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Community Education Webinars - 2023

Our Community Education programs facilitate constructive conversations in the community about serious illness, caregiving challenges, end-of-life and grief. 

CaringMatters strives to develop community knowledge and skills around serious illness, caregiving challenges, end-of-life and grief-related topics that can be applied to daily life. Our meaningful educational events and discussions help build a caring and compassionate community.

For information on Community Education, please contact

Leigh Bluestein, or 301-990-7927

Thank you to our Community Education funding partner

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Webinars - 2023

Seniors and Social Isolation
Friday, March 24, 2023
Presenter: Anna Maria Izquierdo-Porrera, MD, PhD


This webinar discusses the important topic of Seniors and social isolation.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, loneliness and social isolation in older adults are serious public health risks affecting a significant number of people in the United States and putting them at risk for dementia and other serious medical conditions. During this webinar, we will explore the following questions: 

  • What does social isolation mean?

  • Why does social isolation occur in old age?

  • What are the consequences of social isolation?

  • How do we reduce social isolation?

Anna Maria Izquierdo-Porrera.jfif

Anna Maria Izquierdo-Porrera, MD, PhD

Anna Maria Izquierdo-Porrera, MD, PhD, a member of the CaringMatters Board of Trustees, is the co-founder and has served as Executive Director of Care for Your Health since 2008. She is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Geriatrics and focuses on serving multicultural communities, with special emphasis on delivering high quality, patient-centered care to vulnerable, underinsured and elderly patients. She collaborates with Palliative Medicine Consultants and Montgomery Hospice, is an active Member of the Steering Committee of the Latino Health Initiative of Montgomery County and is a member of the Voice Your Choice steering committee.  Among others, Dr Izquierdo-Porrera has received the following awards: Bridges to Excellence: Physician Office Systems Recognition Program 2018; NBC4 Honors for Living the Spirit of Working 4 You in the Community 2016; Blue Ribbon Award. Center for Health Equity and Wellness 2014; and Montgomery’s Best Honorable Mention Diversity Award 2007.

Suffocated Grief and Black Youth Coping with Loss
Thursday, February 9, 2023
Presenter: Tashel C. Bordere, PhD, CT

CaringMatters was honored to host Dr. Tashel C. Bordere, a well-respected,nationally-known expert in the field of children's bereavement, for this important webinar.  This interactive presentation is designed to contextualize the multidimensional components that characterize loss, trauma, and suffocated grief for youth and families from marginalized backgrounds with focus on Black youth and families. Research, theory, and case examples will be integrated as we examine systemic inequities in loss and coping and some practices that are essential to culturally relevant support of bereaved Black youth.


  • Describe patterns of loss, bereavement and suffocated grief among youth and families of marginalized backgrounds with focus on Black youth

  • Examine coping in multiple contexts (social, familial, education systems)

  • Discuss culturally relevant, evidence-based approaches to supporting bereaved children, teens and families socially located from positions of marginality


Presenter: Tashel C. Bordere, PhD, CT

Tashel C. Bordere, PhD, CT is an author, internationally-known speaker, and grant-funded researcher at the Center for Family Policy and Research at the University of Missouri-Columbia. She is Vice-President of the National Alliance for Children’s Grief and serves on the Board of the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC) and Advisory Council of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). Dr. Bordere is a former Forward Promise Fellow (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation) and has received numerous awards including the Ronald K. Barrett National Award (ADEC) and 2022 Excellence in Engagement in Outreach Award at the University of Missouri. Her research, publications, consultations, and trainings focus on cultural trauma, stigmatized loss (homicide loss), Black youth and family bereavement, suffocated grief (a term she coined), and culturally relevant research and practices. She has a co-edited/co-written book - Handbook of Social Justice in Loss and Grief (Routledge).

How To Support Grieving People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Every person, regardless of their background, race, gender, ability or disability, has the right to have their grief acknowledged with the time, support and opportunity to express their thoughts, feelings and emotions. For people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, appropriate grief support resources and intentional, compassionate strategies can make a positive difference.  

This panel discussion explores these resources, strategies and the impact of grief and loss on children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Participants will hear from both the professional and family perspective about the developmental considerations impacting the grieving experiences for people with developmental disabilities and learn strategies for inclusive grief support.

Learning Objectives:

  • Explore the impact of grief and loss on individuals with developmental disabilities

  • Professional and family perspectives about the developmental considerations impacting the grieving experiences for individuals with developmental disabilities

  • Discuss strategies for inclusive grief support and learn from the family perspective

Additional Resource: 

"Grief is a Spectrum" - video by Hospice Foundation of America

Autistic adults describe their experiences of grief and loss in this compelling six-minute video by Exceptional Minds, a Hollywood studio that trains and employs animation artists on the autism spectrum.


Arlen Gaines, LCSW-C, APHSW-C, is the Director of Social Services, JSSA Hospice, where she supervises the social work, chaplaincy, volunteer and bereavement departments. Arlen is the co-author of the award-winning "I Have a Question" series, which addresses complicated topics for children, inclusive of kids with special needs. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Palliative Care through the University of Maryland, Baltimore with a research interest in the impact of grief on children with developmental disabilities.


Gilly Cannon, CaringMatters, Director of Children's Bereavement Services, has three decades of experience in education, counseling, community work and volunteer management in schools and hospice. Gilly directs the Good Grief Club Program, a peer support program for grieving students across grades K-12. She also advises schools after the death of a school community member and is a grief resource for families, school principals and counselors, pediatricians, social workers and other allied professionals. Gilly facilitates groups as needed for grieving parents and teachers after a school community loss. 


Eva Cowen, CaringMatters, Director, Camp Erin, has dedicated her 35 year career to creating opportunities for people with a full range of disabilities to fully participate in all aspects of life.  For over 20 years, she served as the Director of Inclusion at the Bender Jewish Community Center in Rockville, Maryland, where she coordinated and oversaw the inclusion of people with disabilities into all Center programs and activities. For 37 consecutive summers she has been a member of leadership team of Camp JCC, supervising the inclusion of campers with disabilities into camp and running the summer program for teens and young adults with multiple disabilities. From the personal perspective, Eva has a close relationship with her older brother, Roger, who has intellectual and developmental disabilities and lives in a group home. 

Maria Alvarez, CaringMatters, Office Manager/Administrative Volunteer Coordinator, brings deep personal experience to this discussion and this topic. Her daughter, Angela, who had intellectual and developmental disabilities, passed away several years ago. Maria has supported her son, Eduardo, who also has intellectual and developmental disabilities, through his grief over the loss of his beloved sister.

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