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Fall 2016 Newsletter

Volume 15, Number 1
Published November 6, 2016

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.   Journal Call for Papers: Chaplains' Case Studies
  2.   Report from Krister White, Parkland Health and Hospital System, Dallas, TX
  3.   Report from Pamela Lazor, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA
  4.   Report from René Brandt, Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, Park Ridge, IL
  5.   Report from Stacy Kenney, Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, Cleveland, OH

  6.   APC Surveys Chaplains with the ProQOL Measure
  7.   2017 Conference on Medicine and Religion --Registration Now Open
  8.   2017 Muslim Mental Health Conference at MSU
  9.   Special Journal Issue on Measures of Spirituality/Religiosity
  10. New Review of the Integration of Pastoral Care Providers into Psychiatric Inpatient Care
  11. Videos from Duke's Center for Spirituality, Theology, and Health


1.   Journal Call for Papers: Chaplains' Case Studies

The journal Health & Social Care Chaplaincy will publish a special issue in 2017, focusing on case studies. Proposals for papers, consisting of a brief outline of a case study (around 800 words) together with a brief CV/resume, may be submitted on or before January 31, 2017, directly to the guest editors: George Fitchett ( and Steve Nolan ( Upon review, of the outlines, the editors will notify potential contributors if a full case study is to be invited. Click HERE for a flyer giving more details of this call, plus a short bibliography of useful articles about case studies.

[George Fitchett and Steve Nolan edited last year's very notable book, Spiritual Care in Practice: Case Studies in Healthcare Chaplaincy (London/Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2015), with a forward by Christina Puchalski and afterward by John Swinton.]




As part of the Transforming Chaplaincy project, a sample of curriculum grant recipients presented to ACPE regional meetings: Southwest, North Central, East Central, and Pacific. See the project website for a full listing of the first cohort of grant recipients. Applications for the second round of awards are being accepted until January 27, 2017.

2.   Report from Krister White, Parkland Health and Hospital System, Dallas, TX

Our Transforming Chaplaincy grant application involves four large Dallas-area hospital systems partnering with one another to educate as many as 40 people to the importance of research literacy in chaplaincy, including residents, supervisory education students, and ACPE supervisors. Participants from Baylor Scott & White Health, Children's Health, Methodist Health System, and Parkland Health & Hospital System will meet weekly for 90 minutes during the winter unit with Dr. Larry LeFlore, the recently retired Dean of Texas Woman's University's Graduate School, who also serves on the Professional Advisory Group for Parkland's CPE program. Dr. LeFlore, a marriage and family therapist, has taught research methodology and statistics for over twenty years and has been enthusiastic about working with chaplain residents to help provide better spiritual care through greater understanding of research in the field. Our approach will include readings, lectures, and small group presentations of research articles located by those participating in the seminar. We will also provide objective pretests and posttests to measure student learning in addition to offering more subjective elements to existing seminars, including verbatim reports, case studies, and journal clubs, so that the learning is integrated throughout the remainder of the residency year.

Dr. LeFlore and I were invited to talk about our grant application at the Southwest Region's annual meeting on October 14th, and I think I can speak for both of us when I say that the level of interest in the Transforming Chaplaincy Grant was significant. Both of our two sessions were full, and the attendees had great questions about how this emphasis on outcome-based chaplaincy might influence curriculum development in the future. Our primary intent was to "de-myth" the idea that this grant required one to be especially familiar with research in order to apply. I helped to spearhead our application primarily because I'm less familiar with the research being produced and wanted to force myself and our CPE program to be more accountable to the shifting emphasis within chaplaincy to become more outcome oriented. When the meeting attendees understood that the purpose of this grant is simply to help people become better consumers of research in our field, rather than focusing on producing research (which is often not feasible for residency programs), a number of people expressed greater confidence and indicated they were more likely to apply for the second year of grants that are available. Listening to Dr. LeFlore talk about how he envisions this seminar was exciting to me and to those in attendance in our breakout sessions. It feels like we are taking a necessary step -- though not without some understandable hesitation -- toward creating a more professional discipline. I'm thankful to George Fitchett, Wendy Cadge, Kathy Lyndes, and others with Transforming Chaplaincy for the opportunity to participate in this significant work and look forward to giving the Research Network an update at the conclusion of our cohort's two-year experiment.

Click HERE for the presentation slides from the Southwest Region meeting (1 MB, compatible with Acrobat Reader 5 and later).


3.   Report from Pamela Lazor, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA

We at Cedars-Sinai applied for the Transforming Chaplaincy/John Templeton Foundation curriculum grant because we believe that our practice as chaplains/spiritual care professionals should be research-informed and evidence-based in order to provide those we serve with the best possible care. We also believe that in the very near future, those seeking board certification as chaplains will be required to demonstrate research literacy and evidence-based care in their professional practice.

The Cedars-Sinai CPE program is very new: we became an ACPE accredited center in 2015. Our research curriculum relies on faculty members from throughout the medical center, which has enhanced support, connections, understanding, and dialogue with our multi-disciplinary colleagues. As we do not offer a CPE residency program, this curriculum is aimed at Level II CPE interns, many of whom are interested in pursuing board certification and chaplaincy as a career. We also invite graduates of our CPE program and Cedars-Sinai staff chaplains to participate in the curriculum. We seek to educate those who complete two units of Level II CPE at Cedars-Sinai about research and its importance for their professional growth. Our goal is that students will be able to read, understand, find, and use research that is relevant to their practice as chaplains and spiritual care professionals. The curriculum includes assigned research articles, didactic seminars from medical center faculty, online modules on evidence-based practice, and student presentations summarizing and analyzing journal articles.

We plan on using our grant funding to provide the starting money for a Spirituality and Healthcare Research Conference hosted by Cedars-Sinai. This one-day conference will invite CPE students and chaplains from the greater Los Angeles area to learn more about spirituality-related research. The aim here is to provide awareness of new and national research relevant to chaplains, so that they can integrate it into their own practices and settings. We want to provide a resource that is local, affordable, and focused specifically on the learning of healthcare chaplains and CPE students and the application of relevant research to their clinical practice. This will also be an opportunity for Los Angeles-based CPE programs and their students to network with one another, share ideas, and potentially begin research projects together.

We made a presentation at the Pacific Region conference on September 27, 2016 to discuss our grant application process and the adaptations we have had to make since implementing the curriculum; and we also saw this as a way to encourage other centers to apply for the next round of grants and/or begin to build basic research literacy into their CPE curricula. Our presentation was well attended and well-received. We were delighted to see that many other centers are interested in integrating research literacy into their programs. There was also interest in the Research Conference that we are planning, and we are now exploring ways to make this conference available to other CPE centers throughout the Region, perhaps as a webinar in addition to being a live event for Los Angeles-area participants.

Click HERE for the presentation slides from the Pacific Region meeting (1 MB).


4.   Report from René Brandt, Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, Park Ridge, IL

Advocate Health Care is a 12-hospital system located in northern Illinois, and our ACPE center is accredited as a system with ten constituent sites. Eleven hospitals host CPE students, and seven hospitals have CPE Residency programs. The Advocate CPE Committee decided last fall to apply for the curriculum development grant from Transforming Chaplaincy. With that grant, we are excited that 30 Advocate CPE Residents each year will be trained to practice research-informed pastoral care.

The curriculum we developed is distributed over a year, with one or two components offered each month. Given that the Residents are geographically spread out across northern Illinois, some components will happen within an in-person peer group while others occur via technology like telepresence. On two occasions the Residents will all gather together. The purpose of this design is to instill the habit of regularly seeking out and analyzing current research for relevancy in one's pastoral practice.

I am a Supervisor at one of the sites but am currently coordinating the project as a whole. Once it is developed and Advocate Supervisors feel equipped, the project will be transferred into permanent structures within Advocate, such as the CPE Committee. At the North Central Region meeting on October 10th, I spoke about writing the grant request, seeking collaboration, creating a budget and designing the curriculum. Janet MacLean, Director of CPE for Advocate Health Care, also added key insights about issues we face as a system with many Supervisors and varied theoretical approaches. Our slides [linked below] outline the process and the curriculum we developed. We continue to adapt our curriculum based on ideas from other centers and questions we receive from other Supervisors. The dialogue and the collaboration has been extremely rewarding and fulfilling.

Click HERE for the presentation slides from the North Central Region meeting (3 MB, compatible with Acrobat Reader 5 and later).


5.   Report from Stacy Kenney, Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, Cleveland, OH

It is an exciting time at Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center (LSCVAMC) in our Clinical Pastoral Education program. The research literacy curriculum we have developed with the Templeton/Transforming Chaplaincy grant is being intertwined with our regular curriculum over the course of the year, running from October 2016 to September 2017. Our four residents, two fellows, and staff will all be participating in this educational training.

I have always been interested in research but felt like I did not know enough to teach it. In applying for the grant, I knew I would need some help, so I reached out to our research department for guidance. From that initial call I have now gained colleagues who include two nurse researchers and a biostatistician. Adding these to the people I already knew -- our bioethicist, IRB director, and medical librarian -- I was well on my way to having a faculty for our program. LSCVAMC is affiliated with Case Western Reserve University, and many of our staff are also professors at CWRU. This made networking with CWRU faculty a logical next step. I was then able to add a PhD psychology professor to our faculty, as well as one of her students. They have been working on research and spirituality for many years from a psychological perspective.

A large portion of our grant money has been used to purchase textbooks, which can be utilized not only for our present students but for those in years to come, as we continue to teach research. Our curriculum includes monthly seminars, journal club, webinars, evaluations, and a project. The latter will incorporate the students' learning as they demonstrate such things as their ability to organize a literature review, develop research questions and hypotheses, and select an appropriate research methodology for a project. They should also be able to demonstrate through verbatims and case studies their capacity to integrate research findings into their clinical ministry.

If, as has often happened in the past, our first-year residents are interested in applying for the second-year fellowship positions, there is a good possibility that our two current fellows, who would have already been through the curriculum, could take research to another level in our Chaplain Department. I would like to see, within the next few years, chaplains at least being co-investigators, if not primary investigators, on research projects in the area of spirituality and religion. I believe this will boost credibility for the chaplain profession in the eyes of other disciplines by our moving towards a more evidenced-based practice that can demonstrate the value of the work that we already know we offer.



6.   APC Surveys Chaplains with the ProQOL Measure

Results from an anonymous, online survey of members of the Association of Professional Chaplains was shared at the organizationís 2016 annual conference (Lake Buena Vista, FL) regarding how chaplains feel about their work. Data were from 1,299 participants completing the Professional Quality of Life Survey (ProQOL), a 30-item measure of both Compassion Satisfaction and Compassion Fatigue. The core results, as reported in the September 2016 APC Forum News, were:

Three-quarters of the respondents reported low secondary traumatic stress from their work (74.7%) and low levels of burnout (74.0%). Almost all respondents reported high (61.8%) or average (37.8%) levels of compassion satisfaction. This suggests that that the overwhelming majority of BCCs [APC Board Certified Chaplains] have high compassion satisfaction and low levels of compassion fatigue, burnout, and secondary traumatic stress. Because respondents to this preliminary survey self-selected to participate, these results may be skewed by higher levels of engagement compared to non-respondents.
The authors, Ronald Oliver, Brian Hughes, and Geoffrey Weiss note that the findings go against their expectation of more widespread negative scores, but they conclude that "it is encouraging to learn that the overwhelming majority of BCCs appear to have found a way to pro-actively provide the same level of care for themselves as they do for those they serve, and consequently constructively cope with the intensity of their work environment" [ibid.].

The ProQOL survey may be downloaded freely from, including a self-scoring version which the APC researchers suggest may be useful to individual chaplains as a tool for assessing stress and building resiliency. The ProQOL website also offers resource links, bibliographies, and other information that may be of interest to chaplains and researchers. [Note: The site's Comprehensive Bibliography of Documents Specifically Using the ProQOL Measure lists a 2010 dissertation (DMin) from Lancaster Theological Seminary (Lancaster, PA), which recommends that chaplains complete the ProQOL and discuss results with a supervisor and/or other chaplains as strategy for resilience. --See: Kruger, T. E., "Keys to Resilient Practice in Contemporary Chaplaincy" (with that recommendation on pp. 57-58 of the dissertation)].


7.   2017 Conference on Medicine and Religion --Registration Now Open

The 6th Conference on Medicine and Religion will be held March 24-26, 2017 in Houston, TX, on the theme of Re-Enchanting Medicine. That title plays upon the idea in Max Weber's lecture of a century ago, "Science as Vocation," in which he spoke of the "disenchantment" of modern culture.

The...Conference...considers Weber's analysis with respect to contemporary health care, and asks what it would look like to re-enchant medicine today? ...Does Weber's analysis clarify why so many health care practitioners feel like cogs in a machine? How can practitioners, patients and religious communities break through the intellectualization, rationalization, and disenchantment in an era of evidence-based medicine, quality metrics, and electronic medical records? [--from the website]
The annual event "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 conceived as a "forum...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 website]. Sponsors include groups and programs from the University of Chicago, Harvard University, Saint Louis University, Duke University, Ohio State University, and the Texas Medical Center.

For more information, visit


8.   2017 Muslim Mental Health Conference at MSU

The Michigan State University department of Psychiatry presents the 9th Annual Muslim Mental Health Conference, April 14-15, 2017 in East Lansing, MI. The theme this year will be Understanding Addiction among Muslim Populations, though general issues of Muslim mental health will also be addressed. The conference "brings together faith leaders, health care providers and researchers to examine topics related to mental health across the American Muslim community" [--flyer]. Poster sessions will be research-centered. Keynote speakers have not yet been announced. For more information, visit the conference website.


9.   Special Journal Issue on Measures of Spirituality/Religiosity

The open-access journal Religions has published a special collection of articles on Measures of Spirituality/Religiosity -- Description of Concepts and Validation of Instruments. The articles take a rather specific and advanced look at measures, but for chaplain researchers interested in methodology, a quick read of at least the various opening paragraphs will give a picture of the sorts of psychometric issues receiving attention in the development of the field internationally. The article titles are:

  • "The Internal Consistency Reliability of the Katz-Francis Scale of Attitude toward Judaism among Australian Jews"
  • "The NERSH International Collaboration on Values, Spirituality and Religion in Medicine: Development of Questionnaire, Description of Data Pool, and Overview of Pool Publications"
  • "Childrenís Spiritual Lives: The Development of a Children's Spirituality Measure"
  • "Exploratory Psychometric Properties of the Farsi and English Versions of the Spiritual Needs Questionnaire (SpNQ)"
  • "Bifactor Models of Religious and Spiritual Struggles: Distinct from Religiousness and Distress"
  • "Selecting the Best Version of SHALOM to Assess Spiritual Well-Being"
  • "Validity and Reliability of a Revised Scale of Attitude towards Buddhism (TSAB-R)"
  • "Reliance on God's Help Scale as a Measure of Religious Trust--A Summary of Findings"
  • "Belief into Action Scale: A Comprehensive and Sensitive Measure of Religious Involvement"
  • "The Inventory of Complicated Spiritual Grief: Assessing Spiritual Crisis Following Loss"


10.  New Review of the Integration of Pastoral Care Providers into Psychiatric Inpatient Care

A new article in the Journal of Psychiatric Practice [vol. 22, no. 5, pp. 363-381], "Risks, benefits, and recommendations for pastoral care on inpatient psychiatric units: a systematic review," identified 18 evaluative studies (5 qualitative and 13 quantitative) as well as 31 non-evaluative reports in the healthcare literature. The authors, from Johns Hopkins and Duke -- Steven Pennybaker, Patrick Hemming, Durga Roy, Blair Anton, and Margaret S. Chisolm -- summarize their findings [Table 4, p. 378]:

Quantitative studies --
Psychiatric inpatients commonly have spiritual needs that are unmet, with PaC [Pastoral Care] providers underutilized by the psychiatric care team. This need has been identified even in nonreligious patients. Spirituality groups run by PaC providers, which often include sacred stories as a theme, have been reported to be beneficial, even by nonreligious patients.
Qualitative studies --
PaC providers are trained to address patients' spiritual needs and provide comfort and counseling, while addressing feelings of loss, abandonment, and guilt.
Nonevaluative reports (and opinions voiced in evaluative studies) --
Many PaC providers and physicians express the opinion that PaC providers work best in the psychiatric inpatient environment if they have some training in psychiatric illness, and are well integrated into the traditional care team. PaC providers can be utilized in educating a patientís outside religious leaders and family members about the patientís mental illness. Many authors expressed the opinion that this may give the patient a more supportive community upon discharge. PaC providers may provide a useful perspective about a patient and help in determining whether a specific belief or practice is pathologic.
Summary points --
Although PaC is almost unanimously reported to have positive outcomes in the literature, controlled outcomes studies are needed to verify this assumption. There is no evidence base to suggest that the generalized fears of having PaC providers interact with psychiatric inpatients are valid.
The article's abstract states, "The authors of this review recommend the cautious integration of PaC providers into the psychiatric inpatient care team" [p. 363, italics added], but the text never employs the term cautious in relation to the authors' recommendations and actually tends to emphasize benefits. Overall, this review is quite supportive of the integration of pastoral care providers into psychiatric inpatient teams, and chaplains should find it useful in reinforcing their place in psychiatric care as well as conveniently accomplishing the basic literature review to set up research that might connect pastoral care with improved patient outcomes.


11.  Videos from Duke's Center for Spirituality, Theology, and Health

The Center for Spirituality, Theology, and Health at Duke University has posted to their website five 45-minute videos on the integration of spirituality into patient care as part of "whole person" care:

  1. Spirituality in Patient Care: Introduction and Overview (for physicians)
  2. Spirituality in Patient Care: Research Justifying Integration (for physicians)
  3. Spirituality in Patient Care: Clinical Applications (for physicians)
  4. Spirituality in Patient Care: Spiritual Care Coordinator (for nurses, clinic or hospital managers)
  5. Spirituality in Patient Care: Spiritual Care Team (for entire team, including chaplains and social workers)
While the second of these videos focuses on research, the fifth video (which addresses the role of the chaplain) reiterates key research findings). The final video isn't so much aimed at chaplains as at other disciplines which may be part of the interdisciplinary team, but it might be especially engaging for CPE students. All are freely available, though there is a brief registration page. Transcripts are also provided. The review of research is rooted in the Handbook of Religion and Health, in print in two editions from the Oxford University Press: the 2001 edition is by Harold G. Koenig, Michael E. McCullough, and David B. Larson; and the 2012 edition is by Harold B. Koenig, Dana King, and Verna Benner Carson.



If you have suggestions about the form and/or content of the site, e-mail Chaplain John Ehman (Network Convener) at .
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