ACPE Research

   [ Home Page ]   [ Past Issues ]


2019 News 

Newsletter Volume 18 — New Format
Edited by Chaplain John Ehman



  1.     2019 ACPE National Conference Research Highlights   (pub. 2/17/19, rev. 3/18/19)
  2.     Research Themes at the 2019 APC Conference   (pub. 2/17/19)
  3.     Research at the NACC National Conference, 2019   (pub. 2/17/19)
  4.     New Research Resource by Neshama: Association of Jewish Chaplains   (pub. 2/17/19)
  5.     Poster Presentations at the May 8-10, 2019 ACPE Conference, Scottsdale, Arizona   (pub. 6/10/19)   --NEW



1.   2019 ACPE National Conference Research Highlights  (pub. 2/17/19, rev. 3/18/19)

The ACPE national conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, May 8-10, 2019, will highlight research in various parts of the program, including:

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS — The Friday morning (5/10/19) keynote speakers will be four Transforming Chaplaincy Research Fellows: Kim Palmer will present "Prevalence and Distribution of Sources of Distress among Hospitalized Patients: A Precursor Study for Developing Targeted Interventions"; Marilyn Barnes will address "Simulated Spiritual Care Encounters as an Action/Reflection Training Model"; Gelia Rajaee will explore "The Value of Chaplains"; and Timothy Usset will talk about a randomized controlled trial testing of an experimental spiritually integrated intervention (Building Spiritual Strength) with an established therapy for PTSD. [Note: Gelia Rajaee offered "Thoughts on the Transforming Chaplaincy Fellowship" for our Spring 2017 Newsletter (--see news item #5).]

POSTERS — In the fall of 2018, the ACPE Research Committee called for posters for the annual conference. The following have been accepted for display:

  • "Chi Time: A Novel Approach to Staff Engagement that Can Utilize Chaplains and Non-Chaplain Volunteers," by Maggie Keogh
  • "Forgiveness and Spiritual Distress in an Inpatient Psychiatric Setting," by Karl VanHarn [--see below]
  • "Impact of Integrated Inter-Professional Rounding in CPE Residency: A Qualitative Study," by Linda Simmons [--see below]
  • "Developing Research Literacy Study," by Csaba Szilagyi
  • "The Prevalence of Journal Clubs: A Survey of Clinical Pastoral Education Residencies in the United States," by David Fleenor [--see below]
  • "Vision & Reality: Can a Viable CEC Program Be Implemented in a CPE 'Outpost'?" by Terry Culbertson
  • "The Quality of Spiritual Care at the End of Life in a Level One Trauma Acute Care Regional Healthcare System in Northeast Pennsylvania: A Retrospective Family Assessment," by Gary Heinke
  • "Examining Disaster Spiritual Needs through CPE Verbatims," by Allison Kestenbaum [--see below]


  • Research for Beginners: An Introduction to Qualitative and Quantitative Methods (Wednesday May 8, 2019 @ 11:30 AM - 2:00 PM) — Pre-conference workshop presented by Judy Ragsdale and George Fitchett. — DESCRIPTION: This workshop is for CPE Educators who seek to become research literate as they embrace the tasks of educating research literate chaplains and developing a research-informed approach to spiritual care education. Part I will provide an introduction to qualitative research. Qualitative research is an inductive approach to creating new knowledge, which means it moves from particular experiences to develop a wider understanding of the topic under review. This workshop will explain what makes qualitative research scientific; will describe several different qualitative methodologies including case study, grounded theory, phenomenology, and ethnography; and will highlight qualitative research articles relevant to use of religion/spirituality and to CPE. We will also explore ways in which qualitative methods are similar to the verbatim method in CPE. Part II will provide an introduction to quantitative research including: a) research study designs and their implications for forming causal inferences, b) introduction to types of data (levels of measurement and normal vs. skewed distributions) and their implications for statistical analysis, c) introduction to three of the most common statistical procedures used in quantitative research, and d) introduction to significance testing (p values). Each of these procedures will be illustrated with reports (tables) from chaplaincy research so that participants will gain confidence in understanding the findings reported in research articles they read.

  • Construction of an Evidence-Based Interventional Approach (Thursday May 9, 2019 @ 3:00 - 4:30 PM) — Workshop presented by George H. Grant and Caroline Peacock. — DESCRIPTION: Compassion-Centered Spiritual Health (CCSH) is conceived as a research-based method to alleviate distress in patients and families and to mitigate burnout in the healthcare professions. It can be utilized throughout the continuum of health from clinic to inpatient and in specialized spirituality-informed psychotherapeutic practices. It is designed on the premise that each of us has inner resources that we can call upon in the midst of a crisis or in moments of challenge.



2.   Research Themes at the 2019 APC Conference  (pub. 2/17/19)

The Association of Professional Chaplains will hold its annual conference on June 20-23, 2019 in Orlando, FL, and research will once again figure prominently in the event, with 22 of the 45 Workshops and 12 of the 19 Professional Development Initiatives explicitly noting research (including case studies). Also, two of the four plenary speakers point to research in their presentation descriptions: Dr. M. Jan Holton's address, "An Invitation to Belonging and Meaning: Traversing New Boundaries with Faith and Courage" (1/20/19 @ 7:00 PM), will consider "research with...refugees from conflict zones around the world [by which] we can find a renewed sense of belonging, meaning, and flourishing that moves us toward God's hospitable presence of grace and healing"; and Dr. Christina Puchalski's presentation, "Has the Pendulum Swung too Far to Reductionist Spiritual Care?" (1/21/19 @ 9:30 AM), works from the recognition that "[s]piritual care has made significant advances in clinical care, research, and policy."

The following Professional Development Intensives and Workshops are listed in chronological order. Note that some are pre-conference and post-conference activities.

  • Holy Curiosity (Wednesday, June 19, 2019 @ 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM) — Professional Development Intensive presented by Kathleen Ennis-Durstine, Mark Bartel and Joanna Bailey. — DESCRIPTION: We will explore the role, function, and character of Holy Curiosity in the work of chaplains. Holy Curiosity increases awareness, attending to the situation and story of patients and families, aids in accurate assessment and in designing appropriate spiritual interventions. Participants will experience a variety of learning opportunities: presentation and small group interaction, the use of video, pictures, and narrated case studies to aid us in the process of thinking of Holy questions and expecting Holy stories in our work. The topic is pertinent to all chaplains in all settings.

  • Million-Dollar Questions: 8 Key Skills for Researching Matters of Soul and Spirit (Wednesday, June 19, 2019 @ 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM) — Professional Development Intensive presented by Kelly Wadsworth. — DESCRIPTION: Phenomenology is the scientific study ('logos') of our experiences with the phenomena of our lives. It excavates how we move through life's encounters and is particularly adept at highlighting questions of meaning and existence. Exploring religious and spiritual themes in a rigorous and methodical way, descriptive phenomenology is a premier research tool for chaplains and can be applied in a variety of settings including healthcare, prisons, non-profits, and the military. Participants will gain many of the tools necessary to enter into the world of research in a way that is both relevant and practical.

  • Advanced Practice Workshop: Palliative Care and Hospice Specialty Chaplaincy Care (Wednesday, June 19, 2019 @ 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM) — Professional Development Intensive presented by Anna Lee Hisey Pierson, Sedona Montelongo and Bonnie McCulley. — DESCRIPTION: If you have interest or experience in providing direct patient care in palliative care and/or hospice this workshop is for you. You will be invited, in an interactive experience, to increase knowledge and hone skills alongside peers. Participants will explore palliative care and/or hospice clinicians' scope of practice and support evidence-based practices. An action reflection model will be utilized to exemplify the competencies through case studies, transdisciplinary goals of care meetings, and ethical dilemmas, aligning values with treatment plans and the essence of total pain as experienced in palliative care and hospice. Prerequisites: BCC certified with interest and/or experience in palliative care/hospice direct care.

  • Quantitative Research for Beginners (Wednesday, June 19, 2019 @ 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM) — Professional Development Intensive presented by Kelsey White and Patricia Palmer. — DESCRIPTION: The workshop will introduce participants to 3 of the most common statistical procedures used in quantitative research: 1) comparing means or proportion of two groups; 2) testing the association between two variables (correlation); and 3) testing the association between two variables while adjusting for the effects of other factors (multiple regression). The workshop will also introduce participants to significance testing (p values). Each of these procedures will be illustrated with reports (tables) from chaplaincy research. Participants will have the opportunity to work in small groups to apply their learning to the interpretation of additional tables from chaplaincy research.

  • Evidence-based Care for the Religiously Unaffiliated, One in Four Americans, at a Time of a Health Crisis (Thursday, June 20, 2019 @ 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM) — Professional Development Intensive presented by Marta Dabis and Patricia Palmer. — DESCRIPTION: Two research fellows of the Templeton Transforming Chaplaincy grant, from Atlanta and from Ann Arbor, used different approaches to research how to serve better the part of the population who identify as Religiously Unaffiliated. In a panel they summarize their research approaches and findings, reserving time for participants to interactively come to their own conclusions on what could work in their specific organizations, what can be implemented in their practice and how to describe the research evidence to their colleagues. Participants will receive handouts and an opportunity to discuss the content with their peers and the presenters at depth.

  • Meditation as a Chaplaincy Intervention (Thursday, June 20, 2019 @ 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM) — Professional Development Intensive presented by Seigan Ed Glassing. — DESCRIPTION: Meditation is an ancient practice found in nearly all spiritual traditions, and as an increasing amount of people identify as "spiritual but not religious," they may be more open to meditation as an alternative to prayer. Science and medicine are also discovering evidence that mindfulness and meditative techniques lower stress levels, lowers anxiety and PTSD symptoms, and that meditation practice can enhance the natural healing power of the mind and body. In this PDI, the principles of meditation will be explored, and various types of meditation will be demonstrated. Meditation is not a one size fits all, we will explore meditation practices that work with sound and movement, to meditation that focus on visualization, and sacred symbols. Attention will be given to assessing your client and finding which meditation practice best suits their needs. We will also cover ways to introduce, sustain, and adapt meditation into the health care setting, especially thru the use of apps. Finally, this workshop will give chaplains tools to sharpen their own empathic listening and help them enhance their chaplain skills.

  • On Demand Spiritual Care with Congestive Heart Failure Patients (Thursday, June 20, 2019 @ 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM) — Professional Development Intensive presented by Beth Muehlhausen, David Peacock and Cathy Chang. [NOTE: a Workshop by the same name is offered on Saturday, June 22, 2019 @ 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM] — DESCRIPTION: Ascension Health has developed "On Demand Spiritual Care" (ODSC) which uses technologies and methods that connect people across physical distances in order to provide spiritual care in all settings across the continuum of care. This intensive will share findings from the first Ascension Health system-wide spiritual care research project (5 states, 6 hospitals) designed to learn how chaplain interventions using on demand technologies affected the religious/spiritual (r/s) struggles facing CHF patients. Researchers will share findings regarding the r/s struggles facing CHF patients. ODSC will be discussed as well as how Ascension has worked systemically to implement this innovation. Included in the intensive is a panel discussion of chaplains who provided spiritual care to patients. They will share the joys and struggles of providing care outside the acute care setting. The audience will be invited to ask questions and participate in the discussion.

  • Caring for Mothers and their Babies: Spiritual Care Using a Trauma Informed Approach, and Evidence Based Knowledge of Postpartum Mood Disorders (Thursday, June 20, 2019 @ 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM) — Professional Development Intensive presented by Dorothy Symonds. — DESCRIPTION: Increased understanding of the therapeutic role of trauma informed spiritual care in behavioral health outpatient setting dedicated to evidence based mother/baby care; and, explore, via group discussion, with a RN communities in both settings of care how these insights might be adapted in NICU, L and D and High-Risk OB acute care settings. Become familiar with an understanding of an interdisciplinary team approach to providing care for the mother/baby and the role of spiritual care in the evidence-based treatment of post-partum mood disorders.

  • Chaplain Researcher: Research Question and Plan Development (Thursday, June 20, 2019 @ 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM) — Professional Development Intensive presented by Marilyn J. D. Barnes, Geila Rajaee and Kelsey White. — DESCRIPTION: A key component of conducting research is developing a research question. By participating in this educational opportunity, the learner will be provided with the tools and the support of a chaplain researcher to develop their specific research project. The learner will receive support with taking their research question and conducting a literature search to facilitate their hypothesis generation. Finally, the learner will have the opportunity to prepare a preliminary research development plan which supports their research question thus preparing them to conduct the research project.

  • Prison Chaplaincy (Friday, June 21, 2019 @ 11:15 AM - 12:45 PM) — Workshop presented by Ilana Plutzer. — DESCRIPTION: This is a session that will open your eyes to a different kind of chaplaincy. Being incarcerated has its challenges different from healthcare for both the receiver and the giver. Learn from research and my experience as a chaplain at Riker's Island in New York City. Each denomination has its jobs as well and I will outline how that plays out in this setting as well as different media I use from reading materials, course offerings to music and instruments.

  • Designing and Validating Spiritual Care Surveys by Using Qualitative & Quantitative Methods (Friday, June 21, 2019 @ 11:15 AM - 12:45 PM) — Workshop presented by Tia Jamir and Kristina Hyrkas. — DESCRIPTION: In the field of spiritual care, current spiritual visits primarily document patient's spiritual history and/or seek an initial assessment of patient needs for spiritual care. Today, there are no rigorously validated instruments which seek to address patients' experiences, pertaining to aspects of spiritual care during hospitalization. This presentation discusses the design, development and validation process of a self-administered survey using qualitative (i.e. grounded theory) and quantitative methods. This survey will also help other interdisciplinary team members to track the patient experiences (i.e. the spiritual aspects of care) and determine their value to patients and institution.

  • Chaplains Providing Dignity Therapy in Out-patient Palliative Care (Friday, June 21, 2019 @ 11:15 AM - 12:45 PM) — Workshop presented by George Fitchett, Diana Wilkie, Debra Hepburn and Andrew McRae. — DESCRIPTION: Dignity Therapy (DT) was developed to foster dignity, quality of life, and existential and spiritual well-being among people with serious illness or near the end-of-life. The DT interview is transcribed and becomes a Generativity Document expressing key lessons learned from life and words for family and loved ones. This workshop will share the experiences of chaplains providing DT in the context of an NIH-funded study of DT in the context of out-patient palliative care.

  • Post Secular Spirituality: Perceptions of Humanist, Liberal Religious and Unaffiliated Chaplains (Friday, June 21, 2019 @ 11:15 AM - 12:45 PM) — Workshop presented by Froukje Pitstra, Carmen Schuhmann and Annelieke Damen. — DESCRIPTION: Spirituality is a central notion in chaplaincy, yet it is a concept that is notoriously hard to define. For chaplains in post secular societies, working with patients of all kinds of religious and non-religious backgrounds, having a clear understanding of spirituality as a dimension in the lives of all people seems crucial. In this workshop, first findings of a research project are presented in which notions of spirituality according to humanist, liberal religious, and non-affiliated chaplains in the Netherlands are explored. These findings are discussed in relation to the question of what is the role and place of chaplaincy in a changing world.

  • Helpful & Missing from Palliative Chaplain Progress Notes: Findings - 7 Palliative Team Focus Groups (Friday, June 21, 2019 @ 11:15 AM - 12:45 PM) — Workshop presented by Paul Galchutt. — DESCRIPTION: Most of us write spiritual assessment progress notes without really knowing what our non-chaplain interdisciplinary partners want to know regarding our chaplaincy encounters with patients and families. While the palliative care chaplain is regarded as the spiritual specialist, interdisciplinary palliative partners are also obligated to address spirituality as generalists. In other words, they are invested. We want them to keep coming back to our notes. This presentation will report on the findings from seven palliative care team focus groups asking the original research question, what content is most helpful as well as missing from a chaplain's spiritual assessment progress note.

  • Beyond Room to Room: A Modern Approach to Healthcare Chaplaincy (Friday, June 21, 2019 @ 11:15 AM - 12:45 PM) — Workshop presented by Jennifer Cobb. — DESCRIPTION: In many healthcare organizations, there are far more patients than the chaplain can ever hope to see. So how do you decide who gets seen and who doesn't? Is it better to visit one patient several times or as many patients as possible once? Chaplains have a highly specialized role within the overall healthcare team. In a classic article, Mark LaRocca-Pitts compared chaplains to hospitalists. However, when you can't get to everyone, what do you do? We'll explore a few common approaches to this dilemma and the research that supports each one. Our system has chosen to liken the chaplain to intensivists or cardiologists -- focused care for those with the most acute risk of spiritual distress. At the end of this session, you'll have the information to decide which approach makes the most sense for your organization's needs and will be prepared to engage champions from other disciplines to help you advance the model of your choosing.

  • Effects of Interdisciplinary Collaboration: USSOCOM Preservation of the Force and Family (Friday, June 21, 2019 @ 11:15 AM - 12:45 PM) — Workshop presented by Howard Crosby, James Anderson and Chase Wilhelm. — DESCRIPTION: The United States Special Operations Command has undertaken various research projects to assess the holistic impact of the Religious Support Team interactions on the US Service members. The workshop will discuss the key findings from the Needs Assessment Survey (n=+12,000) and the Chaplaincy evidence-based suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention project.

  • Building Nurse-Chaplain Partnerships in the Acute Care Hospital - A Study of Nurse-Chaplain Collaboration (Saturday, June 22, 2019 @ 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM) — Workshop presented by Jeffery Murphy and Mary Stewart. — DESCRIPTION: Despite accreditation requirements and evidence promoting integration of patients' spirituality into their healthcare, spiritual needs of hospitalized patients often go unmet. Nurses are well-positioned to incorporate a patient's religion/spiritual needs into clinical care. Our research aims to identify what chaplains deem as effective ways to partner with nurses to assure that spiritual needs of patients in acute care hospitals are met. Specific attention will be given to opportunities where chaplains can help nurses gain confidence and competence in integrating the patient's religion/spirituality into routine care.

  • Transforming Chaplaincy Roundtable: A Review of the Emerging Research in the Field (Saturday, June 22, 2019 @ 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM) — Workshop presented by Shelley Varner-Perez, Dirk Labuschagne and Petra Sprik. — DESCRIPTION: This workshop will provide an opportunity for the Transforming Chaplaincy Fellows (Cohort 2) to share their experiences and knowledge in the emerging field of research and clinical practice as it relates to chaplaincy.

  • Using Guided Imagery as a Spiritual Care Intervention for Symptom Management (Saturday, June 22, 2019 @ 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM) — Workshop presented by Adrian Duckett and Fasolino. — DESCRIPTION: Approximately 5.7 million adults in the US have heart failure, with many of these individuals reporting unrelieved symptoms, such as shortness of breath, leading to diminished quality of life. There is increased interest in linking spirituality and physical well-being. Therefore, the purpose of this research study was to explore the role of guided imagery on shortness of breath and spiritual peace in patients with known heart failure. Utilizing convenience sampling, a pre- and post-interventional study was completed with 48 patients enrolled. The study was unable to prove an impact on spiritual peace; however, data results demonstrated a reduction in shortness of breath with the intervention.

  • Rethinking Chaplaincy in the Ambulatory Setting (Saturday, June 22, 2019 @ 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM) — Workshop presented by Brian Stoltey. — DESCRIPTION: In considering community-based chaplaincy, we often think about reaching particular patient populations and receiving reimbursements to fund spiritual care. However, venturing 'outside the lines' of the inpatient setting requires new thoughts. Specifically, how relationships with staff and physicians drive chaplain outcomes. This interactive session will provide participants an opportunity to engage their ministry creatively. We will grapple with the purpose and function of clinic-based chaplaincy. With a focus on multi-site, ambulatory settings, we will celebrate the opportunities for meaningful ministry to staff and care providers, consider metrics for evaluating our work and create a ‘beyond the boundaries' approach to chaplaincy.

  • Trauma Transformed: Reframing Spiritual Care through a Trauma Informed Lens (Saturday, June 22, 2019 @ 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM) — Workshop presented by David Hottinger. — DESCRIPTION: Significant research, including the adverse childhood experience studies, has demonstrated the far-reaching and long-lasting impact of trauma on physical, psychological and spiritual health. In failing to recognize this impact, health care systems repeatedly place bandages on what are much-deeper emotional and spiritual wounds. At best, health systems treat symptoms of trauma at a superficial level; at worst, they further traumatize patients and families with policies and protocols that fail to promote safety, trust, and long-term healing. Counteracting this trend are emerging best practices known as trauma-informed care. These best practices call for organizational and clinical changes that have the potential to improve patient engagement, health outcomes, and provider and staff wellness. The workshop will introduce the main principles of trauma-informed care, using a case study of Hennepin County Medical Center (a Level One Trauma Center in downtown Minneapolis) and HCMC's journey to adopt trauma-informed practices to care for victims of violence and promote staff resiliency.

  • Assessing and Reimagining Chaplaincy Education: A Report on the Transforming Chaplaincy-ACPE Study (Saturday, June 22, 2019 @ 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM) — Workshop presented by George Fitchett, Wendy Cadge, Beth Stroud, Sandra Katz, Joseph Perez and Amy Greene. — DESCRIPTION: The Transforming Chaplaincy-ACPE Luce Foundation-funded study, "Assessing and Reimagining Chaplaincy Education," will be nearing completion in June 2019. Its key features include mapping chaplaincy programs in theological schools, describing the variation in ACPE clinical programs, and exploring ways academic and clinical programs might coordinate in order to prepare more effective chaplains and strengthen the field of spiritual care. The study team will present key findings, a panel of chaplaincy leaders representing the Strategic Partners will respond, and time will be reserved for open discussion about future directions for chaplaincy education.

  • Evidence-Based Chaplaincy and Interdisciplinary Collaboration: Training and Practice in the Veterans Health Administration (Saturday, June 22, 2019 @ 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM) — Workshop presented by Jennifer Wortmann, Paul Dordal and Gretchen Hulse. — DESCRIPTION: Two chaplains and one psychologist from VA will present aims and outcomes of national initiatives to foster evidence-based and collaborative care and highlight strong practices that evolved from these efforts. In a learning collaborative model, teams of mental health and chaplain providers employed systems redesign principles to improve their clinical care, and a training program facilitated chaplains' use of evidence-based practice principles and integration with mental health providers. We feature the development of collaborative relationships and group curricula that apply principles from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Problem-Solving Training (PST), which are deepened by a focus on spiritual care.

  • Atypical Spiritual Resources as Community Health Assets: Results of Legacy Interviews with Cancer Patients (Saturday, June 22, 2019 @ 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM) — Workshop presented by Beba Tata. — DESCRIPTION: The workshop is based on a secondary analysis of spiritual life review interviews conducted by board certified chaplains with 45 participants with cancer, enrolled in the Hear My Voice pilot study. It will review participants' experiences of living with cancer and identify themes in their interviews related to the use of spiritual resources. It will highlight findings of 17 participants, 30-55 years and explore their use of private and public spiritual resources facilitating coping and wellbeing. Participants will practice using the interview questions and have an opportunity to discuss application of spiritual legacy development to their personal and work settings.

  • On Demand Spiritual Care with Congestive Heart Failure Patients (Saturday, June 22, 2019 @ 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM) — Workshop presented by Beth Muehlhausen and David Peacock. [NOTE: a Professional Development Intensive by the same name is offered on Thursday, June 20, 2019 @ 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM] — DESCRIPTION: Ascension Health (AH) has developed "On Demand Spiritual Care" which uses technologies and methods that connect people across physical distances in order to provide spiritual care in all settings across the continuum of care. This workshop will share findings from the first AH system-wide spiritual care research project (5 states/6 hospitals) designed to learn how chaplain interventions using on demand technologies affected the religious/spiritual (r/s) struggles facing patients with Congestive Heart Failure (CHF). Researchers will share findings regarding the r/s struggles facing CHF patients. We will share feedback from chaplains who "met" with patients regularly over 6-months in terms of what worked/didn't while providing care. Implications for spiritual care departments will be discussed.

  • Interdisciplinary Rounds in Different Contexts: Meaning, Approaches and Strategies (Saturday, June 22, 2019 @ 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM) — Workshop presented by Jay Fulton, Rebecca Yarrison, Jocelyn Shaw and Theresa Hood. — DESCRIPTION: Families in the NICU environment encounter a complex range of emotional and spiritual experiences in the context of their child's hospitalization. Ministering to their psycho-social-spiritual concerns is the privilege of all members of the healthcare team. Compassion Rounds has been developed as an opportunity for chaplains, physicians, and other clinicians to provide whole-person care in a collaborative manner. These Rounds also provide the opportunity for future research on the impact of such care, which will be explored. Physicians who have been involved in these Rounds will share their perspective on how the experience has enriched their care for families and patients.

  • Caring for Survivors of Domestic Violence: You Can Make a Difference (Sunday, June 23, 2019 @ 8:45 PM - 10:15 PM) — Workshop presented by Kristin Godlin. — DESCRIPTION: According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men will experience violence by an intimate partner. While many of them will seek medical care, few will receive evidence-based interventions by trained chaplains. This session will examine the research surrounding domestic violence, the ways in which women use religion to cope with violence, and the ways in which chaplains can intervene to help the survivors they serve.

  • Creating a Culture of Care: Lessons from Interdisciplinary Hospice Research (Sunday, June 23, 2019 @ 8:45 PM - 10:15 PM) — Workshop presented by Suzan McCrystal and Kate Dean-Haidet. — DESCRIPTION: Compassionate presence relies on caregiver wellbeing and resilience. As moral distress rises in rapidly changing hospice settings, interventions are needed to support clinician wellbeing. This presentation describes a two-year research project that taught holistic practices for self/other care to interdisciplinary hospice team members. Quantitative results suggest that resiliency improved. Qualitative narrative data reflects change on individual and cultural levels. We discuss inquiry in spiritual care, especially for answering questions that emerge about caring relation and identity as a caring person. Chaplains are ideally suited for doing this research that contributes to creating and sustaining morally habitable communities of care.

  • Grace Notes: Feasibility of a Spirituality Intervention for Clients with Acquired Brain Injury (Sunday, June 23, 2019 @ 8:45 PM - 10:15 PM) — Workshop presented by Peggy Thompson. — DESCRIPTION: Adults with acquired brain injury (ABI) experience many losses associated with their condition. As a result, they often turn to matters of faith and spirituality to help them cope and redefine lives of meaning. Because there are no evidence-based interventions for this population, we developed a thirteen-session curriculum called Grace Notes to help ABI clients address their spiritual concerns. In this presentation, I will report on the findings from a preliminary feasibility study in which we evaluated implement ability, acceptability, transferability, and preliminary impact of Grace Notes and offer participants the opportunity to use Grace Notes tools.

  • Organizing Annual Chaplain Pastoral Care Conferences & Networks Locally (Sunday, June 23, 2019 @ 8:45 PM - 10:15 PM) — Workshop presented by Dianna Wentz. — DESCRIPTION: Do you work as a solo chaplain in your service area? Or, are you one a few APC BCC chaplains in your community? Is Pastoral Care not really high on the radar of your health care or work-related system? Would you like to find ways of increasing the visibility of chaplaincy for your stakeholders? This workshop offers an opportunity to learn how to address these concerns by examining a case study of the development of an annual pastoral care conference rooted in one health care system but including attendees and presenters from a myriad of professional and educational settings. See how the Annual UPMC Chaplains (and friends) Pastoral Care Conference continues into its 6th year and how you can replicate the model where you serve.

  • Critical Incident Stress Management: Impact of Research & Education Upon Utilization & Effectiveness (Sunday, June 23, 2019 @ 8:45 PM - 10:15 PM) — Workshop presented by Phillip Wiechart and Julie Herrema. — DESCRIPTION: Spectrum Health includes a Level 1 Trauma Center, Heart Center, Children's Hospital, 12 Regional Hospitals, numerous primary care offices with 26,000 employees. Chaplains have led and coordinated an organization wide effort to provide Critical Incident Stress Management to staff since July 2014 with impressive results. Leaders of our children's hospital recognized an opportunity to raise awareness among staff about this valuable resource with a pilot study including measuring Professional Quality of Life, providing CISM education, and measuring quality of CISM interventions. This presentation will share the results of this study that took place between May 2018-September 2018.

  • Addressing Secondary Traumatic Stress: The Research and Practice of Self Compassion (Sunday, June 23, 2019 @ 1:30 PM - 5:30 PM) — Professional Development Intensive presented by Mia Baumgartner. — DESCRIPTION: Self-compassion has been identified as a key predictor for lower PTSD symptoms and severity in war veterans. It has also been identified as the highest personal (vs. organizational) protector for burnout in healthcare providers. This PDI will give time for participants to examine research, try some self-compassion interventions and more deeply assess their own barriers to self-compassion. Some dyads, personal assessment, discussion, video and lecture will be used.

  • Building Spiritual Strength: An Evidence-Based Approach for Trauma, Moral Injury, and Spiritual Distress (Sunday, June 23, 2019 @ 1:30 PM - 5:30 PM) — Professional Development Intensive presented by Timothy Usset and Joshua Thomas Morris. — DESCRIPTION: Building Spiritual Strength (BSS) has demonstrated promising results for the treatment of trauma, moral injury, and spiritual distress in two clinical trial (Harris et al., 2011; Harris et al., 2018). Attendees of this presentation will be trained on the foundational theory of BSS and how to implement the intervention.

  • Getting Started with Qualitative Research in Spiritual Care (Sunday, June 23, 2019 @ 1:30 PM - 5:30 PM) — Professional Development Intensive presented by Allison DeLaney, Michael Betz, Cate Michelle Desjardins and Beba Tata. — DESCRIPTION: The introductory interactive workshop session will describe and distinguish between four qualitative research methods and their implementation in chaplaincy practice. It will explore the basic steps of qualitative research process focusing on research questions pertinent to each method. Participants will practice using research questions relevant to their own context and interests. They will develop skills in the process of coding and development of themes through sample transcript.



3.   Research at the NACC National Conference, 2019  (pub. 2/17/19)

The National Association of Catholic Chaplains' annual conference, to be held at the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, Illinois, May 31-June 3, 2019, will offer three workshops that focus on research:

  • Chaplain-Nurse Collaboration in VA Healthcare (Sunday, June 2, 2019 @ 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM) — a beginner-level session addressing four NACC Certification Competencies (ITP1, ITP5, ITP6, PIC5), presented by Lisa Burkhart, Sharon Coghlan, and Melvin L. Jones. — DESCRIPTION: Veteran Administration directives require that only chaplains provide spiritual comprehensive assessment, but nurses are unclear as to their role and resources available to address Veteran spiritual needs at the point of care. Nurses engage in spiritual care as a professional mandate, but many nurses are unsure how to provide spiritual care. Hines VA [Hospital, Hines, IL] has engaged in research and quality improvement to further explore nurse-chaplain collaboration. This workshop will present VA research describing institutional facilitators and barriers in providing spiritual care and a quality improvement intervention to improve nurse-chaplain collaboration. Presenters will lead a discussion in strategies to promote interprofessional collaboration. As a result of this workshop, participants will: 1) understand Veteran spiritual needs and current chaplain and nurse roles in meeting those needs in Veteran Administration (VA) healthcare; 2)l about current research and quality improvement initiatives to explore nurse-chaplain collaboration in spiritual care in Veteran healthcare; and 3) become aware of potential initiatives to increase nurse-chaplain collaboration in Veteran healthcare.

  • A Parish Perspective: Laity at Work in the Pastoral Care of the Sick and the Dying (Monday, June 3, 2019 @ 8:30 - 10:00 AM) — a beginner-level session addressing one NACC Certification Competency (PIC7), presented by Jean Marie Weber. — DESCRIPTION: This workshop will share the implications of a 2017 research study conducted by the presenter, which showed that a significant percentage of Lay Ministers indicated responsibility for the pastoral care of the sick, the dying and the hosting of funerals in their parish communities. Participants will be solicited for their experiences and views about the study results, with discussion on how to help Lay Ministers be better prepared for pastoral care work. As a result of this workshop, participants will: 1) become aware of pastoral care ministers functioning out of the parish setting with little or no formation; 2) explore network possibilities with pastoral care providers in parishes along with others in health care and correctional settings; and 3) be inspired and supported by those who are ministering to the sick and the dying.

  • Pastoral Care Advisory Committee (Sunday, June 2, 2019 @ 1:15 - 2:45 PM) — The Catholic Health Association's Pastoral Care Advisory Committee (PCAC) will meet during a workshop time and welcome all who are are interested to review findings from the 2018 Spiritual Care Survey conducted by the Center for Applied Research in Apostolate, sponsored by the Catholic Health Association of the United States and the National Association of Catholic Chaplains.
Also, an Advanced Practice Workshop on Palliative Care and Hospice Specialty Chaplaincy Care (Friday, May 31, 2019 @ 8:15 AM - 12:15 PM), led by Anna Lee Hisey Pierson, Sedona Montelongo, and Bonnie J. McCulley, is not described as focusing on research, but the session announcement mentions "support[ing] evidence-based practices."

And note: one of the conference's two plenary speakers is Robert G. Mundle, a psychotherapist and chaplain with the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care, known to many chaplain researchers for his qualitative/case study publications: Mundle, R., "A narrative analysis of spiritual distress in geriatric physical rehabilitation," Journal of Health Psychology 20, no. 3 (March 2015): 273-285; Mundle, R. G., "Engaging religious experience in stroke rehabilitation," Journal of Religion & Health 51, no. 3 (September 2012): 986-998; and Mundle, R. G., "The spiritual strength story in end-of-life care: two case studies," Palliative & Supportive Care 9, no. 4 (December 2011): 419-424.



4.   New Research Resource by Neshama: Association of Jewish Chaplains  (pub. 2/17/19)

The website of Neshama: Association of Jewish Chaplains now includes a resource page about research ( This is a collection of research-focused news items, reports, and links, including our ACPE Research site. Among the items: " Relationship Between Chaplain Visits and Patient Satisfaction"; "Seeking and Accepting: U.S. Clergy Theological and Moral Perspectives Informing Decision Making at the End of Life"; "Evidence-Based Spiritual Care: A Literature Review" and "Hooray for Chaplains! How Do We Prove Their Value?"



5.   Poster Presentations at the May 8-10, 2019 ACPE Conference, Scottsdale, Arizona  (pub. 6/10/19)


If you have suggestions about the form and/or content of the site, e-mail Chaplain John Ehman at
© 2019 -- ACPE Research -- All Rights Reserved.