My trip to the 20th International Perinatal Bereavement/PLIDA conference in Phoenix, USA in late September this year was a great networking opportunity as well as a chance to learn about the latest research and practice in perinatal and infant loss. There was a moment when I realised that my attendance at this conference, as well as past MISS Foundation, ISA/ISPID and other grief and baby loss conferences around the world, has resulted in wonderful personal connections with a variety of international experts.

I decided to do something about those connections and have established the Vicki Culling Associates Speaker Series 2017. Once a year I’ll bring an international expert to New Zealand and we’ll travel throughout the country sharing their wisdom and expertise with professionals and families.

The inaugural speaker is Deborah L. Davis, a developmental psychologist based in Denver, Colorado. We met at the PLIDA conference in Washington DC in 2010 and have caught up at many conferences since. Deborah is excited to be heading to New Zealand to talk about her work. We have been very busy emailing and Skyping together, discussing pertinent issues for our audiences and developing the workshop topics. I have also been talking to health and caring professionals around the country asking what is going on for them and what they’d like to hear about. We have decided to do half-day workshops for professionals and evening talks for parents and families that we hope to organise with local Sands groups. And we’re trying to squeeze in as many venues as we can in the two weeks we have allocated for the Speaker Series.

Here are the dates and venues:

South Auckland workshop Monday 1st May

Auckland parents’ evening Monday 1st May

Auckland City workshop Tuesday 2nd May

Hamilton workshop Wednesday 3rd May

Hamilton parents’ evening Wednesday 3rd May

Palmerston North parents’ evening Thursday 4th May

Palmerston North workshop Friday 5th May

Wellington workshop Monday 8th May

Wellington parents’ evening Monday 8th May

Christchurch workshop Wednesday 10th May

Christchurch parents’ evening Wednesday 10th May

Dunedin parents’ evening Thursday 11th May

Dunedin workshop Friday 12th May

It’s going to be a great two weeks in early May – please mark your calendars! And watch this space for more information in early 2017.