Our Team

Grief Services has played an important role in supporting members of the community after sudden, traumatic death since 1984.
Edward K. (Ted) Rynearson, MD
Founder and Medical Director

Photo: Edward Rynearson

Ted attended Harvard University, followed by medical school at Case Western Reserve University and a medical residency at the Mayo Clinic. He is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Washington and has authored two books and more than 60 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters. Ted lives on Puget Sound where he rows each dawn in his rowing scull (weather and tide permitting) and almost always sees a seal or an eagle.

Ted is also the author of Retelling Violent Death. Brunner-Routledge, New York, NY; and the editor of Violent Death: Resilience and Intervention beyond the Crisis. Taylor and Francis, New York, NY. 

Laura Jeffs
Project Coordinator

Photo: Laura Jeffs, Program Coordinator

Laura is a graduate of the University of Washington, the Grief Services project coordinator, and has provided many years of successful management of the clinic’s activities. She collaborates extensively with other community partners and health care providers to serve the needs of our clients. An animal lover, Laura enjoys hiking and movies.

Laura Takacs, LICSW, MPH
Clinical Director and Mental Health Therapist
Individual and Group Counseling

Photo: Laura Takacs

Laura received master’s degrees in Social Work and Public Health from University of Washington. For the past 15 years she has worked both in the United States and abroad providing counseling to individuals who have experienced traumatic loss. Laura has worked with active military, veterans and refugees. She enjoys traveling, sailing and yoga.

Sandi Espiritu, MA, LMHC
Mental Health Therapist

Photo: Sandi Espiritu

Sandi received her undergraduate degree in psychology from Seattle University and her master’s degree in psychology from Antioch University in Seattle. Counseling individuals who have experienced a traumatic death has been a focus of Sandi’s work for the past 13 years, both in private practice and in her affiliation with Virginia Mason Grief Services. Sandi enjoys spending time with family, reading and being in nature.

Joan Strecker
Grief Support Coordinator

Photo: Joan Strecker

Joan graduated from Scripps College and received a master's degree in social work from the University of Southern California. She enjoys cycling, paddle boarding and skiing.