Laura S. Wheat has been elected to the Association for Death Education and Counseling’s (ADEC) Board of Directors.
“Some of the best researchers in thanatology (death, dying, and bereavement) in the world, some of the most skilled clinicians, and some of the brightest students are part of this organization, and I can truly say that they, and ADEC as a whole, have changed my life.”
ADEC is a nonprofit, professional organization dedicated to promoting excellence and recognizing diversity in care of the dying, death education, grief counseling and research in thanatology (the study of death and dying). It is an international organization with almost two thousand members in more than thirty countries.
It is also the oldest interdisciplinary organization in the field of dying, death, and bereavement with members including clergy, counselors, educators, health well-being specialists, hospital/hospice personnel, funeral directors, philosophers, psychologists, social workers, sociologists, therapists, etc. This enables collaboration and communication across disciplines and offers a diversity of information related to thanatology.
Wheat has been a member of ADEC since 2007. She has held four different roles in the organization, totaling six years of service. When she was Chair of the Student Initiative Committee five years ago, she had the opportunity to sit on the Board of Directors as a non-voting member. She explained that ever since, it had been a dream of hers to be on the Board of Directors. On April 11, 2015 that dream was realized as she was sworn in and attended her first Board of Directors meeting as an official (voting) member.
Before being sworn in Wheat stated, “I am so very excited to be doing this. I didn’t expect it to happen so soon, and I am nervous about whether I’m really ready for it.” However, her nominee was confident that she was ready for this position. After Wheat accepted the nomination, her name was on the slate for the annual election during which all members of ADEC can vote. She won her very first election.
When asked about the future of her new position on the Board of Directors Wheat explained, “ADEC is undergoing a tremendous transition as it tries to grow and become more inclusive of the international community as well as incorporating acceptance of non-death losses, and the incoming Board will have a pretty big job to do in managing that process. I will have to help not only with the architecture of what ADEC is becoming but also capturing the hearts and minds of current members so that we can all share a common vision for the future. This is not going to be an easy job, but I will do it gladly.”