Meet Nathalie Bonafé, PhD, CEOLD
Nathalie's main objective is to help people in a situation of vulnerability after a health scare, by helping change the way living, aging, dying and death are perceived. Her person-based approach brings clarity, focus, perspectives, and also inner peace. Achieving inner-freedom requires a little bit of work, but is totally possible even in our elder years. It's a matter of mindset.
Nathalie is professionally trained to help with end-of-life care planning and coordination, enabling people to live optimally. She uses a holistic scientific approach and offers non-medical, pragmatic, non-judgmental support and resources in times of vulnerability to make people feel in control of their own life. She acts as a coach, guide, facilitator, navigator, emotional buffer, surrogate daughter or sister.
As a patient advocate, her assistance to both patients and loved-ones is based on their own values, for precious peace of mind. Far from being a narrowly-trained specialist, Dr. Bonafé prides herself on being a generalist – the glue that brings and holds all of the support systems together for her clients.
She acts as an adjunct to hospice and palliative care teams, and works with everyone involved, including physicians, family members, attorneys, financial advisors, conservators.
* Insured and bonded, she is Doulagivers®- and NPEC-certified, and a member of the National End-of-Life Doula Alliance (NEDA). Further, in addition to being an active direct-care hospice volunteer and a mentor to doulas in training, she gives workshops to educate communities about the importance of advance healthcare planning, and how to support and care for loved ones facing the end of their lives.
Nathalie comes from 25 years' experience in the rigorous field of biomedical science. She received her PhD in Molecular Biology, Biology & Health, from Montpellier Medical School, France, after which she moved to the United States where she conducted collaborative scientific research first at the National Institutes of Health, then at the Yale Medical School, and the last 12 years in the biotech industry.
WHAT PEOPLE SAY
“I could not have been assigned a better mentor than Nathalie. She has been my mentor since Sept. 2018, and continues to offer me her expertise. She epitomizes everything one could look for in a mentor. Her knowledge as an EOL Doula is superior, and she patiently and willingly offers it up. She goes above and beyond to make sure her mentee's have all the necessary tools at their disposal to be sucessful. She will guide you every step of the way. She is my role model, and I will be forever grateful that she took me under her wing.”
— Jill, Certified EOL Doula
The night of my first death cafe
“The night I went to my first death cafe, it was two nights before Halloween. Rain dripped from jackets and umbrellas as we all congregated in the back room of Koffee? As a Yale student, I deeply appreciated the following one-and-a-half hours, situated a mere two minutes from campus geographically, but much further, mentally. I didn’t know what to expect (perhaps, elderly people? Those working in hospice, or other death doulas?), but I found my expectations completely overturned. There were young people, old people, those in-between, people of all different races, of all different walks of life. Nathalie brought such a gracious warmth to the discussion that made many participants willing to share their experiences, while others chose to listen instead. As desserts were passed from hand to hand, stories unfurled, and casual discussions followed. From short childhood anecdotes about the deaths of pets to life philosophies to simple questions regarding the end of life, any kind of discussion was welcome to the table. I arrived with two other Yale students, and we all left smiling. Nathalie mentioned a “dopamine high” that she experiences after these death cafes, and I definitely felt that. Unfurling my umbrella to step back into the rain, I walked down the street back to campus, feeling incredibly light and warm on the inside.”
— Candice, Yale BK College student '21
“I felt so empowered after our last meeting”
— Paula, mid 60s, is writing a book
“You make me feel young”
— Flora, early 90s, on hospice for a year
“I feel your presence”
— Jean, mid 60s, with chronic condition