Highly-regarded public health professional brings nearly 15 years of experience from University of Michigan School of Public Health to lead growth and program development at Washtenaw County non- profit grief counseling organization.

amy-milanovichANN ARBOR, Mich. — May 21, 2015 — The kite network, a non-profit peer-based grief counseling service, announced today that Amy Friedman Milanovich, MPH, who has over 25 years of experience working with non-profit and community based organizations developing and promoting public health programs, has joined the organization as Executive Director.

In this role, Ms. Milanovich becomes responsible for directing the ongoing operations and services of the kite network as well as strategies for growth, program development, service design and delivery, community outreach, fund-raising, counselor staffing and general administrative management.

“We are extremely pleased to welcome Amy to the kite network family,” said Doug Stotlar, who with his wife, Julie, founded the Ann Arbor-based non-profit five years ago as a way to honor the memory of their daughter, Lauren, who perished in a tragic accident. “We are fortunate to have someone with Amy’s enthusiasm and compassion, public health care experience and proven skills to help us expand the reach and positive impact which this organization provides to those in our community whose lives have been darkened by grief from any type of loss.”

Ms. Milanovich comes to the kite network from the University of Michigan School of Public Health (UMSPH), where she worked since 1999. In her role at the UMSPH Center for Managing Chronic Disease, she managed several large-scale national research projects, including programs such as Allies Against Asthma, the Asthma Health Outcomes Project and other national health initiatives funded by various major philanthropic foundations, and served as an intermittent lecturer.

“I am honored and excited to join the kite network,” said Ms. Milanovich. “I have devoted my career to improving the lives of those in our community who often are the most vulnerable, and improving

systems of support and care for those in need. The pain from the loss of a loved one is one of the most tragic experiences a person can encounter. I look forward to helping the kite network advance its important work and expand our network of support for those in our community experiencing grief.”

Prior to her tenure at the UMSPH, Ms. Milanovich worked in a variety of increasingly responsible positions including as a project associate in the Department of Family Medicine for the U of M Health System, and in executive support and financial accounting for non-profit organizations in New Orleans, Louisiana and Washington, D.C.

Ms. Milanovich succeeds Anne Rivard, who recently retired as the kite network’s first executive director. “Anne has provided strong and effective leadership through our formative years and was instrumental in creating initial awareness and recognition of our grief support mission in the community,” said Doug Stotlar. “The kite network is grateful for her dedication, skill and passion for our mission.”

“What makes our peer counselors unique is that they’ve experienced the loss of a loved one in their own lives,” notes Julie Stotlar. “They’ve already traveled their own personal grief journey, giving them a powerful perspective and the ability to truly understand the emotional and physical trauma from the death of a loved one,” she explains.

Counselors at the kite network address the more recognized forms of loss, such as an adult parent, child or sibling; as well as other sources of grief which society often marginalizes, such as the loss of a pet, unborn child, partner or close friend.

“If you breathe, you’re going to grieve,” says Julie about the loss of a loved one. “When Lauren died, the people we found most comforting to speak to were those who had experienced a similar loss. Talking with someone who has been through what you’ve been through makes it easier to share, recover, and move on with acclimating to your loss. That’s why we founded the kite network. And that’s why we are so grateful and excited to have Amy joining us to help further advance our mission.”

About the kite network

the kite network emphasizes one-to-one peer-based counseling in an open, nurturing environment. Counselors are volunteers, trained in effective methods for assisting the grieving process, offering emotional support and facilitative resources to help those suffering loss to let grief happen in a non-judgmental, caring and understanding environment. Its team of trainers and counselors recognize that each grief journey is unique, and believes that providing compassionate listening offers empowering insights on the path toward rebuilding life after loss. Clients are 18 years or older and at some stage of dealing with bereavement. Services are provided throughout greater Washtenaw County and surrounding communities. For more information on services or how to become a counselor, visit