Assessing and Reimagining Chaplaincy Education:
The Case of Healthcare Chaplaincy

This project investigates the pedagogical and theological foundations of chaplaincy education in healthcare. It is premised on the idea that the educational bases for chaplaincy education are several decades out of date, and that chaplains may be even more in demand in coming years as fewer people belong to religious organizations through which to turn to local religious leaders in the midst of crises. First, we map the institutional landscape of education for healthcare chaplains in the United States including all of the institutions currently offering education for healthcare chaplains ranging from Clinical Pastoral Education Centers to Masters Degree Programs in chaplaincy to online and other forums through which healthcare chaplains are being trained. We are gathering information about the institutions as well as the curriculum and certification processes to understand all of the models for training currently in use. Then we will draft two working papers, one focused on institutional and degree options including placement sites, and a second focused on core aspects of the curriculum currently in use. A third working paper will provide a brief overview of healthcare chaplaincy as a profession with detailed attention to the changing religious demographics of the American population since the 1940s when healthcare chaplaincy first emerged as a profession. An early Huffington Post piece about this project is here.

The first journal article from this project was published in late 2019 titled “Training Healthcare Chaplains: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” with George Fitchett, Trace Haythorn, Patricia K. Palmer, Shelly Rambo, Casey Clevenger, Irene Elizabeth Stroud.  Journal of Pastoral Care and Counseling. 73(4):211-221.

This project is supported by the grant from the Henry Luce Foundation.