Opening Keynote

Deborah Grassman

Debrorah Grassman

Deborah Grassman is a mental health nurse practitioner whose career at the Department of Veterans Affairs, where she was the director of the hospice, spanned nearly 30 years. She is one of the nation’s leading experts in caring for veterans nearing the end of life. Deborah is most well known for her pioneering Wounded Warriors: Their Last Battle presentation, which was the first of its kind to identify the unique needs of veterans as they age. In 2002, she introduced “pinning ceremonies” to honor dying veterans—a ceremony that has now become standard practice in hospices throughout the nation. She is now CEO and cofounder of Opus Peace, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide programs that respond to the soul injury that occurs during trauma, abuse, self-neglect, and serious illness.

Deborah is the author of two books. Peace at Last: Stories of Hope and Healing for Veterans is about the effects of past trauma on a person at the end of life. The Hero Within: Redeeming the Destiny We Were Born to Fulfill describes how to re-own pieces of self through the processes of abiding, reckoning, and beholding our interior hero. Many agencies use it for staff development, team building, and personal growth.

Closing Keynote

Bruce Chamberlain

Bruce Chamberlain, MD, FACP, FAAHPM

As a three term (eight year) member of the board of directors for the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, a founding board member of the National Board of Hospice Medical Director Certification, a fellow of both the American Academy of Hospice & Palliative Medicine and the American College of Physicians, Dr. Chamberlain has gained nationwide recognition for his knowledge and practice of Hospice & Palliative medicine.

He is excited to work with the Hospice For Utah team as a full-time Medical Director & as Director of the Palliative Care For Utah program, which provides primary care to residents in assisted living communities and at home.

Dr. Chamberlain is also a family man. He and his wife Kathy have three sons, all currently pursuing university degrees. In his spare time, and under the name “Dr. Bruce,” he enjoys providing family and children’s entertainment using magic, puppetry, ventriloquism and balloon twisting.

Other Speakers

Eva Bergius

Eva Bergius, Chaplain

Eva Bergius, a native of Sweden, is a chaplain for Hospice for Utah at the Ogden and Draper offices. She received her teaching license for fine arts education in Stockholm, Sweden, after which she moved to Germany where she taught art at her own art school for nine years. She received her master’s of education from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA, and moved to Utah in 1999. She has volunteered with grieving children and families, at battered women’s shelters, and at Lakeview Hospital in Bountiful. She is board-certified by the World Spiritual Health Organization in Salt Lake City.

Todd Cope

Todd Cope, RN

Todd F. Cope spent nearly 13 years supervising the care of elderly residents in Utah’s largest assisted living facility. In The Caregiver’s Journey, Todd shares his experience by offering suggestions on how you can make the most of this precious time with your elderly loved one.

Tiffany Coughran

Tiffany Coughran, Chaplain

Tiffany is a Certified Chaplain and Professional Consultant Chaplaincy Certification from the World Spiritual Health Organization. She interned as a chaplain at Utah's renown Intermountain Medical Center.

Diedra Kearney

Diedra Kearney

Diedra Kearney holds a bachelor’s degree in social work and an associate’s in business administration and has served in long-term care for over 18 years. Diedra currently serves as the chief operating officer at Accord Health Group, which operates hospices with an emphasis on patient-directed care. Additionally, she serves as the ethics committee chair for the Utah Hospice and Palliative Care Association. She has spent the last 14 years bringing awareness to issues in long-term care, including culture change, abuse and neglect, quality of life for elders, Alzheimer’s, and ethics in health care marketing. Diedra also helped to coordinate the Utah Elder Abuse Prevention Coalition, where she has served as the chair for four years. She lives in Syracuse with her husband and four children.

Celsie Long

Celsie Long

Celsie Long, a Utah native, recognized at a young age the importance and power of music. She has played the piano since the age of eight. Celsie received a BS in music therapy and a minor in family, consumer, and human development from Utah State University. Following graduation, she completed an internship at Earthtones Music Therapy in Portland, Oregon. Celsie started her own practice in Seattle, Washington, in February 2015. She recently returned to Utah and has continued her music therapy practice. She also works full time at Salt Lake Behavioral Hospital, serving individuals afflicted with mental illness and chemical dependency.

Beth Noyce

Beth Noyce, RN

Beth Noyce has a bachelor of science degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Utah Credentials include Advising Board Member of the Association of Home Health Coding and Compliance (AHCC) Beth draws on her nearly 30 years' experience as a nurse, focusing primarily on home health and hospice.

Laura Owen-Kierstead

Laura Owen-Kierstead

Laura Owen-Keirstead has earned bachelor’s degrees in child and family studies and in social work from Weber State University and a master’s degree in mental health counseling from the University of Phoenix. Laura has worked at Weber Human Services in Adult Mental Health and Senior Services, the Utah Department of Workforce Services, and the Office of Public Guardian. She has also worked as a behavioral specialist and as a domestic violence, substance abuse, and sex offense therapist. Currently, Laura is a program specialist for the Utah chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. She is also a community educator and support-group facilitator, and she is a member and leader of several caregivers’ committees and groups in Cache, Weber, and Davis Counties.

Renee Scheidell

Renee Scheidell, MD

Renee Scheidell is an internist. She received her degree from the University of Utah has been in practice for more than 20 years. Subspecialties: Hospice and Palliative Medicine.