Star Legacy Foundation Support Groups
Star Legacy Foundation provides live, interactive, online support groups for families who have experienced a perinatal loss and for individuals experiencing a pregnancy after a loss. Groups are held via HIPAA-compliant videoconferencing and facilitated by trained mental health professionals. You do not need a video camera on your computer to attend but it is very helpful if you do.
Registration required for first session only – after that participants will receive a reminder email prior to each session.
Our Support Group Facilitators include: Katherine Hyde Hensley, MS, LCMHC-A, LCAS-A, Debbie Fischer, MS, LAMFT, Joanne O’Leary, PhD, Doug Stewart and Kathleen Massmann, LAMFT (see facilitator biographies below)
Joann O'Leary, PHD, MPH, MS, IM-ER(IV)
Dr. O’Leary, holds a B.E.S. and a Masters in Maternal-Child Health from the University of MN. She also has a Masters in Psychology through research from Queens University in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Her Ph.D. is in Work, Community and Family Education and from the University of Minnesota. Her dissertation was The Meaning of Parenting During Pregnancy, After the Loss of a Baby: A Descriptive Phenomenological Study of Parenting a Subsequent Baby Following a Perinatal Loss. She became certified as Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale examiner during her MPH course and moved into a hospital setting working within a High Risk Perinatal Center. Dr. O’Leary’s Ph.D. research was funded by the Bush Foundation. She does research and writing on prenatal parenting; pregnancy and parenting after the loss of a baby, including its impact on fathers and siblings, including adults who were the child in their family born after the loss of a baby. Joann formerly taught CEED online courses: Pregnancy and Birth: An Emerging Perspective on Children’s Development and Pregnancy’s Unexpected Outcomes: Death, Disabilities, and the Impact on Parents and Children–A Guide for Practitioners. Joann lives in Minneapolis, MN with her husband, John.
Kathleen Massmann, MS, LAMFT
Kathleen Massmann is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and Clinical Director of Healing Moments Counseling. She has over 20 years of experience working with a wide range of clients including individuals, c families and groups. Her bachelor’s degree was obtained from The College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University in English and Philosophy and her Master’s of Science in Mental Health Counseling was obtained from Capella University. Kathleen is a Certified Compassionate Bereavement Care Provider and she is certified by Postpartum Support International. Kathleen enjoys working with a wide variety of clients, and utilizes an eclectic therapy approach tailored to meet the needs of her clients. She utilizes Client-Centered, Compassionate Bereavement Care, EMDR and Holistic Therapy to help clients reach their individual goals. Her belief in the personal power that each individual possesses, guides the therapy process. Her areas of specialty include: perinatal bereavement (pregnancy and infant loss), child loss, traumatic bereavement, postpartum depression, postpartum mood disorders, pregnancy after a loss, serious illness/terminal diagnosis and trauma. Kathleen is a member of Pregnancy & Postpartum Support Minnesota, Postpartum Support International, Pregnancy Loss & Infant Death Alliance, International Stillbirth Alliance and The MISS Foundation Compassionate Bereavement Care Provider Network. In her spare time, Kathleen enjoys gardening, canning and spending time with her husband and children.
Debbie Fischer, M.A., LAMFT
Debbie holds a master of arts in marriage and family therapy from St. Mary’s University of MN. After a 20 year career in human resources, where she worked for Target and Walt Disney World, and most recently as the director of HR for a legacy advertising agency in Minneapolis, she elected to return to school and change careers. The decision was driven by her heartbreaking, yet enlightening journey into parenthood. A bereaved mom, who lost 2 sons to stillbirth, and then struggled with secondary infertility and endured multiple rounds of fertility treatments, she felt called to help others who are faced with reproductive health challenges. A specialist in infertility, pregnancy loss, and alternative family building, Debbie works with couples and individuals who have suffered the devastating heartache, and trauma of pregnancy loss. She prepares straight and gay couples and single women and men who wish to pursue IUIs, IVF, donor eggs, donor sperm, donor embryos, and surrogacy. She works with fertility clinics, OB/GYN clinics, surrogacy agencies, and egg donor agencies around the country. She evaluates gestational carriers and egg donors. She is an active professional member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), and Resolve: the National Infertility Association. She is affiliated with the Center for Reproductive Medicine in Minneapolis where she screens potential egg donors. Debbie is honored to be on the advisory board of Fruitful Fertility. She also facilitates Star Legacy’s virtual support group for bereaved parents, and is a past board member of Faith’s Lodge.
Doug Stewart, BA, MBA
Doug Stewart joined Star Legacy as a peer companion counselor in 2017 and began facilitating a men’s grief support group in 2019. He and his late wife Denise had a full-term stillbirth of their son David in 1993 determined to be from a complication with the umbilical cord. Doug has a BA in journalism from Drake University and an MBA from the University of Denver. After thirty years in business ownership and consulting, he shifted to non-profit work and currently serves as Interim Executive Director at Love INC-Heartland. Doug supports other non-profits in board and volunteer roles, has six children and lives in Eden Prairie, MN. ”Our loss was devastating as you would expect,” he says, “but some amazing things came from that painful chapter including life-long friendshjps with other couples we met in our grief support group and a reference point with our other children about overcoming adversity.”
Katherine Hyde Hensley, MS, LCMHC-A, LCAS-A
Katherine is a perinatal bereavement psychotherapist and group facilitator skilled in bereavement. Katherine has a broad range of experience and knowledge in the areas of birth, postpartum, child development, infant death, and grief. Katherine earned her BS in Public Health and Child Development and her MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Walden University and received her training as a Certified Postpartum Doula (DONA), certified Birth Doula (DONA), Resolve Through Sharing Perinatal Bereavement Trainer, Perinatal Loss Doula (LDI), and Palliative Care from Harvard Medical School. Each year, Katherine attends multiple national conferences, including Pregnancy Loss and Infant Death Alliance (PLIDA), Pediatric Palliative Care Coalition of North Carolina, and locally takes part with the Perinatal Emotional Health Network since 2010. Katherine’s family changed in 2005 by the Sudden Unexpected Infant Death of her daughter Helen. Since 2008 she has combined her personal and professional experiences to improve the lives of infants, children, and families across WNC. Katherine lives in Asheville, NC with her husband Dave and four children, Elliott 18, Eliza 15, (Helen 14) and Alice 13.
Jennifer Monsos, MBA, CPA
Jennifer provides mindfulness and yoga sessions online periodically for Star Legacy Foundation and contributes to our support groups by providing periodic mindfulness elements during the groups. She teaches accounting at Rochester Community and Technical College, and owns a small CPA practice providing tax consulting and small business/non-profit accounting services. Jennifer is a certified yoga and meditation instructor and teaches classes with a focus on trauma-informed practices. Jennifer has a bachelor's degree in Accounting and a masters degree in strategic management and is currently working on a doctorate in Education. She is Grandma to Benjamin James, who was stillborn at full term in 2014, and Sophia Rae, Elijah August and their rainbow baby Emily Victoria. In her 'spare time' she runs marathons for fun and is working on a 50 state journey!
Jennifer Kouri, RN, CPLC
Jennifer Kouri joined the Star Legacy Foundation in January of 2019 as the Family Support Coordinator. She is responsible for our support groups, supporting chapters in their family support initiatives and is an instructor for our health professional education offerings. She has many years of experience as a labor and delivery nurse and is Certified in Perinatal Loss (CPLC). She has been frequently recognized for her passion in working with perinatal loss families and in helping them begin their loss journey in order to minimize regrets. Jen was the 2016 recipient of the Star Legacy Foundation Star Award for Family Support.