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The field of Spiritual Care is at a critical juncture. Despite advances in research on spiritual care, the guidelines for addressing spiritual health, as well as assessing for spiritual distress, are not routinely integrated into care. There is an acknowledged need for training and the development of clinical models for wide-scale integration into whole person care.
In 2019, the GW Institute for Spirituality and Health, in partnership with City of Hope, initiated a planning grant to refine a strategy for advancing spiritual care: standardized training of the clinician and chaplain workforce, the creation of models of inter-professional spiritual care, and the effective use of education and demonstration projects. The proposed project will advance the field of spiritual care by educating and supporting the next generation of spiritual care leaders.
This 3-year project launches a 10-year plan by building the support for a sustainable project and engaging stakeholders in the development of the larger initiative. JTF will serve as the flagship foundation and leader to attract other investors to the field of spiritual care. We posit that this first project will lead to philanthropic funding, so that in 10 years there will be a strong network of trained clinician-chaplain leaders and funding partners. These models will impact health policy and clinical care standards.
We will train clinician-chaplain pairs twice a year using ISPEC Train-the-Trainer course. We will also select and fund 5 clinician-chaplain teams to develop demonstration projects focused on spiritual assessment. Teams will be mentored through a Learning Collaborative; they will present their final projects to ISPEC course participants. Program evaluations will be spread by peer-reviewed publications and professional networks. This innovative project develops spiritual care leaders who will disseminate a standardized curriculum for the field and implement clinical models. Both of these steps are vital to creating national impact.