2020 Interprofessional Train-the-Trainer Spiritual Care Education Curriculum (ISPEC) : Washington DC | July 6-7

Please note: We remain cautiously optimistic about holding ISPEC in July. However, safety is always our priority. We are monitoring CDC guidance and will act according to recommendations. In the event that we need to cancel the program, registrants will receive a full refund. 

Empirical evidence, patient and family experience, and theoretical frameworks support the critical role that spirituality and spiritual care plays in patient care, particularly for individuals struggling with chronic and complex illness. Recent clinical guidelines recognize the ethical obligation of all ‎healthcare providers to alleviate pain and suffering--whether physical, psychosocial, or spiritual. Health care providers acknowledge the growing call for patients’ spirituality to be addressed, but they ‎often note lack of training as a significant barrier‎ to implementing these beliefs. 

To bridge this gap, The George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health (GWish), in partnership with City of Hope and the Fetzer Institute, developed the Interprofessional Spiritual Care Education Curriculum (ISPEC), a 2-day train-the-trainer program that helps clinicians, spiritual care professionals, and others working in health settings to successfully recognize, address, and attend to the suffering of patients and their families. 

ISPEC fosters environments of care where patients may discover their own capacity for healing and whole health, with an innovative curriculum designed to build leaders, consultants, advocates, and ‎knowledgeable ‎clinicians who can educate, empower, and guide other healthcare professionals at their institution ‎in the ‎integration of spirituality in health. The program emphasizes leadership skills, institutional culture change, and personal goal development for participants.

The first ISPEC, in July 2018, had nearly 100 attendees from across the world. Since then, trainings have been held in the United States, Africa, and Australia. ISPEC is the first initiative at the global level that offers a theoretically and research-grounded curriculum for teaching interprofessional spiritual care. 

Button to apply for ISPEC 2020

Eligibility Criteria

  • Clinicians from diverse professional backgrounds (e.g. MD, RN, NP, PA, Social work, Psychologists, PT/OT), ideally paired with chaplains or spiritual care professionals from the same setting.
  • Chaplains or spiritual care professionals, ideally paired with clinicians from the same setting.
  • Clinician-chaplain teams may come from a variety of different clinical settings, including hospital, hospice, long-term care, outpatient care, etc.
  • Applicants will be selected for this training program through a competitive application review process.
  • Note: We encourage pairs of clinicians and chaplains/spiritual care providers to apply. However, all applicants are welcome.

Course Fees

Fees are due after applicants have been accepted to participate in ISPEC 2020. Discounts are available for clinician and chaplain/spiritual care provider dyads, as outlined in the below course registration fees. 

  Single Registrants Clinician & Chaplain/Spiritual Care Provider Pairs
Early Bird Registration Rate
(until April 1, 2020)
$375 $325 (per person)
Regular Registration Rate
(after April 1, 2020)
$450 $350 (per person)

Registration Includes:

  • Lectures, case study reviews, discussions, and lab sessions to empower clinicians and chaplains to transform the culture of healthcare in their settings--as well as 400+ pages of course syllabus and resources.
  • One-year mentorship from leading faculty to monitor and support participants' progress on goal achievement.
  • Continuing education credits.

Course Modules

The two-day ISPEC Train-the-Trainer program provides lectures, case study reviews, panel discussions, and lab sessions aligned with the following topics:

  • Module 1: Introduction and Background
  • Module 2: Spiritual Distress
  • Module 3: Compassionate Presence
  • Module 4: Communication about Spiritual Issues and Spiritual Assessment
  • Module 5: Whole Person Assessment and Treatment Plan
  • Module 6: Ethics and Professional Development

Course Leadership

Our 2020 ISPEC faculty facilitators bring a wealth of clinical, educational, and research expertise to the training program.



Christina Puchalski

Christina M. Puchalski, MD, MS, FACP, FAAHPM
Professor of Medicine and Health Science
Director, GWish 
Co-Director, MFA-GWU Supportive and Palliative Outpatient Clinic
The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences

Betty Ferrell

Betty Ferrell, PhD, MA, FAAN, FPCN
Director and Professor
Division of Nursing Research and Education
Department of Population Sciences
City of Hope



Benjamin Blatt

Benjamin Blatt, MD
Professor of Medicine
Medical Director, CLASS Clinical Skills Center
The GW Medical Faculty Associates
The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences

Marvin O Delgado Guay

Marvin O Delgado Guay, MD, FAAHPM
Associate Professor
Department of Palliative, Rehabilitation, & Integrative Medicine, 
Division of Cancer Medicine
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Trace Haythorn

Trace Haythorn, PhD
Executive Director, CEO
ACPE: The Standard for Spiritual Care & Education

Carolyn Jacobs

Carolyn Jacobs, PhD, MSW
Dean Emerita
Elizabeth Marting Treuhaft Professor Emerita
Smith College School for Social Work

Anna Vandenhoeck

Anna Vandenhoeck, PhD 
Professor and Chair of the Academic Centre for Practical Theology
Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies
KU Leuven University


    Monday, July 6, 2020 (All day) to Tuesday, July 7, 2020 (All day)

    Washington D.C.


    For inquiries, please contact:
    Dr. Christy DiFrances Remein
    E: cdremein@gwu.edu
    P: +1 202 994 3549

    The George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health (GWish)
    2600 Virginia Avenue NW, Suite 300
    Washington, D.C. 20037