• Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Login
    Login Login form

Caring for the Human Spirit

Two AttendeesHealthCare Chaplaincy Network's second annual Caring for the Human Spirit™ Conference April 20th -22nd at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando was a milestone event in advancing the integration of spiritual care in health care internationally.

The featured speakers said that spiritual care is at a critical juncture, noting that its significance as part of overall wellness is increasingly being recognized and the field is now poised to make major inroads toward fully integrating spiritual care into health care in the U.S. and globally.

Emphasizing this, Christina M. Puchalski, MD, FACP, Founder and Director of the George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health (GWish), said, "Spirituality should be considered one of the vital signs in the care and treatment of patients.”

Eric HallThe 400 in-person attendees and other health care professionals accessing recorded sessions were from the U.S., Canada, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Namibia, India, Australia, and Singapore. They represented multiple disciplines, including chaplains, physicians, nurse practitioners and researchers.

The consensus of the attendees was that the conference was a major step forward towards the goal of delivering effective whole-person care to more people in need. “I’ve been to many professional conferences, and this is the best one I’ve attended,” remarked one participant.” “This was such a great opportunity to hear from experts in the field and to engage one to one with professional colleagues,” said another attendee. One acknowledged, “I’ve learned things at the conference I wish I knew years ago.”

Father RickThe program featured one keynote address, five plenary sessions, sixteen workshops, three intensives presentations, a dozen poster presentations, and occasions for small group conversations.

Dr. Puchalski presented the keynote address “Improving the Spiritual Domain of Whole Person Care: Reaching National and International Consensus.” She described the global initiative for implementation of inter-professional spiritual care, discussed the educational and clinical initiatives in spirituality and health within the context of the global initiative recommendations, and reflected on ways that health care professionals could apply the call to the world to improve the quality of spiritual care in their setting.

Dr. Puchalski said that her recent experience with her father’s ultimately successful surgery has helped her understand the importance of patient- centered, whole person care.

The second plenary speaker was Betty Ferrell, RN, PhD, MA, FAAN, FPCN, CHPN, and Professor and Director of Nursing Research and Education at City of Hope in Duarte, California. Like the other speakers, Dr. Ferrell is a prominent advocate for the role of spiritual care within palliative care. In 2013 when announcing the new National Consensus Guidelines for Palliative Care as project co-chair, Dr. Ferrell stated emphatically, “If you’re not providing excellent spiritual care, you’re not providing palliative care.”

“Integration of Spirituality in Palliative Care Education and Research” was Dr. Ferrell’s plenary topic. She described national training programs to improve spiritual assessment and care by health care professionals, described research projects that have included spirituality as a component of interventions and outcomes, and identified opportunities for collaboration between spiritual care providers and clinical researchers to advance spiritual care and the evidence base for practice.

The third plenary speaker was Karen E. Steinhauser, MD, Health Scientist, the Center for Health Services Research in Primary Care, VA Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. Dr. Steinhauser made the case that given the principles of patient-centeredness and holism that that are central to palliative care, spiritual care is an integral component of the palliative care provision mandated in policy guidance internationally. Despite this, she said, spiritual needs are often neglected in clinical practice, and the body of evidence to inform spiritual care, although growing, remains limited.

Dr. Steinhauser provided an overview of existing evidence in the field of spiritual care in palliative care, highlighted gaps in current evidence and new and growing areas of research, and identified future strategies and a research agenda for spiritual care in palliative care.

Liliana De Lima, MHA, Executive Director of the International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care, presented recent developments in palliative care worldwide in her plenary session “Making Spiritual Care Part of Health Care Worldwide,” including the important Palliative Care Resolution unanimously adopted by the World Health Health Assembly in 2014. She discussed the major challenges and opportunities for the development of spiritual care globally and identified tools and resources for advocacy to engage with the civil society in the advancement of spiritual care. In concluding, Ms. De Lima quoted Mahatma Gandhi: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

Capturing“Finding Room For God?: A Practical Theology For Spiritual Care In Healthcare” was the title of the plenary presentation by the Rev. Dr. John Swinton, BD, PhD, RMN, RNMD, Professor in Practical Theology and Pastoral Care, University of Aberdeen, Scotland. The Rev. Dr. Swinton’s theme was that in a health care context that requires generalities, reflecting on the particularities of any given religious tradition is always difficult and sensitive, and yet, religion remains an important aspect of patient and staff experience. How then, he asked, are we to hold the tension between developing spiritually neutral services and respecting and valuing belief systems that demand particularity? He explored this tension with a view to opening up space for critical but constructive conversation around the role of religion in the understanding and delivery of spiritual care.

In his concluding remarks the Rev. Dr. Swinton said, “Chaplaincy opens up the soul of health care.”

The Rev. George Handzo, MA, BCC, CSSBB Director, Health Services, Research and Quality, HealthCare Chaplaincy Network delivered the fifth plenary entitled “The Professional Chaplain: Taking the Lead in Integrating Spiritual Care Through Clinical Practice, Education and Research.” He described how the role of the chaplain in health care has become much more central to the health care enterprise and at the same time much more complicated and multifaceted.

The Rev. Handzo presented a role for the multi-faith chaplain in the demanding world of spiritually integrated healthcare, made the case for professional chaplaincy in their own setting, and described how to more effectively integrate and deploy chaplaincy resources in their healthcare. In conclusion, he recommended a sense of urgency to reduce the distress of patients and family caregivers as well as nurses and physicians and others who are under stress of providing care.

The conference’s workshops included these topics:

  • Demonstrating the Value of Integrating Spiritual Care in Health Care Through Increased Patient Satisfaction
  • TeleChaplaincy: The Online Practice of Professional Chaplaincy
  • The Impact of Cognitively-Based Compassion Training on the Perceived Incidence of Workplace Incivility Among Neonatal Intensive Care Nurses
  • Chaplain Visits and Patient Satisfaction
  • The Distinctiveness of Pediatric Chaplaincy and Related Developmental and Training Implications for Spiritual Care
  • Increasing Spiritual Care Awareness in Oncology Nursing Staff to Provide Quality Holistic Patient Care
  • Spiritual Assessment and Intervention Model: Articulation, Evolution and Evidence
  • Spiritually Integrated Therapy: A Curriculum for Mental Health Providers
  • Educating Health Care Practitioners in Spiritual Care – A Tradecraft Workshop
  • Can Trusting God Be Bad for Health? A Look at the Research
  • Addressing Cumulative Grief as an Interdisciplinary Palliative Care Team
  • Implementation of a Mental Health Certification Program for Chaplains
  • The Role of the Chaplain in Medical Education: Fostering Inner Personal Growth as Part of Professional Formation of the Students


Intensives topics were:

  • Online Education for Spiritual Care – Opportunities and Challenges
  • Spiritual Care Research in the Palliative Care Setting – Issues and Possibilities
  • Integrating Spirituality Into Clinical Practice: Enough with the Lip Service, Let’s Talk the Talk


In addition to the keynote and plenary speakers, conference faculty came from a wide range of health care institutions and organizations including:

  • Mount Sinai Health System
  • University of Chicago
  • Duke University
  • University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
  • University of California San Francisco
  • Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
  • Birmingham Children’s Hospital, United Kingdom
  • Stanford University School of Medicine
  • Rush University
  • Emory Healthcare
  • Life’s Door-Tishkofet, Israel
  • United States Veterans Administration
  • Institute for Palliative Care at California State University San Marcos
  • Tampa General Hospital
  • Jewish Theological Seminary
  • Arnold Palmer Medical Center
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
  • Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

View photo album from the conference here.


The recognition of the importance and value of spiritual care continues to grow! The Today Show's "Do You Believe? series" all this week takes an in-depth look at faith and spirituality, examining the many ways that spirituality can be communicated and displayed and featuring real-life stories.

Here are links to stories so far:

Does prayer work? Is there an afterlife? TODAY's survey offers snapshot of faith, spirituality.

Who is God today? Why these religious leaders say modern faith is 'about love.

Keep the faith: 7 apps to help your spiritual life. 

Can prayer heal? These parents credit faith with son's 'miracle' recovery.

How to raise a spiritual child: 3 exercises to try with your family.

Through Friday you can find more features as they appear.

For all of us who are committed to advancing the integration of spiritual care in health care, this Today Show series is an affirmation that our work and support are so vital.




Join Us Virtually or In-Person

April 20 - 22, 2015

Orlando, Florida



Early Bird Rates End

Friday, March 20, 2015


Continuing Education Credit Approved
Conference activity has been approved for one credit hour per hour of education.
Professionals who complete this activity, submit attendance confirmation and complete a survey can claim:
  • 15 hours AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ (18 hours with Intensive)
  • 15 hours Continuing Nursing Education Credits (18 hours with Intensive)
  • 15 hours continuing education credits for Social Workers and Chaplains
    (18 hours with Intensive)

Rush University Medical Center is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. Rush University Medical Center designates this live activity for a maximum of 15 (18 Intensive) AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Rush University is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation. Rush University designates this live activity for 15 (18 Intensive) Continuing Education credit(s).

This activity is being presented without bias and with commercial support.

Rush University is an approved provider for physical therapy (216.000272), occupational therapy, respiratory therapy, social work (159.001203), nutrition, speech-audiology, and psychology by the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation. Rush University designates this live activity for 15 (18 Intensive) Continuing Education credits.

Featured Renowned Speakers
Liliana De Lima, MHA
Executive Director,
International Association for Hospice & Palliative Care,
Houston, TX
Betty Ferrell, PhD, RN, MA, FAAN, FPCN, CHPN
Director and Professor, Nursing Research and Education
City of Hope,
Duarte, CA
George Handzo, MA, BCC
Director, Health Services, Research and Quality,
HealthCare Chaplaincy Network, 
New York, NY
Christina Puchalski, MD,FACP, Founder and Director,
George Washington Institute for Spirituality & Health, (GWish), 
Washington, DC
Karen E. Steinhauser, PhD, Health Scientist,
The Center for Health Services Research in Primary Care, VA Medical Center,
Durham, NC
John Swinton, BD, PhD, RMN, RNMD, Professor in Practical Theology and Pastoral Care, School of Divinity, Religious Studies and Philosophy, University of Aberdeen, King's College, 
Aberdeen, Scotland
Call for Posters...
We are currently soliciting proposals for poster abstracts to showcase spiritual care in healthcare solutions. 

The deadline for submission is March 15. Please send submissions tosjamison@healthcarechaplaincy.org and include:
  • Title
  • Issue/Challenge
  • Action Taken
  • Outcomes/Data
  • Institution
  • Contact Information
Participants will have an opportunity to share their work during a poster reception onMonday, April 20. Conference registration is required.

We also have cost effective sponsorship packages available! Please contact mnicholas@healthcarechaplaincy.org or call 212.644.1111 x135 for this information.
Download the conference brochure for details.



The webcast of the April 20-22 Caring for the Human Spirit®  conference for physicians, nurses, chaplains, social workers, and other professionals features 50 expert speakers including:

  • Christina Puchalski, MD, FACP, Founder and Director, George Washington Institute for Spirituality & Health (GWish), Washington, DC
  • Betty Ferrell, PhD, RN, MA, FAAN, FPCN, CHPN, Director and Professor, Nursing Research and Education, City of Hope, Duarte, CA
  • Liliana De Lima, MHA,Executive Director, International Association for Hospice & Palliative Care, Houston, TX
  • John Swinton, BD, PhD, RMN, RNMD, Professor in Practical Theology and Pastoral Care, School of Divinity, Religious Studies and Philosophy, University of Aberdeen, King's College, Aberdeen, Scotland
  • Karen E. Steinhauser, PhD, Health Scientist, The Center for Health Services Research in Primary Care, VA Medical Center, Durham, NC
  • George Handzo, MA, BCC, Director, Health Services, Research and Quality, HealthCare Chaplaincy Network, New York, NY

The webcast includes live streaming of the keynote and plenary sessions with the opportunity to interact by asking questions from your computer. Plus get live audio and PowerPoint presentations of 4 workshops of your choice. Earn the same CMEs/CNEs/CEUs as in-person attendees, pending approval. After the conference, receive a recorded video of the keynote, plenary sessions, and the four selected workshops.

Learn more at http://healthcarechaplaincy.org/conference . Register at http://bit.ly/1BLtN3u



Invitation from the Rev. David Fleenor to Spirituality & Health Care Network Breakfast

Please be my guest at the Spirituality and Health Care Networking Breakfast hosted by the HealthCare Chaplaincy Network, through the generous support of the Foundation for Spirituality and Medicine.

WHEN: Wednesday, March 4th at 7:30 a.m.

WHERE: The Whittemore House, 1526 New Hampshire Ave., Washington, D.C., 20036

WHAT: An opportunity to engage in conversation with other health care professionals committed to the integration of spirituality in health care and to learn about innovations in the delivery of spiritual care.

Please RSVP to Michael Crumpler at MCrumpler@healthcarechaplaincy.org

I look forward to seeing you there!


The Rev. David Fleenor, BCC, ACPE Supervisor
Senior Director, Chaplaincy Services & Clinical Education
HealthCare Chaplaincy Network: Caring For The Human SpiritTM


T 212-644-1111 x231

F 212-758-9959

65 Broadway, 12th Floor | New York, NY 10006


Sign Petition


Dear Friends,

Professional health care chaplaincy and the value that it brings to Americans is not a topic on the radar screen of the members of the U.S. Congress.

Therefore, from conversations with ACPE’s Trace Haythorn, we’ve conceived of the idea of creating a petition that will be circulated to all members of Congress this spring. It makes the case that professional health care chaplains cost-effectively improve patient and family experience and satisfaction with their health care.

Being able to say that the professional health care chaplain organizations support this petition will add weight to making the case. So will the gathering of as many signatures as possible – from chaplains and anyone who supports our profession.

You will find the petition and signature page on our main website here: http://www.healthcarechaplaincy.org/sign-on-statement

I have two requests:

  1. Please let me know if we can give visibility to your organization on Capitol Hill by stating that your organization endorses this petition.
  2. Please sign it yourself and send the below information to your members, your professional and personal network, and everyone you know who supports the case that professional health to ask that they sign the petition. Thank you!

A number of professional health care chaplaincy organizations have initiated a drive to gain signatures for a petition that will be disseminated to all the members of the US Congress. It explains why and how professional health care chaplains cost-effectively improve patient and family experience and satisfaction with their health care.We urge you to sign the petition at http://www.healthcarechaplaincy.org/sign-on-statement and to share this with your professional network and everyone you know (do not need to be chaplains) who support the statement. The deadline for signatures is April 15th. Thank you.


The HealthCare Chaplaincy Network yesterday debuted Chaplain Care for Veterans and Chat with a Chaplain. Both are online and consultative (email, phone and video chat) resources which provide professional spiritual and emotional support to veterans and current service members, as well as their families and friends. They are additional extensions of HCCN’s mission of training chaplains and providing spiritual support for the seriously ill as well as their families. While they are similar to their Chaplains on Hand and Chat with a Chaplain civilian services, the veterans’ version is oriented to service-related issues. HCCN has also done groundbreaking work with the US Navy’s Chaplain Corps to brief chaplains and mental health clinicians on spiritual care for those with PTSD and TBI [TTA 2 Apr 14]. The launch was held appropriately on the USS Intrepid on Four Chaplains Day, commemorating the selfless sacrifice of four chaplains (Roman Catholic, Methodist, Dutch Reformed and Jewish) on the torpedoed USAT Dorchester on 3 February 1943 in the North Atlantic.

Previously: Patient engagement meets ‘palliative care’ with VOX Telehealth, Northwestern University and Princeton Medical Center.

Categories: Latest News.
Tags: Chat with a ChaplainFour Chaplains DayHealthCare Chaplaincy Networkpalliative care, and spiritual care.

- See more at: http://telecareaware.com/chaplain-care-for-veterans-launches-us/#more-23125


Resource Unveiled at Event Commemorating ‘Four Chaplains Day’

HealthCare Chaplaincy Network (HCCN) on February 3rd introduced ChaplainCareforVeterans.org, a national service that provides spiritual and emotional support to veterans, active service members, and their families, including the opportunity for one-on-one conversations with professional chaplains via phone, email and video call.

The nonprofit organization unveiled the service at its event commemorating “Four Chaplains Day” to honor four U.S. Army chaplains of differing faiths who gave up their lives to save others when the torpedoed U.S.A.T. Dorchester, with 902 soldiers aboard, sank on February 3, 1943.  The event, held appropriately at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City, also honored today’s chaplains as well as all men and women who have served or are currently serving our country in the military. 

Designed specifically for military and their families, HCCN’s ChaplainCareforVeterans.org features online information, resources, and supportive counseling to address painful feelings such as hopelessness, guilt, loneliness, anger and grief that can lead to spiritual distress. Central to this free and confidential service is Chat with a Chaplain, which allows individuals, regardless of religion or beliefs, to connect with a professionally-trained multi-faith chaplain 24/7 via the Internet, phone (844-CARE4VETS), or video call.

ChaplainCareforVeterans.org complements the support that military chaplains, Veterans Administration chaplains, and other organizations that serve veterans and the military community provide. 

“We want these heroic Americans to know we are here for them,” said Rev. Eric J. Hall, HCCN’s president and CEO. “There is increasing recognition that both public and private sectors must pitch in to meet the needs of veterans, current service members, and their families. At the same time, changes in our overall health care system underscore the need to adjust how we deliver care for the body, mind and soul—for both military and civilians alike.”

Research indicates that strong spiritual connections can significantly and positively impact the mental health of military and their families to cope with the impact of war. A 2011 Pew survey reports that 44 percent of post-9/11 veterans are having difficulty adjusting to civilian life. 

Other speakers at the “Four Chaplains Day” commemoration included Larry Hermann, a member of the Four Chaplains Foundation board of directors and a former major in the U.S. Marine Corps; Jamal Othman, Deputy Director, New York State division of Veterans’ Affairs; Aurelia Greene, Deputy Bronx Borough President; and Richard E. Powers, MD, a psychiatrist who served in the U.S. Army and has practiced in Veterans Administration hospitals for 30 years.

Mr. Hermann recounted the tragic events of that day in 1943 when the Dorchester went down in the icy, choppy waters. “There was panic on board.  Survivors tell us the only sense of organization came from the four chaplains helping others into lifeboats.  The chaplains consoled the wounded and then handed out life jackets.  And when the life jacket locker was empty, they gave their own to the remaining soldiers, knowing that was their only hope for survival.”

“The story of the four chaplains is a remarkable tribute to our humanity,” commented Ms. Greene.  “On that ill-fated day these four men of faith truly gave selflessly in order to help those in need both physically and spiritually.  I applaud those who have chosen to step up and serve our community daily as chaplains.”

Mr. Othman observed that more than four decades have passed since we lost the four chaplains, “however their spirit lives on with the great work done by chaplains past and present, and by the excellent work done by the HealthCare Chaplaincy Network. Therefore on behalf of Governor Cuomo I’m delighted to present the Governor’s Proclamation to Rev. Hall and the HealthCare Chaplaincy Network which declares February 3, 2105 as Four Chaplains Day in the Empire State. “Seven decades later,” the proclamation said, “we solemnly remember the four chaplains and their devotion to their fellow man and the cause of freedom, and we continue to be inspired by their story and example of brotherhood.”

“Addressing the spiritual needs of the veteran and the family are essential to helping these individuals resume their lives with the peace and comfort that existed prior to their wartime experience,” said Dr. Powers. “It takes a chaplain or other spiritual advisor to walk with that veteran as they resolve the spiritual conflicts that can be caused by the complex stressors of war.”

Please spread the word about HCCN's new ChaplainCareforVeterans.org. In addition to this page, you can share our one-page flyers in 4-color or black and white. 

This new resource is part of HCCN’s efforts to augment the practice of hospital-based chaplaincy, by offering technology-driven services that provide professional spiritual and emotional support to people in health care and residential settings.



Photos from the event:









Eric J. Hall Will Discuss Latest Research, US Progress in Field

 NEW YORK, NY (January 21, 2015)—As interest in the value of spiritual support as a component of overall health care gains momentum worldwide, Rev. Eric J. Hall, president and CEO of the New York-based HealthCare Chaplaincy Network (HCCN), will be the keynote speaker on January 27 at an international summit to advance spiritual care in Israel’s public health system.

The conference, “Hope and Resilience: Innovative and Interdisciplinary Spiritual Care,” is sponsored by the National Association of Jewish Chaplains in collaboration with UJA-Federation of New York, Tishkofet, JDC-Eshel, and the Israel Spiritual Care Network. It will be held January 27-28 at Hotel Yehuda in Jerusalem.

“Spiritual care can help people find comfort and meaning, especially during a health care crisis when words like loneliness and grief become part of their everyday vocabulary,” Hall said. “It is a key component of overall quality care and quality of life, not only for patients but also for their families.”

In his address, Hall will focus on the latest research in the field, including findings presented last spring at HCCN’s first international conference on spiritual care. The research addresses best practices and the body of evidence to inform spiritual care and its impact on health care, such as increased patient satisfaction.

Hall will also relate the state of spiritual care in the U.S., including progress toward incorporating spiritual care into health care systems, providing clinical pastoral education to chaplains and community clergy, and including professional health care chaplains as members of interdisciplinary teams. In the U.S., The Joint Commission, which accredits and certifies more than 20,500 health care organizations and programs nationwide, has standards related to spiritual care, including requiring hospitals to do a spiritual assessment on each patient and to provide care that addresses the spiritual needs for those who are near or at the end of their lives.

“While the U.S. may be a trailblazer in spiritual care, other countries are now picking up on this momentum. Building bridges between the well-established and the emerging systems bodes well for transforming efforts to define best practices and ultimately help people in spiritual distress,” Hall said.

A leader in spiritual care education and research in the U.S.,  HCCN offers spiritual care-related information and resources, and professional chaplaincy services in hospitals, other health care settings, and online. HCCN, founded in 1961, has provided clinical pastoral education related to the integration of spirituality and health care for more than 25 years in many of New York state’s leading hospitals, including Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and NYU Langone Medical Center.

About HealthCare Chaplaincy Network™
HealthCare Chaplaincy Network™ is a national health care nonprofit organization that offers professional chaplaincy services, and spiritual-related information and resources in hospitals, other health care settings, and online. Its mission is to advance the integration of spiritual care in health care through clinical practice, research and education, and to help people faced with illness, suffering and grief find comfort and meaning—whoever they are, whatever they believe, wherever they are. For more information, visit www.healthcarechaplaincy.org, call 212-644-1111, follow us on twitter (https://twitter.com/MeaningComfort) or connect with us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/healthcarechaplaincy).



You are cordially invited: On February 3rd, the nonprofit HealthCare Chaplaincy Network will mark the annual Four Chaplains Day with a ceremony in New York City to honor the men and women who serve our nation and chaplains and to introduce a new resource to support military veterans, those currently serving, and their loved ones in times of spiritual need. 

We invite you to this free and private event and ask that you share this with others that you think may wish to attend.

When: February 3, 2015 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Where: The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum: Allison & Howard Lutnick 

Theater, Pier 86 at West 46th Street and 12th Avenue, Manhattan

Registration is required, because seating is limited.  

Please register here.

Please bring a photo ID with you that day.

Registered guests may afterwards for no charge self-tour the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum except for the Space Shuttle Enterprise Pavilion, which requires separate admission.

Background: Congress unanimously declared February 3rd as Four Chaplains Day in 1988 to commemorate the four U.S. Army chaplains of differing faiths who gave their lives to save others when the U.S.A.T. Dorchester, with 920 soldiers on board, was torpedoed by a German U-boat and sank on February 3, 1943.

On Four Chaplains Day - a day that emphasizes true valor and selflessness, and the meaning of supporting one another, HealthCare Chaplaincy Network will debut ChaplainCareforVeterans.org, a unique spiritual care education and supportive service tailored specifically for veterans, active service members, and their families. It will feature online information and resources, and one-to-one counseling to address painful feelings such as guilt, loneliness, anger and grief that can lead to spiritual distress. Central to this free and confidential service is Chat with a Chaplain, which allows individuals to connect with a professional multi-faith chaplain 24/7 via phone, Internet or video chat, regardless of religion or beliefs.

Scheduled speakers at the event will include Loree Sutton, M.D., Brigadier General, U.S. Army (Ret.), Commissioner, New York City Mayor's Office of Veterans' Affairs; Jamal Othman, Deputy Director, New York State Division of Veterans' Affairs; and Aurelia Greene, Deputy Bronx Borough President; and Richard E. Powers, MD, Medical Director, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Clinic. Birmingham, Alabama Veterans Administration Medical Center, Lawrence M. Herrmann, Four Chaplains Memorial Foundation Board of Directors

For questions, please contact events@healthcarechaplaincy.org 

About HealthCare Chaplaincy Network™
HealthCare Chaplaincy Network™ is a national health care nonprofit organization that offers spiritual-related information and resources, and professional chaplaincy services in hospitals, other health care settings, and online. Its mission is to advance the integration of spiritual care in health care through clinical practice, research and education in order to help people faced with illness, suffering and grief find comfort and meaning-whoever they are, whatever they believe, wherever they are. For more information, visit www.healthcarechaplaincy.org


Grand Rounds on Spiritual Care: “Military to Civilian Transition: Seeing the Strengths and Addressing the Needs”

When: January 29, 2015 from 10:30 am to 12 noon

Where: By webcast OR in person at HealthCare Chaplaincy Network, 65 Broadway near Wall Street, Large Conference Room (left upon exiting elevator)

Who Should Attend: Chaplains, clergy, social workers, nurses and other healthcare professionals throughout the U.S. who serve military veterans, current service members & their families

Why This Topic is Important : Military veterans and current service members who struggle transitioning from a military setting to civilian life, and their families, need support, compassionate care, and help restoring themselves on multiple aspects of their lives—including spiritually – regardless of religion or beliefs. One accepted definition of spirituality is “A person’s pursuit to connect to something or someone beyond him- or herself as a means of making meaning or significance.” (Kimball, 2008), (McColl, et al. 2007), (Drescher, et al. 2007). One example of supporting evidence is “Influence of Spirituality on Depression, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, and Suicidality in Active Duty Military Personnel”  (2012) which indicates that strong spiritual connections can significantly and positively impact the mental health of military personnel and their families to cope with the impact of war.

Expert Speaker:
 Irina Komarovskaya, PhD, the Clinical Director  of The Steven and Alexandra Cohen Military Family Clinic at NYU Langone Medical Center, which seeks to fill the gap in mental health care for service members and their families in the NYC area who are affected by all phases of deployment and other life stressors. Dr Komarovskaya also is a clinical assistant professor in NYU Langone Medical Center’s Department of Psychiatry. She specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of traumatic stress, complex trauma, depression, anxiety, and relationship difficulties and provides training to the community.

Fee to Attend: $50 per computer terminal OR $35 in person

Continuing Education Hours: 1.5 hours if attendance meets the requirements of certifying organization

Register for webcast here or for in-person attendance here.






Mental Health Fundamentals in Spiritual Care
- What Everyone in Palliative Care Should Know

Fully Online 6-Week Course Offered by HealthCare Chaplaincy Network and the California State University Institute for Palliative Care

This course is for chaplains, community religious leaders, physicians, nurses and other professionals who work with or encounter populations with challenging mental health issues. It provides essential information about how to offer effective spiritual care to patients and their families, and helps build practitioner skill and confidence.

This course identifies and teaches:

* The relationship between spirituality and mental health

* Common mental health symptoms and the impact on spirituality

* Spiritual-care practices to improve patient quality of life and reduce suffering

Students who took the first class in August praised it highly:

"A must course for APC chaplains. So glad I took it!"

"Well worth the investment of time and money. I am very pleased with the course and its content. This course is recommendable!"

"As a CPE supervisor I have learned new approaches which I will integrate in my curriculum. I found the collegial discussions and work on case studies enjoyable and very helpful for my practice. The fact that several chaplains from our hospital took the course together helped us to learn more about each other and how we work. It was an encouragement to continue doing regular case study reflection together and build in that type of peer support and reflective practice."

"Excellent coursework and challenging case studies. Thank you for putting this together."

"Excellent course! It covered a helpful material in an organized and useful format."

Next class starts February 2nd. Seats are limited.

Cost: $799 + fees.

Get more information and to register here.  


by The Reverend Jill M. Bowden of HealthCare Chaplaincy Network, and Director of Chaplaincy Services at Mermorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in NYC

From “This is It,” by Alan Watts:

This is it

And I am it

And you are it

And so it that.

He is it

And she is it

And it is it

And that is that.

This IS it: this moment in time is all we have….and now this one…and now this one. 

Just for this moment – accept that you are present, and in being present, remember that being present does not mean that you are in agreement with everything that is happening.

Perhaps you have noticed, I know I have, a certain increase in ‘edginess’ in these difficult days; a certain decreased level of civility.  Since the tragic and terrible deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Eric Garner,  and others whose names did not make the national news, human relationships are increasingly strained in public places.  It is uncomfortable.

A colleague recently said to me that ‘soon the tension will fade and things will go back to being the way they were.’  I hope they don’t.  ‘The way they were’ denotes an imbalance in the dynamics of human interactions that needs to change; there has been a power imbalance that needs to be rectified.  The only way to do this is that people who have power – white people – need to give up some of that power so that other people – people of color – can have their rightful share.

Living in times of unrest means that we each need to be aware of living out of our own humanity.  We must live fully in the moment, mindfully engaging our empathy, daring to be vulnerable and focusing on that which is greater than ourselves in order to be resilient and to continue our moment by moment practice of purposeful awareness.

A fellow seminary of mine took a meditation class with a Buddhist instructor in order to help her recognize what it means to be totally present.  Sitting zazen with her class one day, she suddenly had a moment of clarity and jumped up, shouting “I get it!”  Excited, she said to her teacher, “Am I enlightened?”  And her teacher replied, “Well, you were.”

As Jon Kabat-Zinn says, “Remind yourself that acceptance of the present moment has nothing to do with resignation in the face of what is happening, it simply acknowledges that what is happening is happening. Acceptance doesn’t tell you what to do. What happens next, what you choose (my emphasis) to do has to come out of your understanding of this moment.  Try acting out of a deep knowing that ‘This is it.’”

Perhaps Judy Chicago said it best in “The Merger Poem”

And then all that has divided us will merge.
And then compassion will be wedded to power
And then softness will come to a world that is harsh and unkind.
And then both men and women will be gentle.
And then both women and men will be strong.
And then no person will be subject to another’s will.
And then all will be rich and free and varied.
And then the greed of some will give way to the needs of many.
And then all will share equally in the earth’s abundance.
And then all will care for the sick and the weak and the old.
And then all will nourish the young.
And then all will cherish life’s creatures.
And then all will live in harmony with each other and the earth.
And then everywhere will be called Eden once again.

May it be so in this and in all worlds; Amen, Salaam, Shalom, Om Shanti, Peace, Blessed Be.



At this holiday season, there are so many people who are seriously ill, are caregivers for loved ones, or are grieving. HealthCare Chaplaincy Network's staff and Board were honored to call attention to how professional chaplains bring spiritual and emotional support to those in distress as they rang the bell at the Nasdaq stock market closing on Friday, December 12th in New York's Times Square. See photos below.


Best Wishes for the Holidays and a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Photos courtesy Nasdaq:



From US News & World Report: http://bit.ly/1w3pJ6Q

Patients with a serious illness can feel better.

By Thomas Mitchinson
Special to the Chicago Daily Herald

My dad's favorite Christmas carol was "Home for the Holidays." I think, having been raised in Pennsylvania, he loved the lyrics about the man heading home to that state for some "homemade pumpkin pie."

But there are individuals who will not be home for the holidays this year, because they are hospitalized or in a care facility. For them, the holidays can be lonely and sad, especially if they are facing a serious health crisis. And, these feelings are not good for one's health or recovery.


"Loneliness, even when surrounded by many caregivers, can be quite a problem, often accompanied by despair," said the Rev. Kevin Massey, vice president of mission and spiritual care at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge.

Massey has made it a point to help those who are away from home during the holidays.

"I have always felt it a great privilege to be in the hospital on Christmas Eve. When you think about it, the holiday time, no matter what religious background you may have, is a particularly sensitive time to be away from loved ones. I find it important to help people find a place to pray or observe their religious celebrations."

Following a current worldwide trend, Massey spoke of the importance of spiritual care teams. These teams are made up of clergy and lay people willing to meet the spiritual, as well as the physical, needs of those hospitalized.

Massey said, "There has been an increasing nurturing of those human domains -- a real shift in thought. Individuals need to be treated as whole people -- meeting their spiritual needs, as well as their physical, emotional and social. Any health care provider does their best work when approaching people from that human perspective."

Some research has shown that praying with others and showing compassion and love, not only helps individuals overcome their loneliness, but also improves their health.

We all have the ability to overcome loneliness, to feel loved and be well, Massey said.

"Everyone has a spiritual perspective," Massey said, "For some people it is from a certain religion -- formal or not. I try to connect with everyone's spiritual perspective. We all have value as a child of God."

Taking this further, Massey said, "We can make every place a place of healing. Gratitude is a way to bring healing into our lives no matter where we are, but especially when facing a health crisis."

He reminisced, "I remember an encounter I once had with a patient which left an indelible mark on me -- one I have never forgotten. A patient had received a bad diagnosis. I went to see her in her hospital room and found a person who was brightening the room with her own smile and presence. She reasoned that I was there because of the diagnosis she had received, but she told me that instead of despair, she had a feeling of thankfulness for all that she had received throughout her life. 'As I look back,' she told me, 'it is with deep gratitude for all I have had and have been able to receive."

Massey said, "Gratitude has the power to take the exact same situation and make our lives experience it differently."

Such gratitude may not just leave us comforted, but may help in our healing, he added.

No matter where you are this holiday season, Massey advises expressing gratitude -- it can counteract loneliness and actually heal you.

• Thomas (Tim) Mitchinson is a self-syndicated columnist writing on the relationship between thought, spirituality and health, and trends in that field. He is also the media spokesman for Christian Science in Illinois. You can contact him at illinois@compub.org.


If you know someone dealing with cancer, please tell them about a new, free Living with Cancer Support Group for emotional & spiritual support. Details & sign up:  http://bit.ly/1wTsQp7


Today at 3:45-4 pm watch live online at https://new.livestream.com/nasdaq/live  as HCCN staff rings the Nasdaq stock market closing bell at the Nasdaq MarketSite in Times Square.