Seminar Speakers

27th Annual National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp
May 28 - 31, 2021
Washington, D.C.

Seminar Speakers

27th Annual National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp
May 28 - 31, 2021
Washington, D.C.

During the seminar, you will have the opportunity to hear from national experts in grief, trauma, health and wellness and more. Below is a list of the speakers and presenters who will be in attendance.

Make sure to also download the TAPS Events app. Recommended session schedules for different grief programming and speaker information are all built into the easy-to-navigate app.


Bonnie Carroll


Bonnie Carroll

Bonnie Carroll is a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, a retired U.S. Air Force Reserve Officer, the surviving spouse of Brigadier General Tom Carroll, a former staffer in the Reagan and Bush White Houses, and the President and Founder of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, the leading national Military Service Organization providing comfort, care, and resources to all those grieving the death of a military loved one. Ms. Carroll founded TAPS following the death of her husband in an Army C-12 plane crash on November 12, 1992.

Charles Blankenship

Charles Blankenship, MD

Dr. Charles Blankenship is the former Chief of General Surgery at the National Naval Medical Center Bethesda, Maryland. His three-decade military career included assignments to NRMC Oakland, Naval Hospital Groton, and NNMC Bethesda. He also served as general surgeon onboard USS Coral Sea and several other aircraft carriers. He was Chief of Surgery onboard USNS Comfort for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm and Commanding Officer of the hospital onboard USNS Comfort for Operations Sea Signal, Uphold Democracy, Noble Eagle, and Iraqi Freedom. He served as Chief of Professional Services for Combat Logistics Regiment 15 covering all Forward Resuscitative Surgical Systems in Al Anbar Province, Iraq, and Chief of Trauma at the NATO Role #3 Hospital, Kandahar, Afghanistan, for Operation Enduring Freedom. Dr. Blankenship has led TAPS workshops and bereavement seminars for surviving families for over ten years.


Session: One-on-One with Dr. Blankenship by appointment


Dr. Frank Campbell


Frank Campbell, PhD, LCSW, CT

Dr. Frank Campbell is the former Executive Director of the Baton Rouge Crisis Intervention Center and the Crisis Center Foundation in Louisiana. He is currently the Senior Consultant for Campbell and Associates Consulting, where he works with communities on forensic suicidology cases. It was due to his more than 20 years of  working with those bereaved by suicide that he introduced his Active Postvention Model (APM), most commonly known as the LOSS Team (Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors). The model has now been replicated in countries as diverse as Australia, Singapore, Northern Ireland, Canada, and America. His work with survivors and victims of trauma has been featured in three Discovery Channel documentaries. Dr. Campbell received the Louis Dublin award at the 2010 American Association of Suicidology Conference. He is a past president of AAS and received the Roger J. Tierney Award for service. He was named Social Worker of the Year in Louisiana and was the first John W. Barton Fellow selected in his hometown of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Bob Delany


Bob Delaney

Bob is an NBA Cares Ambassador, member of the TAPS Board of Advisors, and currently the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Special Advisor Officiating Development/Performance. He has served as the NBA's Vice President of Referee Operations and Director of Officials for years, after 25 seasons as an NBA referee. Prior to his career in professional basketball, Delaney was a highly decorated New Jersey State Trooper who went undercover to infiltrate the mafia; causing his own post-traumatic stress journey. His firsthand experiences coupled with a passion to better understand mental health makes him an expert on the subject. His efforts to educate and bring attention to the topic of post-traumatic stress have entailed visits to military troops around the world, including multiple trips to Afghanistan and Iraq. Described by General Robert Brown, U.S. Army Four Star Commander of the Pacific, as the "person who related to soldiers better than any visitor I have seen in my 36 years in the military," Delaney authored a book on the topic, Surviving the Shadows: A Journey of Hope into Post Traumatic Stress. He is also the author of Covert: My Life Infiltrating the Mob. He is currently working on a new book, Leadership Lessons from the Boardroom, Locker-room, War-room. He has been the subject of numerous media articles and shows including Dr. Sanjay Gupta CNN.

Dr. Ken Doka


Ken Doka, PhD, MDiv

Dr. Doka is a Senior Vice President of Grief Programs at Hospice Foundation of America (HFA) and recipient of the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC). He serves as editor of HFA's Living with Grief® book series and its Journeys bereavement newsletter and numerous other books and publications. He is a prolific author, editor, and lecturer; a retired graduate school professor at The College of New Rochelle; past president of ADEC; a member and past chair of the International Work Group on Death, Dying, and Bereavement (IWG); and a member of the TAPS Advisory Board. In 2018, the IWG presented Doka with the Herman Feifel Award for outstanding achievement in thanatology. He received an award for Outstanding Contributions in the Field of Death Education from ADEC in 1998. Doka is an ordained Lutheran minister and a licensed mental health counselor in the state of New York.

Ange Marie Dwyer

Ange Marie Dwyer

Ange Marie Dwyer is a mixed media artist, teacher, tutu wearer and writer that currently lives in Colorado. Drawing on her life experiences as a woman and U.S. Army veteran, Ange Marie travels throughout the country teaching the healing power and fun of creativity and art to military service organizations and non profit groups. She has been a volunteer with TAPS for 4 years, teaching break out art sessions for the TAPS youth program during national and regional events. Her hobbies include making tacos, playing with her two dogs and exploring vintage shops. She is also a wife to a veteran and a mother to two young men.

Pamela Gabbay

Pamela Gabbay, EdD, FT

Dr. Pamela Gabbay has served the bereavement field in many capacities during her 25-year career. She is a co-founder of The Satori Group, a national organization providing education and consultation to the end-of-life, death, and bereavement fields. Pamela is a national trainer for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and is the co-author of Understanding and Supporting Bereaved Children: A Practical Guide for Professionals. Previously, Dr. Gabbay was the Director of the Mourning Star Center and Camp Erin-Palm Springs, where she worked extensively with bereaved children, teens, and their families. Pamela was also an adjunct faculty member in the psychology department at Brandman University. Additionally, she served as the President of the Southern California Chapter of the Association for Death Education and Counseling, as well as the Vice President of the Board of Directors of the National Alliance for Grieving Children (NAGC).

Dr. Gabbay holds a Fellow in Thanatology (FT) from the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC) and earned a Master of Arts degree in Cognitive Psychology from Claremont Graduate University. She earned her Doctor of Education degree in Organizational Leadership from Brandman University. Pamela conducts nationwide trainings and presentations for organizations including: the TAPS Institute for Hope and Healing, ADEC, the National Alliance for Grieving Children, the Compassionate Friends, the Childhood Grief and Traumatic Loss conference, Hospice Foundation of America, and the American Association of Suicidology.

James Gordon


James S. Gordon, MD

Dr. Gordon, a psychiatrist and former National Institute of Mental Health researcher, is a Clinical Professor at Georgetown Medical School and was Chair of the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy. He is the author of Transforming Trauma: The Path to Hope and Healing. In his role as the founder and executive director of The Center for Mind-Body Medicine (CMBM), Gordon has created and implemented the world’s largest and most effective program for healing population-wide trauma. He and his 150 international CMBM faculty have brought this program to war-traumatized populations in the Balkans, the Middle East, and Africa; to first responders, military personnel and veterans and their families in the U.S.; to communities that have suffered climate-related disasters, endured school shootings, and struggled with the opioid epidemic; and to Native American children and their families—as well as to stressed out professionals, stay-at-home mothers, inner-city children, White House officials, health professionals and medical students, and people contending with severe emotional and physical illnesses. Dr. Gordon has authored or edited ten previous books, including Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven-stage Journey Out of Depression. He has written often for popular publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, and The Guardian, as well as in professional journals. Dr. Gordon has also served as an expert for such outlets as 60 Minutes, the Today show, Good Morning America, CBS Sunday Morning, Nightline, CNN, MSNBC, and NPR.

Ashlynne Haycock


Ashlynne Haycock-Lohmann

Ashlynne is Deputy Director, TAPS Policy and Legislation. She is the surviving daughter of SFC Jeffrey J. Haycock, who died in an Army training accident on April 12, 2002, and Nichole C. Haycock, an Air Force Veteran who died by suicide on April 25, 2011. She graduated with a bachelor’s in political science from American University in 2013. Before joining the TAPS staff, Ashlynne attended the Good Grief Camp for seven years and volunteered as a Good Grief Camp mentor for four years. As TAPS Policy and Legislative Deputy Director, she advocates on behalf of surviving families and also serves on the VA’s Advisory Committee on Education.

Bill Hoy

William G. (Bill) Hoy, DMin, FT

With more than 35 years of care for the dying and bereaved, Dr. Hoy is Clinical Professor of Medical Humanities at Baylor. He is widely regarded as an authority on the role of social support in death, dying and grief and his experience includes more than 20 years leading bereavement and pastoral care programs in hospice care. Though primarily a bedside clinician, Dr. Hoy has authored more than 125 articles and book chapters as well as six books. His books in print include Road to Emmaus: Pastoral Care with the Dying and Bereaved (Compass, 2007); Do Funerals Matter? The Purposes and Practices of Death Rituals in Global Perspective (Routledge, 2013) and Bereavement Groups and the Role of Social Support: Integrating Theory, Research, and Practice (Routledge, 2016). In addition to his role with students at Baylor, he is a frequent presenter among groups of professional colleagues in health care across the United States and Canada. Dr. Hoy is active in the Association for Death Education & Counseling on whose board he served from 2012 to 2020 including six years as an officer. He is an Advisory Board Member for TAPS.

Rayanne Hunter


Rayanne Hunter

Rayanne Hunter is a Mind-Body Nutrition Coach, yoga instructor and wholehearted advocate of outdoor therapy in any form. A yoga enthusiast for most of her life, she enjoys sharing it with her son and daughter and in her work. Specializing in grief, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress. She uses her knowledge from a variety of training backgrounds, interests and personal experiences to help people explore the person they are meant to be. Having grown up in a military family, she served in the Army National Guard and is the surviving spouse of SSG Wesley Hunter. Leading to a passion for working with military and their families, including gold star families. Hoping to guide those who are grieving, dealing with injuries, or struggling with everyday life stressors by using body movement, yoga, meditation, reiki, modern shaman techniques, woman circles, outdoor therapy, mind/body nutrition and eating psychology principles. Always looking for ways to inspire people to grow; in their lives, in their transitions, in learning to embrace, trust and love themselves again. Rayanne has hosted events, mentored, led workshops and grief care groups with TAPS since 2010. She also volunteers with Heroes on the Water, Horsepower Therapeutic Learning Center, and privately works with individuals and small groups.

Rayanne Hunter


Rachel Kodanaz

Rachel is a heart-minded author, speaker, and consultant helping her audiences embrace life’s challenges at work and at home. Overcoming her own adversity following the sudden death of her husband coupled with her experience in the management of large corporations, she is fully aware of the seesaw created when personal and professional challenges collide.

Rachel was instrumental in creating and supporting all programs at HeartLight Grief and Loss Center in Denver as a facilitator, board member, and executive director. She also co-founded the Grief Network Alliance in Denver which provides a networking platform for grief-related professionals. She has served as a Board of Director on numerous not-for-profits including Soaring Spirits International (Camp Widow) and Denver Grief Network Alliance and is a member of TAPs Advisory Board. Rachel has been speaking passionately to national audiences for 20 years, her work has been featured in numerous media outlets including Good Morning America, and her books Finding Peace, One Piece at a Time, Living with Loss, One Day at a Time, and Grief in the Workplace have received international acclaim.

Andy McNiel


Andy McNiel, MA

Andy is the Senior Advisor of Youth Programs for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). Andy is an author and trainer on topics related to grief, bereavement, and end of life. He has been an advocate for healthy children, teenagers, and families throughout his career. He is a co-founder and an executive partner with The Satori Group, LLC, a national education, management, and consulting company focused in the area of grief and loss. He is the former CEO of The National Alliance for Grieving Children, Executive Director of The Amelia Center at Children’s of Alabama, and Director of Counseling Services for Hospice of Martin and St. Lucie (now Treasure Health) in South Florida. He is a trainer for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. He is the co-author of Understanding and Supporting Bereaved Children: A Practical Guide for Professionals.

Renee Monczynski


Renee Monczynski, MAOL

Renee is the creative director of the TAPS Young Adult Program that was established in 2016, specifically for surviving children and siblings. Since the sudden death of her husband when they were both active duty, she found healing and new purpose among her military family and peers at TAPS. Renee has a passion for education and volunteerism, earning multiple undergraduate degrees in education and psychology with a concentration in child development, culminating in a MA in Psychology - Organizational Leadership, from Southern New Hampshire University. She has spent her life in service to others through volunteering in several organizations including Young Marines as a training officer, Gold Star Wives Inc. as the Education Chair, National Board, Marine Corps League and TAPS as a military mentor and group leader. Renee has presented the TAPS Young Adults Program to the professional communities of Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC) and the National Alliance for Children's Grief (NACG).

Christine Norton

Christine Lynn Norton, PhD, LCSW

Dr. Norton is a Professor of Social Work at Texas State University. She received her PhD in Social Work from Loyola University Chicago. She has a MA in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago, and a MS in Experiential Education from Minnesota State University-Mankato. She is a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional, a Certified Experiential Therapist, a Certified Clinical Adventure Therapist. Christine has over 30 years of experience as a social worker and outdoor experiential educator. Christine is a Research Scientist with the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Center and was a 2017 Fulbright Scholar, having taught adventure therapy at National Taiwan Normal University. Christine leads resilience trainings focused on mental health, trauma recovery, and the healing power of nature, and she has presented her work around the world. She is also an ActivatEE storytelling coach for the Association for Experiential Education.

Denise Rollins

Denise Hall Brown Rollins, PhD

Dr. Rollins is a master life coach, speaker and executive director of the Whole Heart Grief & Life Resource Center in Frederick, Maryland, where her team offers one-on-one coaching and group support services. She holds a doctorate in marriage and family therapy and a masters in thanatology. In addition, at the Gary L. Rollins Funeral Home in Maryland, she partners with her husband, Gary, in managing the business and providing aftercare services. She has more than 20 years of experience in corporate America, where her roles included training, human resources and diversity. Denise's personal experience with loss changed her career path. She is author of 2Grieve 2Gether: A Journal from the Heart Helping Survivors & Supporters Navigate the Healing Process, an autobiographical account of her own grief journey. Denise teaches a course on Death, Dying and Bereavement at Frederick Community College. She serves as a member of the TAPS Advisory Board and also serves as an Advisory Board member for the Nancy Lurie Marks Family Foundation Autism and Grief Project.

Carla Stumpf-Patton


Carla Stumpf Patton, EDD, LMHC, NCC, FT, CCTP

Carla is the Senior Director, Suicide Postvention & Prevention for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors. She has been with TAPS since 2008 and oversees programs and services provided to those impacted by suicide loss. She is the surviving spouse of Sgt. Richard Stumpf, an Active Duty Marine Corps Drill Instructor and Gulf War combat Veteran who died by suicide in 1994, several days before their only child was born. She is trained in Crisis Response Planning, Psychological Autopsy Investigations, and certified as an ASIST trainer in suicide first aid. Carla is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, National Certified Counselor, Certified Clinical Trauma Professional, and Certified Fellow of Thanatology. She holds a bachelor’s in psychology, a master’s in professional mental health counseling, and a doctorate of education in counseling psychology for which she completed her dissertation research on military families bereaved by suicide. She is remarried to a retired U.S. Marine, also a suicide survivor widower, with whom she shares five children.

William Wagasy


William Wagasy

William Wagasy, a former Notre Dame football player under Coach Lou Holtz, William graduated with an accounting degree and a second major in philosophy in 1996. He went on to receive his Juris Doctorate from Pepperdine University in 2000 and his master’s in Dispute Resolution from Pepperdine in 2001. Following the attacks of 9/11, he enlisted in the Navy. He is a decorated U.S. Navy SEAL, having completed four combat tours from 2002 to 2012, three to Iraq and one to Afghanistan. After his time in the Navy, he served as the Director of Veterans Outreach for the Gary Sinise Foundation and continues to be an official ambassador for the foundation as well as sitting on the Advisory Board for Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, the Board Council for Hope for the Warriors, the West Coast Host Committee for the Navy SEAL Foundation and also on the Selection Committee for the Orange County Community Foundation's veteran initiative. Today he is the Vice President of National Sales, National Commercial Services for Commonwealth Land Title Company as well as for Fidelity National Title Group for Home Builder Services.

Candace Wheeler

Candace Wheeler

Candace Wheeler is Director of TAPS Government & Legislative Affairs. As a staunch military family advocate with over 30 years' experience, Candace works to protect the rights and earned benefits of surviving families. TAPS is committed to improving support provided by both federal and state governments, and advancing policy and legislation to strengthen the families of the fallen. During the 116th Congress, Candace led efforts to finally eliminate the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) – Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) offset, commonly referred to as the "Widow's Tax". The TAPS policy team was instrumental in creating a new strategy, educating Congress, garnering support from veterans and military service organizations, and empowering surviving spouses to advocate on their own behalf. Candace is also a leading advocate for the families of those who died as a result of illnesses connected to toxic exposure while serving in the military, and represents TAPS on the Toxic Exposure in the American Military (TEAM) Coalition. As the former President of The Military Coalition (TMC) and Chairman of the Board for the National Military Family Association (NMFA), and Spokesperson for the Save Our Benefit Coalition, Candace has championed military families before Congress, State Legislatures, Departments of Defense (DoD) and Veterans Affairs (VA). As a military spouse, Candace is committed to strengthening the military and veteran community, their families, caregivers and survivors.

Justin Yopp


Justin M. Yopp, PhD

Dr. Yopp is a clinical psychologist and Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  As a member of UNC’s Comprehensive Cancer Support Program, Dr. Yopp offers psychotherapy, assessment, and consult-liaison services for both pediatric oncology and adult oncology populations at the North Carolina Cancer Hospital.  Dr. Yopp also co-leads the Widowed Parent Program, which supports parents who have lost a spouse or partner and are raising children on their own. In addition to offering support groups, the program has a website resource for parents and professionals and conducts research to learn how best to support grieving families. Dr. Yopp co-authored the book, The Group: Seven Widowed Fathers Reimagine Life (Oxford University Press), which weaves together contemporary thinking on grief, adaptation and resiliency with the story of the men from their first parent support group.  After earning his undergraduate degree from Appalachian State University and his doctoral degree from Central Michigan University, Dr. Yopp completed his internship and fellowship at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Prior to joining the faculty at UNC, Dr. Yopp served as a psychologist at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.