Franne Whitney Nelson, Ed.T., CSDS, is a native Vermonter, an Educational Thanatologist, Sudden Death TraumaSpecialistTM and director of Death Education Consulting in Montpelier, Vermont. She is a nationally known death and grief expert and lecturer who specializes in the biochemistry of grief and how grief differs according to the manner of death.

Franne's experience in thanatology spans over 25 years and ranges from working for seven years as a civilian contract employee with the Vermont State Police making death notifications and doing crisis intervention for family members of the victims, to founding a hospice that she directed for five years, as well as serving as hospice director for a chain of nursing homes. In the course of her work with the Vermont State Police, she developed the nation's first state police Sudden Death Trauma ProgramTM and trained all Vermont troopers in dealing with sudden, unexpected death; death notification; body viewing; dealing with survivor-victims; and coping with the troopers' grief on and off the job. She also instructed at the Vermont Police Academy.

Throughout her career, Franne has made over 400 sudden death notifications with law enforcement and in hospital emergency departments; created and carried out a five-year follow-up study of 1626 grieving survivors whose loved ones had died from expected, sudden or sudden, unexpected death; and has hands-on experience with 542 terminally ill people.

She has received numerous awards for her work, including the 1994 National Educator of the Year from the American College of Healthcare Administrators, sharing the awards dais with Dr. C. Edward Koop, former Surgeon General of the United States. She also received an award from the Vermont Commissioner of Public Safety for her work with the Vermont State Police.

Franne's research and extensive involvement with death and grief led her to create a unique grief paradigm that applies only to sudden death. It also resulted in her identifying limitations inherent in the Kubler-Ross five-stages of grief model as it pertains to expected death. She not only discovered that the Kubler-Ross model is not germane to sudden death, she modified and extended the Kubler-Ross model as it applies to the terminally ill.

She co-created an international training video on death and grief which was broadcast over the Emergency Education Network and seen by over 350,000 people in Chile, Canada, Mexico, Ethiopia, the Caribbean Basin, the South Pacific, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, the Antarctic, Crete, Greece, Bahrain, Spain, Bermuda, Argentina, Midway, Guam and the Philippines.

Franne provided crisis intervention to the families of the Battleship Iowa turret explosion victims, as well as to many schools and communities. These particular cases have ranged from crisis intervention for a high school and community after the murder of a beloved teacher, multiple suicides in the same high school in the Midwest,  assisting schools in explaining death to youngsters, to assisting businesses in dealing with the deaths of employees.

She has instructed military Casualty Assistance Call Officers in the do's and dont's of death notification, as well as trained hundreds of police, fire and rescue in dealing with sudden death. Additionally, she has lectured extensively to victim advocates, prosecutors, nursing home and hospital personnel, funeral directors, mental health professionals, teachers, medical examiners, cemeterians, hospice workers, monument dealers, physicians and human resource professionals, as well as to the general public. Franne has presented in Alabama, Arkansas, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia.

In 2006, Franne developed the first Sudden Death Trauma SpecialistTM Certification program that addresses only the trauma associated with death, as opposed to other types of trauma. She offers the four-day certification program on the national level in Vermont and also on-site to businesses and institutions nationwide.

In 2004, Franne was commissioned by the United States Department of Justice to write A Grief Guide For Dealing With Sudden Death Trauma: What To Expect When Your Loved One Dies With No Good-bye, as well as a companion publication, A Handbook For Victim Advocates and Caregivers: Guiding A Family Step-By-Step Through the Aftermath of Sudden Death.

Franne writes death and grief protocols for businesses and institutions, addressing employee notification; the physical and emotional aftermath of death; how to most effectively provide crisis intervention and continuing bereavement support; how to ease transition back to work; coping system-wide with grieving/traumatized employees; preventing grief-driven, on-the-job injuries, and dealing with grieving families of employees.

As a result of her research and experience, Franne is also writing a comprehensive book on all aspects of death and grief.

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