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PACE End-of-Life Doula Programs Collaborate with Osher Center for Integrative Health and Welcome Frances Pope Hewitt 

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Responding to the continuous demand for end-of-life care education, the University of Vermont Professional and Continuing Education (PACE) announces new program lead Frances Pope Hewitt and collaboration with the Osher Center for Integrative Health providing UVM End-of-Life Doula instructors, students, and alumni with additional education, networking, resources, and research opportunities. 

“PACE launched the End-of-Life Doula Professional Certificate program in 2017 with the support of Cabot Creamery Cooperative and The Robert Larner College of Medicine,” noted PACE Chief Officer Jill Irvine, Ph.D. “Since the first cohort of learners, our doula educational community has grown to nearly 3,000 graduates. We are thrilled to offer new opportunities for education and leadership in end-of-life care.”

PACE Welcomes New End-of-Life Doula Program Lead

UVM End of Life Doual program lead Frances Pope Hewitt
Frances Pope Hewitt End of Life Doula Program Lead

Frances Pope Hewitt, LPC/S, LAC, LCMHC, has spent the last 20 years working in the behavioral health care field. With her recent appointment as the new End-of-Life Doula Program Lead, Pope Hewitt is combining her clinical experience as a Licensed Professional Counselor and Addictions Counselor with her passion for end-of-life care work, advocacy, and education.  

End-of-Life Doulas complement the care provided by family members and friends, as well as medical, palliative, and hospice professionals, within the settings of hospitals, senior care facilities, and homes.

A graduate of UVM’s End-of-Life Doula and Companion Animal Professional Certificate programs, Pope Hewitt plans to bring her experience in leading teams and growing opportunities for clinicians to program instructors, students, and graduates. In addition to her work as a licensed counselor, Pope Hewitt is also the owner and operator of Sailing Away End of Life Care Consulting and Counseling services. 

“I’ve learned through my education that you only have now; so, I live every day with intention,” said Pope Hewitt. “The End-of-Life Doula training from UVM has brought my understanding of mindfulness and an awareness of just how precious life really is. I see this opportunity to lead the UVM doula instructional team as a way to give back to the doula community through education. It is a true blessing.” 

End-of-Life Doula Programs Integrate with Osher Center for Integrative Health

Treating the whole person has been a mantra for Pope Hewitt since beginning her career as a professional counselor. In some of her more recent roles, as the Clinical Director for a non-profit behavioral health care center in South Carolina, she was able to pass this philosophy along to clinicians in training. Providing an integrative perspective to end-of-life care is a component of doula education. The launch of the new Osher Center for Integrative Health at UVM this past fall created a new opportunity for end-of-life educational programs to integrate into the Center’s work. The Center is an interprofessional clinical, educational, and research program focused on changing the paradigm to ensure that integrative, whole-person health is accessible to all. 

“I am excited to partner with the Osher Center for Integrative Health as we work together to enhance each other’s offerings,” said Pope Hewitt. “UVM has a unique opportunity to lead the End-of-Life Doula movement forward with this partnership. We will be able to provide additional training and knowledge to our doulas from this lens of integrative practices, as well as share our doula practices with the Osher Center.” 

“Partnering with the End-Of-Life Doula program will round out our current educational offerings, which include an Integrative Health & Wellness Coaching Certificate, a Certificate in Integrative Healthcare, and a variety of continuing and interprofessional education programs,” said Osher Center for Integrative Health Associate Director Cara Feldman-Hunt, M.A., NBC-HWC. “We look forward to connecting End-of-Life Doula instructors, students, and alums with our educators, researchers, and clinicians.”

Graduates of UVM’s End-of-Life Doula certificate programs will now be able to take advantage of a variety of opportunities through the Osher Center for Integrative Health, including:

Opportunity to create a listing in the Integrative Practitioner Network 

Attend or Present at a Laura Mann Integrative Healthcare Lecture Series 

Invitation to join the academic consortium for integrative medicine and health  

Access to the Osher Collaborative which includes education, research, and networking among an international group of eleven academic Centers funded by The Bernard Osher Foundation to study, teach, and practice integrative healthcare.

Invitation to register for the Integrative Pain Management Conference held each May on the UVM campus.

Watch the recent End-of-Life Doula and Osher Center for Integrative Health Event

End-of-Life Care Takes Center Stage

The popularity of death doulas has grown especially as the Coronavirus pandemic engulfed the globe. In 2021, more than 600 people enrolled in UVM’s popular End-of-Life Doula Professional Certificate program. Since the inception of the program in 2017, nearly 3,000 people have received their certificates from UVM. According to Pope Hewitt, she says there are so many ways to “doula,” but what is consistent is, “showing up.”   

“The doula role has been going on since the beginning of time, we’ve just lost sight of it in our mainstream modern lifestyle. But if we can show up, support our communities, and ensure that all communities are served regardless of race, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, or ethnicity; we cover everyone.” 

“We’re very excited to have the End-of-Life Doula program join us as an affiliate with the Osher Center,” said Osher Center for Integrative Health Director Jon Porter, MD. “We share fundamental values in our approach to care – committing to see each individual fully in their story, providing unconditional support as they navigate on their journey, and doing so with rigor, compassion, humility, and kindness. We look forward to the creative and important synergies that I know will come with our collaboration.”  

Pope Hewitt sees the collaboration with the Osher Center as an opportunity to expand the work of death doulas into research and into different focus areas such as pain or cancer. With the support of a top 100 public research university in UVM, Pope Hewitt is excited at the prospect of taking the UVM doula model and the mindset of companioning to other areas that are needed. “We are on the brink of something new.”

Learn more about Pope Hewitt’s vision as the new lead instructor at UVM’s End-of-Life Doula Professional Certificate in the video below.

Learn more about the recent announcement of the Osher Center for Integrative Health at UVM.

Explore UVM Professional and Continuing Education programs including the End-of-Life Care programs, and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UVM.