Heidi G. Gessner, MDiv, BCC

The core members of the clinical team have professional training and certification in palliative medicine and palliative care nursing. Members of the core team are based in the UNC School of Medicine and UNC Health Care System. Palliative care encompasses humanistic and scientific contributions from many perspectives; we rely on effective collaborations with community partners, faculty from other Schools at the University of North Carolina, and input from faculty outside of UNC.


Heidi Gessner, MDiv, BCC, is an Ordained United Church of Christ Minister who serves as the Bereavement Coordinator and Palliative Care Chaplain at UNC Hospitals. She felt deeply called to end of life and grief work after her own father's journey and death from lung cancer. She developed and created UNC Hospital Bereavement Support Services with goal of attending to the emotional pain that is the result of loss and death.

Heidi provides emotional and spiritual care, as well as grief counseling to patients, families, and staff. She collaborates with the palliative care team and refers chaplains to patients and families as needed. She facilitates grief support groups for families and staff grieving the loss of a loved one.