The ACPE Research Network

The ACPE Research Network seeks to foster connections among members of the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education interested in research, encourage original research, and raise awareness about published research (e.g., in the health care literature and the education literature) related to spirituality, pastoral care, and Clinical Pastoral Education.

  GENERAL ANNOUNCEMENTS (updated September 11, 2016):

  • The September Article-of-the-Month presents an assessment of a picture-based communication card for use with mechanically ventilated adults in the ICU. It was developed by Joel N. Berning, a chaplain at NewYork-Presbyterian Medical Center. "This study answers calls for more rigorous studies of spiritual and religious interventions, a need to develop a comprehensive approach to assess and meet the spiritual needs of patients, and for research aimed at improving critical illness survivorship" [p. 1340]. --Also note recent AoMs: The August article offers a model for a one-day workshop to educate front-line clinicians as spiritual care generalists and presents data on its efficacy. The write-up includes a special comment to the Research Network from co-author Mary Martha Thiel. The June AoM is a diary study of the chaplain's role in the care of the seriously ill in an urban acute care hospital, and lead author Ellen L. Idler and co-author George H. Grant have added comments to the Network. The May AoM looks at the implementation of a Post-Code Pause for staff after resuscitations -- a process potentially involving chaplains. And, the April AoM is a qualitative study of what ACPE Certification Commission members say are behaviors that influence their vote on supervisory candidates, with a comment to the Network from the lead author, Judith R. Ragsdale.
  • The Summer 2016 Newsletter includes an update on students' research activities in Virginia Commonwealth University's CPE program, descriptions of centers at Indiana University Health and at the Mount Sinai (New York) Health System, and a piece about scoping reviews, along with the latest on the Transforming Chaplaincy project. Note also items in recent Newsletters The Winter-Spring 2016 issue reported the new World Psychiatric Association Position Statement on Spirituality & Religion in Psychiatry, highlighted an article by Wendy Cadge on "The Evolution of Spiritual Assessment Tools in Healthcare," and included thoughts on research possibilities focusing on the "non-religious" by Mary Martha Thiel, plus and an editorial calling for replication studies. In the Fall 2015 issue covered examples of CPE Residents' projects from the VA New York Harbor Healthcare System that employed the Lean approach to quality improvement, and links to free online modules on research and statistics from the University of Minnesota's Center for Spirituality and Healing.
  • Spiritual Health Victoria has produced a Review of Literature (--click to download PDF, 80 pp.) regarding research that speaks to how spiritual care is provided by chaplains. It addresses spiritual care interventions and outcomes, how spiritual care is measured and reported, and the relationship between spiritual care providers and other healthcare staff. The review was created as part of a project with La Trobe University, with Australian chaplaincy especially in mind, but it is broadly relevant. It is linked to the Research page of the Spiritual Health Victoria website, which also offers a sign-up for a weekly eNews.
  • An annotated bibliography of Medline-indexed articles on spirituality & health published during 2015 is now posted on the website of the Penn Medicine Pastoral Care Department.
  •   Transforming Chaplaincy: Promoting Research Literacy for Improved Patient Outcomes is a project supported by grants totaling $4,500,000 and aims to equip healthcare chaplains to use research to guide, evaluate, and advocate for the daily spiritual care provided to patients, family members, and colleagues. Visit for information about CPE Curriculum Development Grants, Research Chaplain Fellowships, and online continuing education and other resources; and note especially the Calendar section. (Note: The site may not work well with some older browsers.)
  • The Rush Research Article Summary Outline, a resource used by George Fitchett and Patricia Murphy in teaching research literacy, is now available as a PDF and Word document. It has also been added to our page of resources for Incorporating Research into CPE.
  • An Invitation to Chaplaincy Research: Entering the Process, ed. by Myers, G. E with Roberts, S. (2014), is an excellent resource for chaplains new to research. It is available freely through the HealthCare Chaplaincy Network, which produced the resource with support from the John Templeton Foundation.
  • The "Knowledge Base of Spiritual Care Samples," which was developed through the Spiritual Care Initiative for Professional Excellence [formerly the Ideal Intervention Paper (IIP) Project] and posted on our site until 2012, is now available in print as a four volume set from Judson Press: The Pastoral Caregiver's Casebook series, edited by John J. Gleason. See our SCIPE page for more information.
  • Some Network members have asked for personal email notifications of new postings to our website: e.g., Articles-of-the-Month or Newsletters. If you would like to receive such announcements from John Ehman (Convener), then please send your request to
  • Workshop Materials:


    Materials from the workshop, "Teaching Research Literacy in CPE: Current Models and Practical Options" (presented at the 2013 national ACPE conference):

    Also, see the sample of program syllabi for Model Practices for Teaching Research in Clinical Pastoral Education, and other resources from our section on Incorporating Research into CPE (including a presentation about the Spiritual Pathways Project, by Paul Derrickson and Angie van Hise, mentioned during the workshop).



If you are a first-time visitor, please also note:

This web site became operational on September 1, 2002. It will continue to evolve in response to suggestions from Network members. To submit suggestions, please directly e-mail the Network's convener at All member correspondence is confirmed by return e-mail.

For the web site of the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, click here.


  Contact:  Chaplain John Ehman (Network Convener) at
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