June 16, 2014: David Fajgenbaum, MD, MSc and Heather Servaty-Seib, PhD, have been working on a book for grieving college students for the last 3 years, and they have teamed up with Jessica Kingsley Publishers to make it available for grieving college students worldwide in 2015. The book, whose title is still to be finalized (we need YOU to help us decide; vote below), will include stories written by 30 grieving college students about their journeys, 2 chapters of tips for coping with grief during college and helping those who are coping, and commentary by Drs Fajgenbaum and Servaty-Seib about each of the 10 primary themes identified from the stories.  As grief specialists with years of experience, Drs Fajgenbaum and Servaty-Seib have added commentary and highlighted active coping strategies throughout the manuscript.

“Our goal for this book is to reach grieving college students, help them to connect with others going through similar experiences who “get it,” and offer guidance to those who seek to support them,” said David.

“These young adults contributed to this book because they wanted to make a difference in the lives of future grieving students through sharing their stories. Rather than providing a prescription for how grief should be done, they genuinely describe the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors they experienced throughout their grief journeys.  The power of this book is in the candid, engaging, and heartfelt sharing contained in these stories,” said Heather.

Why this book is so important:

There are no current books of narratives by grieving college students, for grieving college students, and they are an under recognized group of grievers who are struggling with unique challenges—developmentally and in a context often separate from their friends and family.  At any one point in time, 40% of college students are within two years of the death of someone close to them.  Starting college is also a significant developmental milestone/transition which often prompts life review and reflection of earlier death losses. A primary struggle for grieving students is a feeling of isolation—and a sense that no one understands what they are experiencing.  This book of narratives will provide a much needed resource for grieving students and those who seek to support them.

Vote for your favorite title (email: david@studentsofamf.org with the number of your favorite title option below):

1) “We get it: Stories by and for grieving college students”

2) “Grieving during college: We get it”

3) “We get your grief: Stories by and for grieving college students”

4) “We get it: Voices of grieving college students”

5) “Voices of grieving college students: We get your grief”

About the authors:

David Fajgenbaum, MD, MSc, is the co-Founder of the National Students of AMF Support Network, a support network for college students grieving the illness or death of a loved one. He founded the organization in 2006 in memory of his mother, Anne Marie Fajgenbaum (“AMF”), who died from brain cancer during David’s sophomore year of college. Under David’s leadership, National Students of AMF has grown into a national movement that has impacted the lives of greater than 3,000 grieving students on 200+ campuses and pioneered college student grief support as an important national issue. His work has been highlighted on the Today Show, Reader’s Digest, and the New York Times. David received his MSc in Public Health from Oxford University and his MD from the University of Pennsylvania, where he is currently studying for an MBA in Health Care management at the Wharton School of Business and he leads the University of Pennsylvania chapter of Students of AMF.



Heather L. Servaty-Seib, PhD, is a counseling psychologist and associate professor in the Department of Educational Studies at Purdue University.  She is considered a leading authority in the areas of adolescent bereavement, social support, and grief.  She is a past president of the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC) and was co-principal investigator of ALIVE @ Purdue, a three-year, campus suicide prevention grant received from the Department of Health and Human Services. Much of her recent scholarship has been focused in area of college student bereavement including a co-edited volume (published by Jossey-Bass) entitled Assisting Bereaved College Students and empirical articles published in journal such as The Counseling Psychologist and Death Studies. Dr. Servaty-Seib received the Death Educator of the Year Award in 2013 from ADEC. She is committed to translating research into action. As an example, she contributed to efforts at Purdue to create a bereavement leave policy for students (implemented the summer of 2011) and has served as a resource for other campuses that have approved such policies (e.g., University of Wisconsin-Green Bay).