Heidi G. Gessner, MDiv, BCC, received her BA degree in Speech Communications and Spanish from the University of Richmond in 1985. She completed her Master of Divinity degree at Campbell University Divinity School, and is an Ordained Minister with the United Church of Christ. Heidi is a Board Certified Chaplain and serves as the Palliative Care Chaplain at University of North Carolina Hospitals. Her duties include providing pastoral care and grief counseling to patients, families, and staff. She also participates in interdisciplinary rounds with the palliative care team, and family conferences. In addition to her chaplain duties, Heidi is the Bereavement Coordinator for UNC Hospitals. She developed and created UNC Hospital Bereavement Support Services as a Chaplain Resident with goal of attending to the emotional pain that is the result of loss and death. Heidi oversees the program and manages day-to-day operations, which includes developing and providing packets of grief information for families at time of death, corresponding with families for one year after a death of their loved one, organizing and facilitating seven week sessions of Grief Recovery Support Groups three times annually. She coordinates Grief Awareness Week activities within the hospital and in the community to express solidarity and increase knowledge of the grief process. She also advises and collaborates with community organizations on grief education.
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