Assessing and Reimagining Chaplaincy Education investigates the pedagogical and theological foundations of chaplaincy education in healthcare, premised on the idea that the educational bases for chaplaincy education are several decades out of date. Chaplains may be in greater demand in coming years as fewer people claim formal religious affiliation and may, therefore, turn to individual spiritual or religious leaders in the midst of health crises.

The project first maps the institutional landscape of education for healthcare chaplains in the United States, including all of the institutions currently offering education for healthcare chaplains. These programs range from Clinical Pastoral Education Centers to Masters-level programs in chaplaincy to online and other forums through which healthcare chaplains receive training. We are gathering information about the institutions themselves as well as their curricula and certification processes to understand all of the training models for currently in use.

We will then draft three working papers: one will focus on institutional and degree options (including placement sites) available to chaplains; a second will focus on core aspects of curricula presently in use; and a third 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. This project will run from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2019 and is supported by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation.

Co-Primary Investigators
George Fitchett, DMin, PhD, Professor and Director of Research, Department of Religion, Health and Human Values, Rush University Medical Center

Wendy Cadge, PhD, Professor of Sociology and Chair of the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program at Brandeis University

Trace Haythorn, PhD, Executive Director and CEO of ACPE

Primary Researcher
Beth Stroud, Doctoral Candidate, Religion, Princeton University