Grief Awareness Week Committee wants your feedback!

June 21, 2016  //  FOUND IN: Updates & Resources

Remember, the Grief Awareness Committee wants your feedback!  If you haven’t already done so, please take a moment and fill out the short Grief Week Survey.

The purpose of Grief Awareness Week is to increase awareness and acknowledge staff losses across the health system. The awareness events held at UMHS this year focused on grief related to patient loss, staff loss and personal loss. Events were open to all staff and provided an opportunity for them to take a break from their work to laugh, reflect, gain insight, and learn helpful coping strategies.

In case you missed it …

During the week of May 16-20, all UMHS faculty and staff were given an opportunity to acknowledge staff losses, both personal and professional, throughout the health system. To kick things off, UMHS Service Excellence graciously made “Understanding Grief” the topic for their Go Blue daily huddle. This information was sent to 820 managers across the organization and was discussed in small work groups on a daily basis throughout Grief Awareness Week.

Windows on the main hall of 2nd floor UH (courtside), Cardio Vascular Center, and C & W Mott were used for the Grief Wall. Using paint markers on the windows, employees shared thoughts, messages, poems and coping strategies related to their personal loss and grief stories. This interactive display helped employee’s express grief and coping. In addition, many units and office areas participated in the “Before I Die I want to….” project.  This project was inspired by artist Candy Chang who in her Ted Talk reflects about the way that experiencing loss can influence us, and of the way that “thinking about death clarifies life.”

Events throughout the week also helped employees learn about, channel or express their grief.  Highlights included a Schwartz Rounds about “Cultural Expression of Grief,” a lecture entitled “The Gift of Conscious Grief,” which taught approaches to develop a personalized framework for experiencing, honoring, and processing loss in the workplace, a presentation on the topic of “Laughing in the Face of Death: Movies, Medicine, and Mortality,” a chance to view past Grief Week for Staff lectures, and a presentation by UMHS patient families called “Grief and Gratitude.”

In addition to daily activities, many unit-based activities were offered.  Black ribbon stickers were given away at all events, encouraging staff to proudly acknowledge this difficult work that we do.


Many events were taped and can be viewed by going to the Office of Decedent Affairs website In addition to the events you will also find a complete wrap up of the week’s events and resources to help support your work.

For more information about Candy Chang and the “Before I Die” movement visit: and