Courageous Conversations: Preparing the Professional for End of Life Discussion

Conference Summary:

The time period in which people face end-of-life issues for themselves, their children or other family members and friends, can be one of great anxiety and confusion.  For both anticipated and non-anticipated deaths, family members experiencing grief must make many immediate decisions related to funeral planning and/or the care of their loved one’s body.  With advanced planning, grieving family members would not need to be burdened in making the many immediate decisions while considering the financial impact of their choices.  This conference will address these issues and offer tools and resources for professionals to use in having conversations which assist people to consider making anticipatory decisions regarding their wishes at end-of-life or in funeral planning.  

Keynote Speaker:

Gregory Plotnikoff, MD, MTS, FACP, is a board-certified internist who has received numerous national and international honors for his work in integrative medicine. He is a leader in the emerging discipline of interventional nutrition. He also has advanced training in medical acupuncture, mind-body skills and herbal medicine, including traditional Japanese herbal medicine. He also has expertise in hospital chaplaincy. In partnership with integrative health practitioners at the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing, he serves patients with medically-undiagnosed illnesses or very challenging chronic illnesses including pain and cancer. Dr. Plotnikoff is a voracious reader of medical literature and the author or co-author of twenty-three textbook chapters of the book, Trust Your Gut, and more than fifty scientific articles including six in Japanese. He serves as an editor of the journal Global Advances in Health and Medicine and is active in clinical research.


Thursday, March 19, 2015 from 8:00am - 4:30pm


Prince Conference Center
1800 East Beltline Ave. SE 
Grand Rapids, MI 49546


Additional Speakers:

James Fahner, MD, is Division Chief of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Helen DeVos Children's Hospital and the Spectrum Health Medical Group in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics/Human Development at Michigan State University. 

Tod Wyn, MD, is Associate Medical Director for Hospice of Holland in Holland, Michigan. He is also a physician at Holland Community Hospital, Holland, and Spectrum Health Zeeland Hospital, Zeeland.

Dr. Carol Robinson, DNP, MS, BSN, RN, is the Community Coordinator for Making Choices Michigan and also Adjunct Faculty at Grand Valley State University, Kirkhof College of Nursing

Dave Kampfschulte, BA, M. Ed., is the president and founder of Amazing Circles Workshops, LLC. He is also a Preceptor at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine; Instructor at Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Aquinas College; and Instructor at East Grand Rapids Recreation Department.

Presenters at the Panel Q&A:

Doug Chapin received a BS in Christian Education with a minor in Business Administration from Houghton College. He is a Funeral Director at Matthysse Kuiper DeGraaf, Grandville.

Michael Johnson received a BS in Mortuary Science from Wayne State University and is the owner of Brown's Funeral Home, Ltd., in Grand Rapids, and Toombs Funeral Home in Muskegon Heights.

Troy VanKaltenberg received a BS in Marketing Administration from Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science and is General Manager of Michigan Cremation and Funeral Care, Grand Rapids.

Mike Verdun is a fourth generation funeral director, is a graduate of Western Illinois University, College of Business and Wayne State University, College of Mortuary Science. He is the owner of Verdun Funeral Home, Belding.