2021 Schedule

*Please note scheduling is subject to change. You can find our most up-to-date schedule of events  on the registration page >HERE<

All times listed are PST (Pacific Standard Time)

Friday, November 12th

All times listed are PST - Schedule is subject to change

This session will discuss some current controversies in advance care planning (ACP), palliative and end-of-life care, including whether ACP is beneficial, voluntary stopping of eating and drinking (and SED by dementia-specific advance directive), and other topics of interest.

Live Q & A following the presentation

Dr. Steinberg is a longtime San Diego area nursing facility and hospice medical director with an interest in palliative care, advance care planning and bioethics. He is president of AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine, vice president of National POLST, and a past chair and current board member of the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California.

When your predictable world blew into a million pieces, were you left standing shell-shocked, holding onto copious amounts of physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual pain? Begin to restore, renew and rebuild with the five-time award winning A2Z Healing Toolbox®26 powerful, action-based tools and resources that counter the negative effects of grief & trauma while assisting in increased healing of the mind, body and spirit.  Participate in informative, practical, restorative exercises and take away life enhancing resiliency information. Together we will… Review the 26 a-z tools for learned resiliency;  Identify which healing tools you are already integrating; Normalize common grief and trauma reactions in adults; Practice practical exercises that assist in healing; Reflect on the theory of post-traumatic growth.  Join us for this powerful interactive workshop!

Susan Hannifin-MacNab, MSW, PPSC is a social worker, educator, and author who holds a Masters in Social Work, a Bachelors in Education and credentials as a teacher and school social worker. After the sudden death of her young husband, Susan founded A2Z Healing Toolbox®, a heart-based business that assists the bereaved in integrating authentic, practical, action-based tools into their lives while healing with intention. She facilitates conference workshops, professional development trainings, psycho-educational healing retreats and keynote presentations internationally. Susan’s five-time award winning book, A to Z Healing Toolbox: A Practical Guide for Navigating Grief and Trauma with Intention, is used by mental health practitioners and bereaved communities world-wide. She also serves as the Programs and Education Manager for Soaring Spirits International, a non-profit organization that provides programming, support and hope to the global widowed community.



Who would have known that Ed Bixby’s passion for landscape architecture would create such a huge impact on the rest of his life as a protector of Mother Earth?

Please join Ed Bixby share his unexpected journey into the cemetery business. It happened quite by accident as most learnings do.

Ed Bixby is the owner of Destination Destiny Memorials and operates five Historic Natural Burial Cemeteries across the nation and currently serves as Board President on the Green Burial Council, the leading authority on natural burial in North America. He has served as educator, training funeral directors and cemetery owners about the ways of natural burial. Ed promotes the practice in educational public discussions around the country.

At the heart of his work and vision in natural burials, Ed has expanded the public’s perception of what a funeral service should be.

“Shining light on the innate ability we all possess when caring for our loved ones in death happens when we unlock these powers by recognizing they are part of who we have always been. Embracing death with open arms and celebratory participation is a life well lived and loved.”

Discussing Advanced Care Planning is a gift of peace you can provide your loved ones during a healthcare crisis, Find out why.

Presented by:

Christina has over 20 years of experience working with seniors in the healthcare setting. Ms. Marquez obtained her Masters of Gerontology from California State University in 2002. She began her career in Skilled Nursing Facilities as a Social Services Director, then completed an Administrator in Training Program. 

Christina moved to San Diego in 2015, where she worked for several years as a Director of Business Development for a large hospice and implemented their first Palliative Care Program across 4 California sites. Christina is currently the Director of Business Development for Los Robles, covering San Bernardino, Riverside, San Diego and Orange County.

Christina’s passion is meeting with families, guiding patients in goals of care conversations, and the ability to bring some joy during the most difficult time in a patient’s life. Christina is a Certified Care Manager, POLST certified trainer, and has had extensive training in Advanced Care planning discussions.

My name is Jennifer Owens. Originally from Cincinnati, Oh I now reside in San Diego, Ca. where I wear many hats. I am a mother, wife, death doula/midwife, elder care doula, active duty service member, and hospice volunteer. I have received formal training from Going With Grace and Doula Givers as well as lots of “informal” training from life. Being a deathcare advocate is near and dear to my heart and I am grateful to be able to assist people during a very vulnerable ye honorable time.

Join Ben Janzen, Dr. Theol., Ph.D. as he covers the spiritual and psychological needs of patients who are at their end-of-life stage. Gain valuable insight into this special time with a member of the VITAS Healthcare team who has been assisting patients and their families for 11 years.

Live Q & A following the presentation

Ben completed the training as a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist in 2018. He works as the Bereavement Services Coordinator for VITAS Healthcare and is an Advanced Practice Board Certified Chaplain with the Spiritual Care Association (SCA). In 2020 he completed the specialization training for Palliative care and hospice Chaplaincy.

Saturday, November 13th

All times listed are PST - Schedule is subject to change

This presentation will describe the where and how of US laws on medical aid in dying (death with dignity), how the laws work in different states and jurisdictions and who qualifies to receive lethal medications that allow for a peaceful end to intolerable terminal suffering. We will also talk about protections under the laws and what is the actual process like, along with who may participate and how.

Live Q & A following the Presentation

Presented by:

Mitsuo Tomita, M.D. is a retired family practice physician and volunteer for Compassion and Choices. He received his M.D. degree from UCSF, completed his family medicine residency in Fresno, and had a 33-year career at Kaiser Permanente in San Diego where he was also on the voluntary teaching faculty of the UCSD School of Medicine as an Assistant Clinical Professor.

Maureen shares information about the dying process, death and what happens after. She answers the unaskable questions about sensitive topics. She offers different perspectives to soothe the devastated hearts and help you through the grieving process.

Live Q & A after the presentation

Maureen Pisani is a Hypnotherapist, Best Selling Author and International Speaker. She has been in practice for over 16 years, authored 18 books (3 of which are Best Sellers) and has been giving presentations globally. Her mission is to have Hypnotherapy help all of humanity! Today, she’s here to help you! She knows that changing your mind will transform your future!

Introduction into the Grief Recovery Method, the only evidence-based Grief Recovery program in the world, an action-based, powerful, directed approach to healing from life’s deepest heartbreaks.

Live Q & A following the presentation

Ben Janzen, Dr. Theol., Ph.D. completed the training as a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist in 2018. He works as the Bereavement Services Coordinator for VITAS Healthcare and is an Advanced Practice Board Certified Chaplain with the Spiritual Care Association (SCA). In 2020 he completed the specialization training for Palliative care and hospice Chaplaincy.

Palliative Care offers supportive care to patients and families coping with serious, chronic illness, at all stages of disease progression, from diagnosis to the end of life. Learn about palliative care as a multi-professional teamwork approach to caring for patients and families, and learn about the transition from supportive palliative care to hospice care at the end of life. This information will help you plan the care you need, today and for years to come.

Live Q & A following the presentation

Michael McDuffie is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy at CSU San Marcos, where he teaches bioethics and serves as the Faculty Director of the CSU Shiley Haynes Institute for Palliative Care at CSUSM. He is past Chair of the SDCCC and serves as a community member on local hospital ethics committees.

No one wants to think about needing a skilled nursing facility, but not being aware of how the system works can be very frustrating when you do need even a short-term stay. Prepare yourself with some of the basics of what to expect, how is it paid for, what do they pay for, what if I can’t go home what happens then. Arm yourself with knowledge of the laws, requirements and your rights as a patient. This covers what you need to know before you go to a skilled facility.

Live Q & A following the presentation

Kristin is a Regional Coordinator and the Education and Outreach Specialist for the Ombudsman Program. She has been with the Ombudsman for 7 years. Prior to becoming an Ombudsman she has worked for over 25 years in Skilled Nursing Case Management and Dementia Assisted Living. She has also worked or and Elder Law Attorney. She currently provides the 36 hour State Certification training for the Ombudsman Volunteers to obtain their certification.

This session offers tips and strategies for choosing an effective medical surrogate, aka proxy, who will follow through with your healthcare treatment decisions when you become incapacitated due to an accident or medical crisis. During this presentation, you will learn the personality traits to look for in choosing a surrogate to ensure that your choices are respected and honored. You will learn why your spouse or child might not be the best choice to make these often tough and emotionally wrought decisions for you when you cannot. You will also learn some language to use if YOU are the surrogate and get push-back from medical staff while trying to honor an advance directive or living will. This presentation is designed to help any adult with the vital selection of a substitute healthcare decision-maker in their advance directive.

Live Q & A following the presentation

Althea Halchuck, EJD, CT, BCPA, founder of Ending Well! Patient Advocacy, LLC, is a Board-Certified Patient Advocate (BCPA) focusing on end-of-life planning and counseling, aiming to help people have a “good death.” She earned an Executive Juris Doctor in Health Law in 2012 and has been a professional mediator for 18 years. A bedside hospice volunteer for 16 years, she earned a Thanatology Certification in 2015, which prepares individuals to work with the terminally ill, the grieving and provide death education. She earned Facilitation Certificates in Advance Care Planning from Respecting Choices® and offers classes in community settings on advance care planning and surrogacy. In 2021 she became Final Exit Network’s Surrogate Consultant, where she counsels healthcare surrogates, medical POA’s and hospital staff on thorny advance directive and bioethics issues.

Sunday, November 14th

All times listed are PST - Schedule is subject to change

Adriana Corral is a Florida and Texas Funeral Director who decided to branch off and pursue her passions about green burial services, family-directed funeral services, and cost-effective services through her new business, Mourning Thymes, helping women to live their dreams, follow their passion, and protect Mother Earth.

Adriana’s session acts as an inspirational and motivational presentation to help us understand how to address complicated emotions regarding the relationship between funeral homes and families. This session will address leadership skills and bereavement, and the importance of taking action with what’s being called for you to do.

Adriana’s story from funeral director to farmer has become a way of life for her and her family.

We all know we SHOULD journal – even science says so…but how? If a blank sheet of paper intimidates and overwhelms you more than the thought of going on without your loved one, join us for tips, tricks, and conversation to get your thoughts out of your head and onto the page. I’ll show you the 1-3-3 method for gratitude journaling – that only takes about 6 minutes a day – and how it was the snowball that avalanched into a best-selling Amazon book and so much more.

Live Q & A following the presentation

Crystal Webster is the Founder of Sharing Solace, Author of ‘Confessions of a Griever’, speaker, mentor, entrepreneur, and most importantly she is Madelyn Elizabeth Webster’s mama. When Madelyn died in Crystal’s arms just after she was born, she wanted to die too. It took her years to learn to live again – mostly because she realized her Madelyn wouldn’t want her to live the rest of her life waiting to die.

Sharing Solace was founded from that love and hope: to help grievers grieve and lovers love their griever through technology-elevated, pass-along-able gifts wrapped in a meaningful community of support and strength so you can always ‘Remember. You’re not alone.’

Hear from MSgt. Glenda Villegas, USAF (Ret.) about the benefits that are available to you.

Glenda spent over 20 years serving her country and now she chooses to serve her community. After losing her father to a stroke at 66 with no plans made she has determined that no family should ever experience this trauma alone. She is an expert in veteran burial benefits with 5 years in the industry. Her goal is to educate families on what they have, what they still need and providing options.

Live Q & A following the presentation


Come learn how this ancient yet newly emerging field is changing the way people die. Talking and planning about your wishes and then creating the sacred space you desire for yourself and those left behind as your final hours approach are just some of the many ways that end of life doulas ease the transition of the Soul. Besides understanding what doulas do, we will discuss ways to become a doula and ways to find one in your community to prepare the way for yourself and those you love. What do you want your final hours to be like?

LIVE Q & A following the presentation

Presented by:

Arlene Stepputat, MA has been working with death and dying for most of her life.
She has been trained through the Metta Institute, the Sacred Art of Living and Dying Center and her life experiences. She worked with the Alzheimer’s Association and Visiting Nurse and Hospice Care. Currently she is a member of the End of LIfe Doula Council of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. She’s been a speaker, author, and presenter nationally for many years.

In many religious traditions, God is believed to be responsive to the needs of believers, and in difficult times, believers turn to their religious beliefs for comfort, security, and guidance. When God is viewed as a protective parental figure that can shield us from harm if we are pious or devoted enough, what happens to faith — and healing – when this form of god fails to provide that protection? How can we help friends and family who experience cognitive dissonance when their religious beliefs – whether inherited or chosen – do not match up with their lived experience? 

This presentation examines the ways in which religious beliefs can be more harmful than helpful for traumatized or bereaved individuals. We will explore therapeutic tools and healing practices for helping someone in spiritual crisis to consider new cosmologies and new images of God that are more supportive and inclusive than those found in traditional religious structures.

LIVE Q & A following the presentation

Presented by:

Dr. Terri Daniel is an interfaith hospice chaplain, end-of-life educator, and grief counselor certified in death, dying and bereavement by the Association of Death Education and Counseling and in trauma support by the International Association of Trauma Professionals. She conducts workshops throughout the U.S. and teaches at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. Terri is also the founder of The Afterlife Conference (now in its 11th year), and the Ask Doctor Death podcast. She is also the author of four books on death, grief and the afterlife.
Over the years Terri has helped hundreds of people learn to live, die and grieve more consciously. Her work is acclaimed by hospice professionals, spiritual seekers, therapists theologians, and academics worldwide. 

Terri has a BA in Religious Studies from Marylhurst University, an MA in Pastoral Care from Fordham University, and a Doctor of Ministry in Pastoral Care and Counseling from the San Francisco Theological Seminary.

Let’s start with preserving Mother Nature and providing access to environmentally sustainable Death Care! Learn how to advocate and ensure access to environmentally sustainable death care to preserve our planet, honoring Nature as much as we can.

By providing a loving, dignified, affordable, eco-friendly, and sustainable alternative, Karina Laranjeira of the Tree of Life Foundation assists the dying transition to the after-life by providing a growing symbol of their love and presence in the form of a living tree, unifying families and communities, and at the same time preserving our cities, and ultimately, our planet.

This is a new innovative product that sets itself apart from anything you’ve seen yet.

Join the Live Q & A following the presentation

Presented by: Karina Laranjeira of the Tree of Life Foundation

Finding meaning in all stages in life can empower us to live more intentional lives. There are few guarantees in this world and death is one of them. However, it’s the topic we as a society love to avoid. We plan extensively for the possible (retirement, marriage, children), but avoid planning for or even thinking of our eventual deaths. In this workshop we will use a series of exercises in order to learn about our personal truth for today that we can continue use and develop as we progress through life.

Live Q & A after the presentation

Jamie Hunt, owner and CEO of Topkare hospice, is an innovative entrepreneur and a registered nurse with a master’s degree in nursing from the University of Minnesota. Her decade of experience in the ICU setting has shown her how advanced medicine is now able to extend life beyond what was only imagined before. These experiences also helped her discover her passion for changing the conversation around end-of-life care in her community in order to empower the patients and families she serves.