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Fall 2015 Newsletter

Volume 14, Number 1
Published November 2, 2015

Edited by Chaplain John Ehman, Network Convener

Network members are encouraged to submit articles for upcoming issues.
The Newsletter is published three times a year: Fall, Spring, and Summer.



  1.     Report on Inclusion of Research at the International Congress on Pastoral Care and Counseling  --by David C. Johnson
  2.     Project Update: Transforming Chaplaincy Project Launched
  3.     New Religion and Spirituality Series from the Journal Cancer
  4.     CPE Students' "Lean" Projects at the VA New York Harbor Healthcare System
  5.     Free Online Modules on Research and Statistics from the University of Minnesota's Center for Spirituality and Healing
  6.     Spiritual Care Initiative for Professional Excellence Completes Its Mission
  7.     APC Continuing Education Requirements and Standards for Research
  8.     2016 Medicine and Religion Conference
  9.     5th European Conference on Religion, Spirituality and Health
10.     Review of ICD-10-AM Pastoral Intervention Codings
11.     New Pew Survey on Perceived Conflict between Religion and Science


1.     Report on Inclusion of Research at the International Congress on Pastoral Care and Counseling  --by David C. Johnson, ACPE President

I was able to attend the International Congress on Pastoral Care and Counseling (ICPCC), October 15-21, 2015, in San Francisco. I registered back in the spring and chose my workshops based on the appeal of the description provided. Just before I left for San Francisco, I received an email from the editor of this Newsletter asking if I would write a "review" of how I viewed research being used during the conference. Well, the "skinny" is that it was everywhere. I came away with the recognition that different areas are being researched both qualitatively and quantitatively around the globe and being shared at conferences such as this one. I appreciate the research focus being brought forth in both APC and ACPE but wonder if it is enough.

I thought the ICPCC was a good conference with many good offerings. I was surprised how aware I was of the various speakers mentioning their research and the research of others during their presentations. I am sure it had to do with writing this reflection as opposed to speakers not usually mentioning this. In all the different offerings that I attended, research was mentioned either in the presentations or in the discussion during and after the presentations.

There was research that was approved by the IRB and research that was more informal. There was quantitative and qualitative research. Those who attended the ACPE session led by Trace Haythorn were able to participate in a research endeavor that is part of organizational design task force. There was encouragement given by the speakers for the participants to be doing their own research.

In three of the six plenary presentations that I attended, research and data was used during the presentation. These plenary sessions were as diverse as one could imagine. The subject matter touched on diversity and intercultural communication, PTSD, and mindfulness. Our own George Fitchett was the only plenary speaker to use the term "research" in the title of his presentation, which was on the need for chaplains to be current in research.

The workshops I chose were varied. One appealed to my need to be more engaged in the electronic nature of our world. Another appealed to my appreciation of Henri Nouwen. The third appealed to my professional interest in cross-cultural understanding of gender and sexuality issues. Two of the workshops used research and data during their presentations. The workshop on virtual reality was a report of the results of the presenter’s qualitative research on the use of Facebook as a tool for pastoral care.

I appreciate the invitation to give this perspective on the ICPCC. It certainly made me more mindful of the research that is taking place within our profession. I must admit that attending the conference on the heels of a discussion with my medical center’s administrators about productivity and benchmarking, data was on my mind. Our profession needs more data on what we do, the effect of what we do, and the number of persons needed to be effective at what we do. This conference allowed me to see that our friends around the world have the same need of research that we do.

[Dr. David C. Johnson is Director of Spiritual Care at the Carolinas HealthCare System (Charlotte, NC). He has also written about anticipating the ICPCC, in the October 2015 issue of the ACPE Newsletter.]


2.     Project Update: Transforming Chaplaincy Project Launched

This summer marked the beginning of the Transforming Chaplaincy: Promoting Research Literacy for Improved Patient Outcomes project. The project, funded by the John Templeton Foundation, with support from the APC, NACC, NAJC and ACPE, aims to equip healthcare chaplains to use research to guide, evaluate, and advocate for the daily spiritual care they provide patients, family members and colleagues. Transforming Chaplaincy has three exciting initiatives. The project will provide: 1) Research Chaplain Fellowships to pay for 16 board-certified chaplains to complete a two-year, research-focused master's degree; 2) Curriculum Development Grants to 70 CPE programs to support incorporation of research literacy education in their residency curricula; and 3) a free Online Continuing Education course, Religion, Spirituality and Health: An Introduction to Research for members of the supporting organizations.

You’ll find details about these three initiatives, including application information and timelines, on the project website at [--may not be compatible with older browsers]. Check the Calendar page of the website for important information about activities we have organized to provide additional information about the Fellowships and CPE Grants. These include a webinar entitled Teaching Research Literacy in CPE, upcoming informational conference calls, and conferences and ACPE regional events where a Transforming Chaplaincy representative will be on hand to answer questions. Sign up on the website to be on the email list to receive updates on applications and project-related events. You are also welcome to contact the project coordinator, Kathryn Lyndes, PhD, at and 312-942-0247 for further information.


3.     New Religion and Spirituality Series from the Journal Cancer

The Journal Cancer has published in its November 2015 issue (vol. 121, no. 21) a new series on Religion and Spirituality, which the Editor-in-Chief Fadlo R. Khuri calls "the most comprehensive and systematic summary of religion/spirituality and cancer research to date, …report[ing] findings from three meta-analyses encompassing 1,341 effects drawn from over 44,000 patients to identify the extent to which dimensions of religion/spirituality (affective, behavioral, cognitive) were differentially associated with patient-reported health outcomes (physical, mental, and social) and the conditions under which these relationships were strengthened or attenuated" [--from the journal website]. The series includes an introductory article, followed by three meta-analyses, and then a commentary looking overall at the meta-analyses and considering future research and clinical applications. The fiver articles, in order of print, are:

Salsman, J. M., Fitchett, G., Merluzzi, T. V., Sherman, A. C. and Park, C. L. "Religion, spirituality, and health outcomes in cancer: A case for a meta-analytic investigation." Cancer 121, no. 21 (November 1, 2015): 3754-3759. [(Abstract:) A growing body of research shows that a majority of patients with cancer report having religious and spiritual (R/S) beliefs, engaging in R/S behaviors, or deriving comfort from R/S experiences. These studies have been reviewed but not subjected to rigorous critical analysis. A meta-analytic approach is needed to provide a more definitive understanding of the relationships between R/S (affective, behavioral, and cognitive dimensions) and physical, mental, and social health in all phases of cancer including diagnosis, treatment, survivorship, and palliative care. A meta-analysis can quantify the degree of association between R/S dimensions and patient-reported health outcomes and the conditions under which these associations are strengthened or attenuated. Results can, in turn, help focus future work in this area by highlighting key variables for inclusion in studies of R/S and cancer and identifying particular subgroups for whom dimensions of R/S are particularly important to their health.]

Jim, H. S., Pustejovsky, J. E., Park, C. L., Danhauer, S. C., Sherman, A. C., Fitchett, G., Merluzzi, T. V., Munoz, A. R., George, L., Snyder, M. A. and Salsman, J. M. "Religion, spirituality, and physical health in cancer patients: A meta-analysis." Cancer 121, no. 21 (November 1, 2015): 3760-3768. [(Abstract:) Although religion/spirituality (R/S) is important in its own right for many cancer patients, a large body of research has examined whether R/S is also associated with better physical health outcomes. This literature has been characterized by heterogeneity in sample composition, measures of R/S, and measures of physical health. In an effort to synthesize previous findings, a meta-analysis of the relation between R/S and patient-reported physical health in cancer patients was performed. A search of PubMed, PsycINFO, the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, and the Cochrane Library yielded 2073 abstracts, which were independently evaluated by pairs of raters. The meta-analysis was conducted for 497 effect sizes from 101 unique samples encompassing more than 32,000 adult cancer patients. R/S measures were categorized into affective, behavioral, cognitive, and 'other' dimensions. Physical health measures were categorized into physical well-being, functional well-being, and physical symptoms. Average estimated correlations (Fisher z scores) were calculated with generalized estimating equations with robust variance estimation. Overall R/S was associated with overall physical health (z=0.153, P<.001); this relation was not moderated by sociodemographic or clinical variables. Affective R/S was associated with physical well-being (z=0.167, P<.001), functional well-being (z=0.343, P<.001), and physical symptoms (z=0.282, P<.001). Cognitive R/S was associated with physical well-being (z=0.079, P<.05) and functional well-being (z=0.090, P<.01). 'Other' R/S was associated with functional well-being (z=0.100, P<.05). In conclusion, the results of the current meta-analysis suggest that greater R/S is associated with better patient-reported physical health. These results underscore the importance of attending to patients' religious and spiritual needs as part of comprehensive cancer care.]

Salsman, J. M., Pustejovsky, J. E., Jim, H. S., Munoz, A. R., Merluzzi, T. V., George, L., Park, C. L., Danhauer, S. C., Sherman, A. C., Snyder, M. A. and Fitchett, G. "A meta-analytic approach to examining the correlation between religion/spirituality and mental health in cancer." Cancer 121, no. 21 (November 1, 2015): 3769-3778. [(Abstract:) Religion and spirituality (R/S) are patient-centered factors and often are resources for managing the emotional sequelae of the cancer experience. Studies investigating the correlation between R/S (eg, beliefs, experiences, coping) and mental health (eg, depression, anxiety, well being) in cancer have used very heterogeneous measures and have produced correspondingly inconsistent results. A meaningful synthesis of these findings has been lacking; thus, the objective of this review was to conduct a meta-analysis of the research on R/S and mental health. Four electronic databases were systematically reviewed, and 2073 abstracts met initial selection criteria. Reviewer pairs applied standardized coding schemes to extract indices of the correlation between R/S and mental health. In total, 617 effect sizes from 148 eligible studies were synthesized using meta-analytic generalized estimating equations, and subgroup analyses were performed to examine moderators of effects. The estimated mean correlation (Fisher z) was 0.19 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.16-0.23), which varied as a function of R/S dimensions: affective R/S (z=0.38; 95% CI, 0.33-0.43), behavioral R/S (z=0.03; 95% CI, -0.02-0.08), cognitive R/S (z=0.10; 95% CI, 0.06-0.14), and 'other' R/S (z=0.08; 95% CI, 0.03-0.13). Aggregate, study-level demographic and clinical factors were not predictive of the relation between R/S and mental health. There was little indication of publication or reporting biases. The correlation between R/S and mental health generally was positive. The strength of that correlation was modest and varied as a function of the R/S dimensions and mental health domains assessed. The identification of optimal R/S measures and more sophisticated methodological approaches are needed to advance research.]

Sherman, A. C., Merluzzi, T. V., Pustejovsky, J. E., Park, C. L., George, L., Fitchett, G., Jim, H. S., Munoz, A. R., Danhauer, S. C., Snyder, M. A. and Salsman, J. M. "A meta-analytic review of religious or spiritual involvement and social health among cancer patients." Cancer 121, no. 21 (November 1, 2015): 3779-3788. [(Abstract:) Religion and spirituality (R/S) play an important role in the daily lives of many cancer patients. There has been great interest in determining whether R/S factors are related to clinically relevant health outcomes. In this meta-analytic review, the authors examined associations between dimensions of R/S and social health (eg, social roles and relationships). A systematic search of the PubMed, PsycINFO, Cochrane Library, and Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature databases was conducted, and data were extracted by 4 pairs of investigators. Bivariate associations between specific R/S dimensions and social health outcomes were examined in a meta-analysis using a generalized estimating equation approach. In total, 78 independent samples encompassing 14,277 patients were included in the meta-analysis. Social health was significantly associated with overall R/S (Fisher z effect size=.20; P<.001) and with each of the R/S dimensions (affective R/S effect size=0.31 [P<.001]; cognitive R/S effect size=.10 [P<.01]; behavioral R/S effect size=.08 [P<.05]; and 'other' R/S effect size=.13 [P<.001]). Within these dimensions, specific variables tied to social health included spiritual well being, spiritual struggle, images of God, R/S beliefs, and composite R/S measures (all P values<.05). None of the demographic or clinical moderating variables examined were significant. Results suggest that several R/S dimensions are modestly associated with patients' capacity to maintain satisfying social roles and relationships in the context of cancer. Further research is needed to examine the temporal nature of these associations and the mechanisms that underlie them.]

Park, C. L., Sherman, A. C., Jim, H. S. and Salsman, J. M. "Religion/spirituality and health in the context of cancer: Cross-domain integration, unresolved issues, and future directions." Cancer 121, no. 21 (November 1, 2015): 3789-3794. [(Abstract:) This article summarizes the findings of 3 previous meta-analytic reviews presented in this issue that evaluate associations between religiousness/spirituality (R/S) and patient-reported outcomes across mental, physical, and social health domains. The results are synthesized, caveats in interpreting this set of analyses are discussed, directions are provided for future research, and tentative suggestions are made for clinical applications.]


4.     CPE Students' "Lean" Projects at the VA New York Harbor Healthcare System

The year-long CPE program at the Veterans Administration's New York Harbor Healthcare System, requires Residents and Fellows to complete a quality improvement project. As part of this, in January 2015, students attended a two-day workshop sponsored by the hospital on the Lean process (a quality improvement methodology with roots in the Toyota Production System that focuses on increasing what is valued by the customer and eliminating waste through system-wide effort) and were each assigned a Lean Coach for ongoing assistance with their projects. In August 2015, five students presented their final Lean projects to the hospital's administration, alongside other clinician presentations. From Supervisor Martin Montonye's perspective:

Overall, it was a learning experience for everyone involved. The students learned how to use the Lean process, and administration learned more about value added by Chaplains. In addition, one of the projects resulted in the Borough of Brooklyn requesting that the VA Chaplains teach local clergy regarding the spiritual needs of Veterans and families in their congregations.
Two of the project presentations are offered here (including the one – by Stanley E. De Veaux -- that caught the attention of Brooklyn leaders), along with some reflections by the students, as examples of how research and quality improvement are incorporated into this ACPE center's curriculum.

"Create a Veteran Centered Model of Spiritual Care" [PDF of PowerPoint]

Reflection by CPE Fellow Edward Colf

For this Lean project, I took a Project Management look at creating a Veteran Centered Model of Spiritual Care. Because group process has been important to me this year, I choose to look at improving the experience of a Substance Abuse Spirituality Group. Comments of individual Veterans, collected data, as well as models for group process, and the topics of motivational interviewing, moral injury, and mindful self-compassion all became important in its shaping. 

The goals of this project were to create a Veteran centered model of Group Spiritual Care by collecting data each week that reflected the Veteran's voice, use that data to make changes in the group process to better meet the needs of the Veterans, and talk about methods and tools that may be effective. I adapted a Purchase Intent scale used in marketing to measure usefulness of group content. And, I choose to have the veterans take William Nash's Moral Injury Event Scale in addition to the usefulness survey. 

Each week I would create a list of topics based on the previous week's surveys. This topic list usually became the group's agenda for the following week. Responses to the usefulness survey drove the changes that I made in the group process, content, and style. 

Significant changes that occurred during the six week project included a second announcement by the ward clerk inviting participants to the group, accounting for a second wave of attendees, a guided meditation to begin each group, additional active engagement on the part of the Chaplain facilitator, and a more detailed appreciation of Veteran preference for this population. 

The Lean process brought several ideas to my project and offers many useful and ready to use tools. While this was not a traditional Lean project, the process of working with a LEAN coach was often creative and at times stretching, as new ideas are not easily incorporated into Lean methodologies. The training was valuable and the relationship with a lean coach was meaningful. I would highly recommend Lean projects for chaplaincy students and staff. 

"Implementing a Half-Day Training Conference at the Saint Albans Campus of VA NYHHS for Members of the Faith-Based Community" [PDF of PowerPoint]

Reflection by CPE Resident Stanley E. De Veaux:

My residency in the CPE Program at the VA New York Harbor Healthcare System (from 9/8/14 to 9/4/15) was a tremendous privilege and learning experience. I was assigned to the Saint Albans Community Living Center in Queens, New York for my clinical work. As a resident in the New York VA program, I was required to develop a Ministry Specialty Project based on LEAN methodology and chose to implement and facilitate an Educational Training Conference regarding Veterans' Needs and Services for Queens County clergy and Places of Worship, which was held on July 9, 2015 (in the Chapel at the Saint Albans Community Living Center).

     I participated in Lean Training to learn methods of Project Management and was assigned a Lean Coach, Dr. Alan Wikler, who provided outstanding guidance and support. His input was invaluable in assisting me to prepare, develop, and organize each step of the project's components. My Lean Training enabled me to utilize the 5 phases of Project Management (i.e, Initiate, Plan, Execute, Monitor/Control, and Close). I also received very helpful advice and feedback from Dr. Andrew Sioleti, Chief of Chaplains, and Dr. Martin Montonye, CPE Supervisor.

As I proceeded to implement this project, I applied the concepts of "Lean Thinking" to ensure that the Educational Training Conference would focus on "needs of the customer" (i.e., providing information to members of the faith-based community regarding Veterans’ needs/services available within VA facilities and how to refer Veterans and their families to these services). By utilizing the Lean Project Management approach, I was able to define, plan, and organize various tasks in each component of the project’s development. I used a Gantt Chart to outline the numerous tasks to be done and a timeline to complete tasks on schedule. Among the lessons I learned:

  1. The need to give ample time, in advance, to accomplish various steps in planning
  2. How to be resourceful by effectively utilizing services and resources within the VA NY Harbor Healthcare System (as well as resources within the broader community); for example, I reached out to the Queens Federation of Churches to secure contact information on churches, synagogues, mosques, and other Places of Worship in Queens County
  3. The necessity to follow established protocol in conducting this type of conference and ways to obtain required approvals/requests to implement the event
  4. The importance of frequent, ongoing communication with individuals involved in the project to share ideas and information (e.g., via telephone conferences, emails, and face-to-face meetings) during each phase of planning
It was essential to solicit the "voice of the customer." I wanted to determine how valuable this type of conference would be from the Veterans' perspective, and I learned that some Veterans would appreciate assistance from the faith-based community but that they believe "Places of Worship" need more information on how to be helpful.  Some of the Veterans I interviewed gave the following comments:
  • "Not all Veterans want to be put on display."
  • "Some Veterans would just like to blend in with the congregation."
  • "Be prepared to provide information on jobs or housing for Vets."
  • Some Viet Nam Veterans have not gotten over how they were treated upon returning home in the late 1960’s and 70’s. 
On the day of the Educational Training Conference, there were over 60 attendees (with 45 individuals from Places of Worship in Queens County).  The conference activities included presentations on Veterans' Challenges/Needs; PTSD; Moral Injury; Spiritual Ways to Welcome Veterans Home; a Personal Story and Role-play by Veterans; and Vet Centers and other Resources/Services available within the VA New York Harbor Healthcare System. Each attendee was given a folder containing resources and information on VA programs and services. A complete hot breakfast and lunch were served.

Both pre-and post-conference surveys were circulated to each attendee as well as a conference evaluation form. Post-event feedback was very positive, including some of the following comments from attendees:

  • "The program was great"
  • "More frequent conferences including other boroughs"
  • "More information about Clinical Pastoral Education"
This Conference was very successful and generated great interest in having a similar conference in Brooklyn (which will be hosted by the Brooklyn Borough President's Office, in partnership with Department of Veterans Affairs and the Brooklyn Community Recovery Center on November 18, 2015).


5.     Free Online Modules on Research and Statistics from the University of Minnesota's Center for Spirituality and Healing

The Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota ( was founded in 1995 with the goal of "improving patient care through the integration of spirituality, cross-cultural and complementary healing practice" [--from the website], and has long incorporated a strong research component. One resource they offer is free online learning through modules for Foundations of Evidence Informed Practice, including a handful of modules on Understanding Research and Statistics that may be quite useful to chaplains looking to gain a foothold in this very important subject or just a refresher. The modules take 20-35 minutes and cover:

  • Validity and Study Quality
  • Introduction to Statistics
  • Describing Results
  • P-Value and Power
A module on Confidence Intervals is forthcoming.


6.     Spiritual Care Initiative for Professional Excellence Completes Its Mission

From 2006-2012, our Network site provided access to an evolving "Knowledge Base of Spiritual Care Samples," which was the product of the Spiritual Care Initiative for Professional Excellence (SCIPE) --originally known as the Ideal Intervention Project (IIP). That material subsequently became The Pastoral Caregiver's Casebook series: four volumes edited by ACPE Supervisor (retired) John J. Gleason, DMin; and with the publication of the third and fourth volumes this fall by Judson Press, SCIPE has completed a nine-year mission. The volumes are:

  1. Ministry in Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, and Ultimate Relationships
  2. Ministry in Physical and Psycho-Spiritual Crises
  3. Ministry in Behavioral and Physical Health
  4. Ministry in Specialized Settings (Corrections, Clinical Education, Single Visits, Miscellaneous Ministry)
This material was inductively developed, grounded in actual encounters by practitioners, educators, and CPE students in programs across the country, and as Dr. Gleason notes in his final SCIPE e-News, constitutes the "first-ever professional spiritual care knowledge base" of its kind. Moreover, he notes that one of its various uses may be "to do research toward professionally determined evidence based best practices, including replication studies, thereby contributing to [economic] bottom lines."

Our Network's involvement with SCIPE is an example of our own mission to support and nurture research-related efforts by ACPE members.


7.     APC Continuing Education Requirements and Standards for Research

For 2015, the Association for Professional Chaplains requires for the first time that a minimum of five hours of annual continuing education be devoted to research-based continuing education activities, and a sew section for documenting this has been added to the Annual Summary of Continuing Education form. As noted in the September 2015 APC Forum News (vol. 17, no. 6):

The Research CE requirement is a reflection of APC's strategic plan. One of the strategic goals is to transform the profession by creating research-literate chaplains who practice research-informed and, ultimately, evidence-based chaplaincy care for the benefit of those receiving care in various clinical settings.
The requirement may be met by such activities as "reading research articles/papers…, attending research-based continuing education events…, writing an article/paper based on quantitative or qualitative research…, and Conducting qualitative or quantitative chaplaincy-related research..." but cannot include "time spent being interviewed/studied as part of someone else's research" [Continuing Education Program Guidelines].

The APC has since 2009 included as one of the Standards of Practice for Professional Chaplains in Acute Care Settings, Standard 12: "The chaplain practices evidence-based care including ongoing evaluation of new practices and, when appropriate, contributes to or conducts research." This is presently elaborated in the Acute Care Standards by the following:

INTERPRETATION: Chaplaincy care has for many years been provided based on the concept of “presence” and non-directive active listening and on the chaplain’s sense that her/his offerings are effective (sometimes based on direct feedback from families, patients or staff). However, other health care disciplines, over the past ten years, reviewed their practices and have begun to base their practices on research evidence. Increasingly, chaplains have been asked to demonstrate that they, too, practice out of a research base, and explicitly make a contribution to health care. Chaplaincy care is amenable to research in many ways; its practitioners should be sufficiently familiar with existing evidence to present it to their health care colleagues from other disciplines, read and reflect on new research’s potential to change their practice and be willing and able to integrate that which is better for patients, families, and/or staff. In some cases, where the chaplain has sufficient skills and support, this will also mean participating in or creating research efforts to improve chaplaincy care.

MEASUREMENT CRITERIA: Demonstrates familiarity with published research findings that inform clinical practice through reading professional journals and other materials. Critically evaluates new research for its potential to improve clinical practice and integrates new knowledge into clinical practice. Contributes through collaboration with other researchers of various disciplines, or if appropriate, initiates research projects intended to improve clinical practice and publishes the findings.

- Basic: Reads and discusses research articles in professional journals, e.g., The Journal of Pastoral Care & Counseling; Mental Health, Religion & Culture; New England Journal of Medicine, and considers implications for practice. Uses published research to educate administrators or other health care professionals on the role, value, or impact of chaplaincy.

- intermediate: Creates and executes research and disseminates the findings to the wider community. Serves on organization’s Institutional Review Board (IRB). Collaborates with researchers in other disciplines (or with other chaplains) in research projects designed for publication in peer-reviewed journals.

- Advanced: Functions as either Principle or Co-Investigator in one or more peer-reviewed research studies that are published in peer-reviewed journals or presented as an abstract/paper at conferences. Serves on an editorial board as peer-reviewer for a professional journal.
These points are similarly made in subsequently adopted Standards for Long-Term Care and for Hospice and Palliative Care.


8.     2016 Medicine and Religion Conference

Registration is now open for the fourth annual Medicine and Religion Conference, to be held March 4-6, 2016 in Houston TX, exploring the theme: "Approaching the Sacred: Science, Health and Practices of Care." The conference series "exists to enable health professionals and scholars to gain a deeper and more practical understanding of how religion relates to the practice of medicine, with particular attention to the traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam"; and it is "intended in a spirit that builds bridges between theory and practice, science and theology, the academy and lay communities, the various health professions, and the Abrahamic religious traditions" [--from the conference website]. This year's event will be sponsored in part by the Institute for Spirituality and Health at the Texas Medical Center ( and includes a pre-conference tour by of chapels in the Texas Medical Center -- the world's largest medical complex, including 21 hospitals -- by Wendy Cadge, Professor of Sociology at Brandeis University. Full details of the conference are available at


9.     5th European Conference on Religion, Spirituality and Health

The European Conference on Religion, Spirituality and Health ( has been a biannual event with a strong research emphasis since 2008, and in 2016 it will be held at the University of Gdansk, Poland, over May 12th-14th, with a special pre-conference research workshop offered May 8th-11th by Harold Koenig. The theme will be, "Religion and Spirituality in Health Care: Risk or Benefit for the Patient?" Details of the program are forthcoming from the website (though be mindful that the English language on the site can sometimes be fractured).

This conference is sponsored by the Research Institute for Spirituality ( in Langenthal, Switzerland, which produces newsletters for the European Network of Research on Religion, Spirituality and Health.


10.   Review of ICD-10-AM Pastoral Intervention Codings

Since 2004, Lindsay B. Carey and colleagues have published articles involving "Pastoral Intervention Codings" from the ICD-10-AM: the 10th revision (2002) of the Australian Modification of the World Health Organization’s International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems. Carey, long a leader in pastoral care research in Australia, has championed these codings for their value to empirical study as well as to chaplaincy documentation. Now, he has co-authored a review of the utility of these codings, looking back at 17 previous publications plus one conference presentation, and offering recommendations for improvement and future use:

Carey, L. B. and Cohen, J. "The Utility of the WHO ICD-10-AM Pastoral Intervention Codings Within Religious, Pastoral and Spiritual Care Research." Journal of Religion and Health 54, no. 5 (October 2015): 1772-1787. [(Abstract:) The World Health Organization (WHO) 'Pastoral Intervention Codings' were first released in 2002 as part of the 'International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems' (WHO 2002). The purpose of the WHO pastoral intervention codings (colloquially abbreviated as 'WHO-PICs') was to record and account for the religious, pastoral and/or spiritual interventions of chaplains and volunteers providing care to patients and other clients experiencing religious and/or spiritual health and well-being issues. The intent of such WHO codings was to provide information in five areas: statistical, research, clinical, education and policy. The purpose of this paper predominantly accounts for research although it does intersect and relate to other WHO priorities. Over the past 10 years, research by the current and associated authors to test the efficacy of the WHO-PICs has been implemented in a number of different health and welfare contexts that have engaged chaplaincy personnel. In summary, while the WHO-PICs are yet to be more widely utilized internationally, the codings have largely proven to be valuable indices appropriate to a variety of contexts. Research utilizing the WHO-PICs, however, has also revealed the necessity for a number of changes and inclusions to be implemented. Recommendations concerning the future utilisation of the WHO-PICs are made, as are recommendations for these codings to be further developed and promoted by the WHO, so as to more accurately record religious, pastoral and spiritual interventions.]
Chaplains interested in this tropic will find the bibliography especially useful. A summary of the codings appears in the article [--see table 2, p. 1776] but may also be found on the web as an appendix of Australian Health and Welfare Chaplains Association materials from the Australian Government Department of Health.

One additional value of the present article is that it helps clarify the background to the codings, which has been the source of some confusion over the years regarding their relationship to the World Health Organization and how to cite them (--a concern addressed in our January 2007 Article-of-the-Month).


11.   New Pew Survey on Perceived Conflict between Religion and Science

The Pew Research Center's section on Religion and Public Life ( regularly publishes surveys of the American public that illuminate the broad context in which spirituality research is conducted. In a report issued October 22, 2015, "Religion and Science," data are presented from telephone interviews with a national sample of 2,002 adults, August 15-25, 2014, regarding perceptions of the relationship between science and religion and the views of religious groups across a range of science-related topics. Among the findings (from the printed report available freely as a PDF):

  • A majority of the public says science and religion often conflict, with nearly six-in-ten adults (59%) expressing this view…, up modestly from 55% in 2009…. [p. 4]

  • People’s sense that there generally is a conflict between religion and science seems to have less to do with their own religious beliefs than it does with their perceptions of other people’s beliefs. Less than one-third of Americans polled in the new survey (30%) say their personal religious beliefs conflict with science, while fully two-thirds (68%) say there is no conflict between their own beliefs and science. [p. 4]

  • [T]he view that science and religion are often in conflict is particularly common among Americans who are, themselves, not very religiously observant (as measured by frequency of attendance at worship services). Some 73% of adults who seldom or never attend religious services say science and religion are often in conflict. By contrast, among more religiously observant Americans – those who report that they attend religious services on a weekly basis – exactly half (50%) share the view that science and religion frequently conflict. [p. 4] …Respondents who have no religious affiliation are the most likely to think that science and religion, in general, are often in conflict, with 76% expressing this view. [p. 5]

  • The share of all adults who perceive a conflict between science and their own religious beliefs has declined somewhat in recent years, from 36% in 2009 to 30% in 2014. Among those who are affiliated with a religion, the share of people who say there is a conflict between science and their personal religious beliefs dropped from 41% to 34% during this period. [p. 5]



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