  • Target audience: School personnel, therapists and counselors, pediatricians
  • Instructional level: Beginner

Registration Information

  • The program fee is $125.
  • Online registration closes on Monday, November 12. 
  • To register by phone, please call Joanne King at 401-667-6505. 
  • To request reasonable accommodation for a disability, please contact the Rhode Island Hospital CME office at 401-444-4260.​


This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation criteria and policies of the Rhode Island Medical Society (RIMS) through the joint providership of Rhode Island Hospital and Bradley Hospital. Rhode Island Hospital is accredited by the Rhode Island Medical Society to provide continuing medical education for physicians. 

Credit Designation: Rhode Island Hospital designates this live activity for a maximum of 6.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. 

Psychologists: Rhode Island Hospital is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Rhode Island Hospital maintains responsibility for this program and its content. 

CEUs for this event have been submitted, pending approval by the National Board for Social Work (NASW), designating this live activity for a maximum of 6.0 continuing education credits for certified counselors, marriage and family therapists.

​Social Workers and Mental Health Counselors: National Board for Social Work (NASW) has approved a maximum of 6.0 continuing education credits for certified counselors, marriage and family therapists.

Register Online