Elizabeth Coplan is a marketing and public relations specialist, a playwright, educator, and speaker, who confronts end-of-life issues. In 2016, Coplan created the non-profit Grief Dialogues. She uses theatre, the ultimate empathy generator, as the artistic expression to open new conversations about dying, death, and grief. In 2019 she joined forces with the Palliative Care team at a Seattle Regional Hospital to create a series of short plays followed by a moderated discussion to build empathy and compassion within the medical profession. Grief Dialogues Health Care Education offers CE credits for attendance and participation in the program and is presented throughout the U.S. Coplan is also the Executive Producer of the short, award-winning film, 8AM by Mark Harvey Levine.

During each speech, Elizabeth starts a revolutionary conversation the medical community so desperately needs to be having. 


Using Film to Start Bad News Conversations

Humans are story-telling animals, and in this session, we demonstrate the power of the film narrative to prompt sharp questions on dying, death and grief. During the viewing of two short films (one produced expressly for Grief Dialogues Health Care Education), attendees are encouraged to look within and notice how the darkness of the room provides privacy and safety to experience deeply felt questions and responses stimulated by the human vignettes on loss and grief. After each film, attendees break into small groups to discuss the importance of becoming an active viewer of cinema and how to engage others in the issues raised by a film’s story line. 

Three Learning Objectives

  • Describe how content, form, and contexts work together to create meaning through film
  • Identify tough topic conversation-starters in every-day scenarios
  • Discuss skillful approaches to motivating discussions through film within your practice

Win-Win: Using the Immediacy and Intimacy of Theatre to Build Compassion and Reduce Burnout

In this session, through theatre performances specifically written and performed for health care providers, we offer a transformation to the way we generally consider humanity. Attendees observe the untold, unheard, or misunderstood tales of life and death. A post-performance moderated discussion occurs in small groups, and we provide space for attendees to engage with each other about the challenges and grief that arise from the very human work of being a therapist and a healthcare provider.

Three Learning Objectives

  • Describe how observation of theatrical performance can serve as a tool to build compassion for people facing loss
  • Identify emotional themes and ethical dilemmas confronted by protagonists in end-of-life and bereavement scenarios
  • Discuss skillful approaches to developing an empathetic approach to patient/client care

Out of Grief Comes Art

Using the art of storytelling, we share stories from Grief Dialogues: The Book to open a dialogue with participants on the social and emotional aspects of patient care;  the importance of empathy with patients as people and on how 40 seconds of compassion can improve the results of Quadruple Aim by increasing confidence dealing with sensitive issues; working with patients as people; expressing thoughts, questions and feelings; decreasing feelings of stress and isolation, and improving team work and interdisciplinary communication. 

[Note to Gigi:  We need our own graphic here. See the image below.  There are tons on the web  but I think we would be better served with one that goes with our website.  Let me know what you think.]

Three Learning Objectives

  • Describe how re-telling of a patient’s story can serve as a tool to build a relationship based on compassion
  • Identify patient values through their stories and discuss any ethical dilemmas facing the caregiver
  • Discuss skillful approaches to developing an empathetic approach to patient/client care through the use of story
Quadruple Aim