Jennifer Mallmes on Transitions

Dear End of Life Doula Association Community,

First, I want to thank everyone for supporting End of Life Care in Canada. I have been honoured and humbled over the last four years that you have joined us on this journey. I am so excited to see where we will go from here. To think this all started with Sarah Muxlow, a cup of coffee and a conversation about death. The opportunity then arose to bring this to an academic arena. We thank Douglas College for believing in the profession and allowing a space for this unique educational opportunity to happen.

The Douglas College program created a need for a community of practice. The Association began to bring like-minded people together to support and educate each other on what is happening in the End of Life world. The Douglas College program also brought us board members, Tracy and Elaine. Tracy was a student of mine who stood out as a leader and an exceptional facilitator. Tracy joined the team at Douglas College as an instructor. Elaine was one of Tracy’s students whom she had recommended to the board as our medical lead.

Our team has had exceptional consultants that helped with writing policies and setting up our website. They also spent countless hours developing our body of knowledge and scope of practice. Sharon Hartung, Jennifer Arbo, and Danny Kent were vital players in launching the Association and nurturing it to what it is today. Without their support and guidance, we might still be sitting drinking coffee, wondering what to do with all of our ideas. We have also had some board members move on, and they, too, were influential in establishing the Association.

We have had some key moments as an Association over the past 4 years, in the shape of media interest such as Global News, CBC, Vancouver Sun, Readers Digest, and more. However, for me, the most significant highlights involved being asked to present at various Palliative Care conferences. Introducing the role of an End of Life Doula at both Provincial and National levels to the key players has earned their respect and educated them on End of Life Doulas. In 2021, we have been asked to present at the International Palliative Care Congress, which will continue us in this next phase of educating the key players of our role.

As I transition into a new role in the Association, I am excited to step aside for new leadership and direction to take the Association to new heights. Over the last year, I have been immersed in learning about social policy both personally and as a representative of the Association with the United Way Public Policy Institute. With this new role in the Association, I will focus all of my attention on advocating for and educating others on End of Life Doulas as an integral part of the Palliative Care team. I want Canada to be a leader in Palliative Care, which includes access to the support of an End of Life Doula so that everyone gets a dignified and personalized ending to their journey.

Congratulations to you on our successes over the last four years, and welcome to Elaine Macdonald as the new President of the Association.


Jennifer Mallmes