Program News - Spring 2022

MFDA Bulletin article / Program Update 3/28/22

Hello Colleagues!

Greetings to you all from the Program of Mortuary Science here at the U! As the days get longer and the temperatures begin to warm up, we are excited to share with you many updates and news items relating to our Program.

Commencement Ceremony: For the first time in two years, we will once again be back on campus for graduation! As you may recall, in 2020, as a result of COVID we had to host our commencement gathering online. The event included a small “gift giving” ceremony with students and faculty (and led by faculty member Judge Doug Meslow), held remotely via Zoom. Last year, we were able to hold an outdoor ceremony at beautiful Lakewood Cemetery, which allowed families to gather in-person with graduates. Members of the classes of 2020 and 2021 were able to attend the Lakewood ceremony, and it was great to have graduates from both classes together for that special day. This year, we will once again return to the Coffman Memorial Union for our ceremony and reception events honoring the Class of 2022. We look forward to welcoming graduates and their families to campus for what we know will be a beautiful and memorable ceremony and day for celebration.

Community Outreach and Professional Development: We continue in our efforts to provide high-quality continuing education to our alumni and practitioners working in funeral service. As many of you know, last year, in partnership with MFDA, I conducted a research study on issues relating to licensure and professional practice in Minnesota. The results of that research were presented to practitioners this past February as part of a 2-CEU webinar. We had over 200 attendees who participated via Zoom. In addition to my presentation, MFDA representatives discussed implications of the research for public policy, in the context of 149a. Currently, the results of this research are being used to create new laws and policies that will help funeral directors in their daily work serving families across Minnesota. Our goal is to offer more continuing education presentations (remotely, via Zoom) every one to two months, so please reach out to me (mpl@umn.edu) if you have any questions and/or ideas for topics you would like to see as part of our CEU events. And if you miss an event, fear not! We post them online on our website, and you can find them here: https://med.umn.edu/mortuaryscience/professional-resources (look under “Past Webinars)

Transfer Care Specialist Training: At the time of this writing, it looks like MN 149a will be revised later this year to allow for unlicensed individuals to perform removals. Assuming there are no changes to the draft language of the current bill (and also that the bill passes and is signed into law), a requirement for becoming a transfer care specialist (TCS) will involve seven hours of training, through an educational program to be approved by the Commissioner of Health. I have been working closely with MFDA, faculty, staff, the Medical School, and other stakeholders to ensure that the Program of Mortuary Science here at the U is able to create and offer training of the highest quality to meet the needs of funeral service professionals. We envision an online training class that will be delivered asynchronously (i.e., to be available whenever someone wants to take it), and built to include, at a minimum, all required subjects to be presented in the proposed revisions to 149a. Work has already begun on creating this course, and we welcome any questions and/or suggestions you may have! More information will be presented via our website (www.mortuaryscience.umn.edu) and also sent out to practitioners via email. (Note: If you are not currently receiving emails from us, please let us know and we will be sure to add you to our mailing list - just send a note to mortsci@umn.edu) And as always, please reach out to me with any questions you may have!

We look forward to seeing many of you at the upcoming MFDA Convention in May at Treasure Island. Be well, and have a wonderful spring!

All best,
Michael LuBrant
Director - Program of Mortuary Science
University of Minnesota

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