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GWish Receives Grant to Provide Spiritual Care Training to VAMC Health Care Providers

WASHINGTON - The George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health (GWish) has received a one year, $300,000 contract from the Washington DC Veterans Affairs Medical Center (DCVAMC) to provide five training modules in spiritual care to the interdisciplinary health care providers. The training is funded by LIVe ( Lifestyle Intervention for Veterans), a pilot program, developed under the leadership of Raya Kheirbek, M.D., Deputy Chief of Staff, for diabetic veterans. The LIVe program offers a holistic approach that integrates exercise, nutrition, spiritual support, and music and art therapy, in addition to medical treatments, with the goal of improving veterans’ health, longevity, and quality of life.  

“Increasingly more healthcare providers are recognizing that spirituality, broadly defined, is an essential element of patient-centered care,” said Christina Puchalski, M.D. '94, RESD '97, founder and director of GWish. “This grant will enable health care providers to attend to all dimensions of patient care resulting in more holistic treatment plans that take into account patients' beliefs, values and what gives them meaning. We are excited to be able to collaborate with the Washington DC VA Medical Center on this important project.”

GWish also will develop a curriculum focused on the relationship between spirituality and wellness that chaplains will use during individual and group sessions with LIVe program participants. GWish will conduct a quality assessment to measure the effectiveness of the training modules and partner with LIVe leadership to write a paper for publication on the findings of the eight-week program. 

About GWish

GWish’s mission is to restore the heart and humanity of medicine. The Institute is focused on increased attention to the spiritual needs of patients, families, and health care professionals through research, education, and policy. Under the direction of founder Christina M. Puchalski, M.D., GWish is changing the face of health care through innovative programs that create compassionate and patient-centered health care environments that improve the quality of patient care and support healthcare providers’ call to serve. Over the past 15 years, GWish has had a major impact on medical education, professional education, and clinical programs locally, nationally, and internationally. For additional information on GWish’s role in the LIVe VA program, please call 202-994-6220