Welcome!

Lifespan Doula Association was founded in 2016 by Merilynne Rush and Patty Brennan. We offer professional End-of-Life Doula Training and Certification, as well as continuing education programs, resources and mentoring for doulas. In addition, we provide resources for individuals and families seeking guidance for end-of-life issues and access to end-of-life doulas. Our home base is in Ann Arbor, Michigan, but we are available to bring a training to your community. We hope you find our website informative and inspirational, however if you don’t find what you are looking for, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us.

Feature of the Month


Right, before I die

right before I diePhotographer Andrew George has created an art exhibition that documents the journey of people in palliative care who are coming to the ends of their lives. His exhibition, “Right, before I die,” is a collection of portrait photographs, handwritten notes and wall text quoting responses to George’s questions. Combined, they are a brief bio- and autobiographical witnessing. The exhibition debuted at the Musea Brugge, before coming to the Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. Read the stories.

Our Blog


End of life doula training

July Newsletter

See our July newsletter. Planting seeds along the way and the value of persistence; Organ and Body Donation July member webinar; member benefits reminder; tribute to Jon Underwood. Read the newsletter ...
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Jon Underwood

Tribute to Jon Underwood, Death Cafe founder

Note: Jon Underwood, the founder of the international Death Cafe, died suddenly on June 27. Read more about it here. I first heard about Death Café in the spring of 2012. I can’t remember where, but I think it was ...
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Upcoming Events


Aug
5
Sat
Advanced Business Training @ Center for the Childbearing Year
Aug 5 all-day
Advanced Business Training @ Center for the Childbearing Year | Ann Arbor | Michigan | United States

Join us for a highly interactive one-day workshop focused on taking your business to the next level. Topics include:

  • Becoming an entrepreneur
  • Cultivating abundance
  • Establishing your value
  • Acing the interview
  • Marketing on a budget ~ How to grow your business
  • Understanding marketing online ~ Websites, e-newsletters, social media and more
  • Networking effectively ~ It’s all about relationships!
  • Setting goals and other implementation strategies
  • Managing your time ~ How to fit it all in

All participants receive a copy of The Doula Business Guide Workbook: Tools to Create a Thriving Business.

Aug
19
Sat
Ann Arbor Death Cafe @ Crazy Wisdom Bookstore and Tea Room
Aug 19 @ 10:30 am – 12:30 pm
Ann Arbor Death Cafe @ Crazy Wisdom Bookstore and Tea Room | Ann Arbor | Michigan | United States

Join us for lively discussion about life and death led by the participants and facilitated by Merilynne Rush and Diana Cramer. The Ann Arbor Death Cafe has been meeting every month since November 2012, making us the longest standing continuously running Death Cafe in the world! For more information, please visit www.DeathCafe.com.

Sep
16
Sat
Ann Arbor Death Cafe @ Crazy Wisdom Bookstore and Tea Room
Sep 16 @ 10:30 am – 12:30 pm
Ann Arbor Death Cafe @ Crazy Wisdom Bookstore and Tea Room | Ann Arbor | Michigan | United States

Join us for lively discussion about life and death led by the participants and facilitated by Merilynne Rush and Diana Cramer. The Ann Arbor Death Cafe has been meeting every month since November 2012, making us the longest standing continuously running Death Cafe in the world! For more information, please visit www.DeathCafe.com.

Sep
17
Sun
Respecting Choices 1st Steps Advance Care Planning Facilitator Training @ Center for the Childbearing Year
Sep 17 all-day

Learn how to assist healthy adults to identify a healthcare advocate, discuss their values and wishes, and fully complete the advance healthcare planning process. Respecting Choices® is an internationally recognized, evidence-based model of Advance Care Planning (ACP). For nurses, doctors, social workers, chaplains, administrators, family members, end-of-life doulas and all healthcare professionals across the continuum of care.

Merilynne Rush is a certified Respecting Choices 1st Steps Trainer. She also teaches end-of-life doula training through Lifespan Doula Association, and how to have a home funeral and/or green burial through After Death Home Care, LLC. She is on the Washtenaw Health Initiative Advance Care Planning Committee, the Michigan Primary Care Consortium ACP committee, and the Board of the Green Burial Council.

Sep
18
Mon
National Hospice and Palliative Care Conference @ San Diego, CA
Sep 18 – Sep 20 all-day

This conference provides a great educational/networking opportunity. It features a number of tracks pertinent to end-of-life doulas, including

  • Community-Based Palliative Care
  • Quality
  • Supportive Care​

Merilynne Rush will be representing LDA as leaders in the end-of-life doula movement come together to discuss the future and growth of the profession.