Spears Research Institute

The Maria and William G. Spears Research Institute is a national leader in designing and conducting innovative research that draws on theories and methods from the social, behavioral and medical sciences to understand and further explore relationships between spirituality and health.

Since its establishment in 1998, the Institute’s staff, working with chaplains as co-investigators, has published over 60 articles on different aspects of spirituality and health in peer-reviewed scientific journals in medicine, nursing, psychiatry, psychology, sociology, as well as pastoral care journals.

This research has been supported by generous contributions from several foundations including The John Templeton Foundation, the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation and The Starr Foundation.

Activities of The Spears Research Institute over the next five years will include:

  • Development of new theory to better understand how and why pastoral care improves the health of individuals and how and why it enhances patients’ satisfaction with the health care process;
  • Outcomes-based studies to demonstrate the efficacy of pastoral care;
  • Studies on best practices and protocols to inform the education and management of chaplains, as well as the actual practice of chaplaincy, and the way chaplains are perceived within healthcare institutions;
  • Contract Research Products – nationally market its proprietary data collection products and data assessment and analysis services as it further refines research protocols to measure the effectiveness of pastoral care.