Research Publications


Compassion Meditation Training for Hospital Chaplain Residents: A Pilot Study

Citation

Ash MJ, Walker ER, DiClemente RJ, Florian MP, Palmer PK, Wehrmeyer K, Regi LT, Grant GH, Raison CL, Mascaro JS (2020). Compassion Meditation Training for Hospital Chaplain residents: A Pilot Study. J Health Care Chaplain, Feb 13:1-16. doi: 10.1080/08854726.2020.1723189. [Epub ahead of print]

Abstract

This study examines the effectiveness of incorporating compassion meditation training into a clinical pastoral education (CPE) curriculum to enhance compassion satisfaction and reduce burnout among hospital chaplain residents. Specifically, a longitudinal, quasi-experimental design was used to examine the impact of Cognitively-Based Compassion Training (CBCT), a group-delivered compassion meditation intervention.

Hospital chaplain residents (n = 15) were assigned to participate in a CBCT intervention or a waitlist comparison group. Chaplains assigned to CBCT reported significant decreases in burnout and anxiety compared to the waitlist group; effects were not maintained at 4-month follow-up. Other outcomes, including compassion satisfaction, did not differ significantly but were trending in the expected direction. Findings suggest that compassion meditation training incorporated into CPE promotes chaplain wellbeing, although it may be necessary to extend CBCT throughout residency to sustain effects.

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Training Healthcare Chaplains: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Citation

Cadge W, Fitchett G, Haythorn T, Palmer PK, Rambo S, Clevenger C, Stroud E (2019). Training Healthcare Chaplains: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. J Pastoral Care Counsel, 73(4):211-221.

Abstract

This article invites theological school educators, clinical pastoral education educators, representatives of the professional healthcare chaplaincy organizations, and social scientists to begin a shared conversation about chaplaincy education. To date, we find that theological educators, clinical educators, professional chaplains, and the healthcare organizations where they work are not operating from or educating toward a common understanding of what makes healthcare chaplains effective.

Before we identify five key questions that might help us be in shared conversation and move towards educating the most effective chaplains, we briefly describe the history of education for healthcare chaplaincy. We then describe what we learned in interviews in 2018 with 21 theological and 19 clinical educators who are educating healthcare chaplains in theological schools and clinical pastoral education residency programs, year-long educational programs in hospitals and other settings that focus on preparing people for staff chaplain jobs. Their different approaches and frames inform the five questions with which we conclude.

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Training chaplains and spiritual caregivers: the emergence and growth of chaplaincy programs in the theological education

Citation

Cadge W, Stroud E, Palmer PK, Fitchett G, Haythorn T, Clevenger C (2019). Training chaplains and spiritual caregivers: the emergence and growth of chaplaincy programs in the theological education. Pastoral Psychology, online June 2020.

Abstract

This paper describes the history of chaplaincy programs in theological education, the content of their curricula, the goals of the programs as described by faculty, and the programs’ approaches to issues of spiritual and religious diversity. It is based on a sample of 21 schools that offer specific chaplaincy education through masters of divinity or masters of arts degrees. We conducted semi-structured interviews with faculty at these schools and reviewed materials from course catalogues and other sources. We found substantial growth in chaplaincy-focused programs in theological schools in the last 20 years as well as the lack of standardization across them that one might expect in a rapidly growing field. The programs mostly developed independent of one another. They have not come to consensus about the skills and competencies chaplains need to do their work and have only engaged in that question across institutions in limited ways. As a group, these programs are also not well connected to clinical chaplaincy training or the day-to-day employment requirements of paid chaplaincy positions. We describe opportunities for collaboration that might strengthen this emerging field and better position it in the changing religious landscape.

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Practical matters and ultimate concerns, "Doing," and "Being": A diary study of the chaplain's role in the care of the seriously ill in an urban acute care hospital

Citation

Idler EL, Grant GH, Quest T, Binney Z, Perkins MM (2015). Practical matters and ultimate concerns, "Doing," and "Being": A diary study of the chaplain's role in the care of the seriously ill in an urban acute care hospital. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 54(4): 722-738.

Abstract

Systematic observational studies of the chaplain’s role and function in the secular health-care setting are few. With an episode-based diary recorded on handheld digital tablets, palliative care chaplains at a large urban hospital with a diverse patient population recorded details of patient visits in near-real time. Cluster analysis revealed groups of activities we called "doing" and "being," and conversation topics of "practical matters" and "ultimate concerns”; chaplains were most satisfied with visits that involved all of these. Chaplains offer patients and families a space to express significant concerns; however, visits with spiritual or religious activities or topics were relatively rare. Broad quality of life concerns are central to the evolving professional role of chaplains in the secular setting of the modern hospital.

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Workings of the human spirit in palliative care situations: a consensus model from the Chaplaincy Research Consortium

Citation

Emanuel L, Handzo G, Grant G, Massey K, et al. (2015). Workings of the human spirit in palliative care situations: a consensus model from the Chaplaincy Research Consortium. BMC Palliative Care, 14:29.

Abstract

Background: Chaplaincy is a relatively new discipline in medicine that provides for care of the human spirit in healthcare contexts for people of all worldviews. Studies indicate wide appreciation for its importance, yet empirical research is limited. Our purpose is to create a model of human spiritual processes and needs in palliative care situations so that researchers can locate their hypotheses in a common model which will evolve with relevant findings. Methods: The Model Building Subgroup worked with the Chaplaincy Research Consortium as part of a larger Templeton Foundation funded project to enhance research in the area. It met with members for an hour on three successive occasions over three years and exchanged drafts for open comment between meetings. All members of the Subgroup agreed on the final draft. Results: The model uses modestly adapted existing definitions and models. It describes the human experience of spirituality during serious illness in three renditions: visual, mathematical, and verbal so that researchers can use whichever is applicable. The visual rendition has four domains: spiritual, psychological, physical and social with process arrows and permeable boundaries between all areas. The mathematical rendition has the same four factors and is rendered as an integral equation, corresponding to an integrative function postulated for the human spirit. In both renditions, the model is notable in its allowance for direct spiritual experience and a domain or factor in its own right, not only experience that is created through the others. The model does not describe anything beyond the human experience. The verbal rendition builds on existing work to describe the processes of the human spirit, relating it to the four domains or factors. Conclusions: A consensus model of the human spirit to generate hypotheses and evolve based on data has been delineated. Implications of the model for how the human spirit functions and how the chaplain can care for the patient or family caregiver’s spiritual coping and well-being are discussed. The next step is to generate researchable hypotheses, results of research from which will give insight into the human spirit and guidance to chaplains caring for it.

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Religion as a Social Determinant of Public Health

Citation

Idler EL, Ed. (2014). Religion as a Social Determinant of Public Health. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Description

Frequently in partnership, but sometimes at odds, religious institutions and public health institutions work to improve the well-being of their communities. There is increasing awareness among public health professionals and the general public that the social conditions of poverty, lack of education, income inequality, poor working conditions, and experiences of discrimination play a dominant role in determining health status. But this broad view of the social determinants of health has largely ignored the role of religious practices and institutions in shaping the life conditions of billions around the globe.

In Religion as a Social Determinant of Public Health, leading scholars in the social sciences, public health, and religion address this omission by examining the embodied sacred practices of the world's religions, the history of alignment and tension between religious and public health institutions, the research on the health impact of religious practice throughout the life course, and the role of religious institutions in health and development efforts around the globe. In addition, the volume explores religion's role in the ongoing epidemics of HIV/AIDS and Alzheimer's disease, as well as preparations for an influenza pandemic. Together, these groundbreaking essays help complete the picture of the social determinants of health by including religion, which has until now been an invisible determinant.

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