Perinatal loss resource book by UMD student offers comfort

A journey of decades came to its next step for Mary Orman.

Orman, a retired nurse and UMD student, drafted a recently published resource guide in perinatal loss to hospitals as part of her Master of Professional Studies degree. Now, St. Luke’s Hospital has made the resource guide available across the region. The materials in this guide help hospital volunteers and staff reach out to families who have lost babies due to miscarriage, stillbirth, and neonatal death.
The guide offers scripts for volunteers to read as they reach out to families in the weeks and months, up to a year after the loss. The guide also helps the volunteers learn more about the grieving process, recognizing that every person’s path through grief is different. According to Mallory Cummings, Maternal- Child Health Project Manager and Doula Coordinator for St. Luke’s Hospitals, “Strengthening the support offered to patients and their families is crucial to their grief process. We can now offer what we have learned as a resource to other healthcare facilities and agencies that seek to enhance their support of people experiencing the life-altering event of perinatal loss.”

The guide’s author, Mary Orman, is a retired nurse of more than 40 years. As a nurse and as a volunteer after retirement, Orman has worked tirelessly to support families who have suffered these losses. Mary worked closely with faculty at the University of Minnesota Duluth (including professor of medical anthropology Mitra Emad) to complete this project as part of her Master of Professional Studies degree.  

By legislative mandate, Minnesota residents over the age of 65 pay only $10 a credit for higher education.  An entire Master’s Degree costs less than $400.  According to program director David Beard, this creates an opportunity for “the best faculty in the region to collaborate with students who bring a lifetime of experience and expertise to their graduate study.”
For more information about birthing programs at St. Luke’s, visit  
To learn more about the Master of Professional Studies, visit
To learn more about the Program in Writing Studies, which assisted in the development of the document into publishable form, visit 
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