Dr Kerrie Noonan: “Going Beyond the Taboos: evidence based community engagement around loss and death”

It is often said that ‘death is taboo topic’, however there is good evidence to challenge this idea.  This presentation will provide an overview of recent research from Western Sydney University about Death Literacy in Australia. Death literacy is the practical know-how needed to plan well for end of life and death. This includes having knowledge, skills, learning from experience and being about to put this experience into action. We will discuss some of the more creative and innovative ways that you can contribute to the death literacy approach to death, dying and loss and what it means to your practice and setting. 

Dr Kerrie Noonan is a clinical psychologist who has worked in palliative care and is a social researcher with the Caring at end of life research group at Western Sydney University. She is currently transitioning into a full-time role as Clinical Manager with the National Association for Loss and Grief in Dubbo. 

Over the past 25 years Kerrie has been working to create a more death literate society, one where people and communities have the practical know-how needed to plan well and respond to dying death and grief. Kerrie has a long-standing interest in community capacity building approaches to death, dying and bereavement, palliative care and how people can build their death literacy. She is the founding executive director of The GroundSwell Project and national initiatives Dying to Know Day, FilmLife Project and ComComHub. She is active in the Compassionate Communities movement internationally.

Kerrie is a member of the Caring at End of Life Research team at Western Sydney University, and is an Investigator on the Death Literacy Index project. This pioneering research has investigated the role of family, friends and neighbours play when someone is dying at home and coined the term ‘death literacy’ and the now development of the Death Literacy Index.

Kerrie was awarded her PhD in 2018 by Western Sydney University for her study titled Renegade Stories: A study of deathworkers using social approaches to dying, death and loss in Australia. Kerrie has a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology, a BA (Psychology), and a Grad. Dip. in Systemic Therapy (Family Therapy) and a fellow of the Sydney School for Social Entrepreneurs. Her clinical experience involves palliative care, health psychology, loss and grief, pain management, program development and evaluation research. 

She sits on the council of Public Health Palliative Care International and is the co-Chair of the Organising Committee for the 6th PHPCI Conference in 2019.



 

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