Events » Interprofessional Train-the-Trainer Spiritual Care Education Curriculum (ISPEC)

Interprofessional Train-the-Trainer Spiritual Care Education Curriculum (ISPEC)

Tuesday, July 9, 2019 - 8:00am to Friday, July 12, 2019 - 11:45am

Ala Moana Hotel, Honolulu, Hawaii


Empirical evidence, patient and family experience, and theoretical frameworks support the critical role spirituality and spiritual care plays in the care of patients, particularly those 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 momentum calling for patients’ spirituality to be addressed, but they ‎often note lack of training as an important 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 an Interprofessional Spiritual care training program entitled "Interprofessional Spiritual Care Education Curriculum (ISPEC)".

ISPEC is the first curriculum at the global level that offers a theoretically and research-grounded curriculum for teaching interprofessional spiritual care. This innovative training program builds on the investigators’ previous experience in developing the GWish Templeton Reflection Rounds, ELNEC Project, and online training programs. Curricular development forms the ‎basis of a train-the-trainer  program to build leaders, consultants, advocates, and ‎knowledgeable ‎clinicians who can educate, empower, and guide other healthcare professionals at their institute ‎in the ‎integration of spirituality in healthcare.‎ The ISPEC curriculum appropriate for interprofessional pairs of clinicians (e.g. physicians, nurses, social workers, psychologists, and other professions) and chaplains, and will prepare them to attend to patients’ spiritual needs and resources as an integral part of their practice.

Co-Directors: Christina Puchalski, MD, FACP, FAAHPM & Betty Ferrell, RN, PhD, FAAN, FPCN

Faculty Members:

  • Christina Puchalski, MD, FACP, FAAHP, George University's Institute for Spirituality and Health (GWish)
  • Anke Flohr, MDiv, BCC, Pacific Health Ministry
  • Daniel Fischberg, MD, Pacific Health Ministry
  • Al Miles, MDiv, BCC, Pacific Health Ministry
  • Marvin Delgado, MD, The University of texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Rev. Richard W. Bauer, MM, BCC, LCSW, Eastern Deanery AIDS Relief Program, Nairobi
  • Trace Haythorn, PhD, The Assosciation for Clinical Pastoral Education
  • Noreen Chan, MD, FAMS, National University Cancer Institute (NCIS), Singapore
  • Tami Borneman, RN, FPCN, City of Hope National Medical Center
  • and others

The ISPEC Train-the-Trainer program is two and one-half (2 1/2) day training, providing lectures, case study reviews, panel discussions, and lab sessions: 

  • 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

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Clinicians from diverse professional backgrounds (MD, RN, NP, PA, Social work, Psychologists, PT/OT, etc.) paired with chaplains or spiritual care professionals.
  • Each of the clinician-chaplain teams can come from different clinical settings, including hospital, hospice, long term care, outpatient, etc.

There will only be 60 participants (30 pairs) selected for this training program through a competitive application review process. 

If you work in a setting where it it not possible to fit into the Clinician-Chaplain paring model and would like to participate as individual, please contact Dr. Najmeh Jafari, at  

Registration Fee:

Selected participants are eligible for Discounted Fee of $390 per participants ($780 per team) that covers:

  • 2.5-day ISPEC Train-the-Trainer program
  • Free, unlimited, one-year access to ‎the ISPEC online course for their entire organization
  • 16.75 continuing education credits
  • 400+ pages course syllabus and resources
  • Morning and afternon snacks.

For more information about the application process, please review the Request for Applications. The deadline for applications is March 8, 2019. 

For more information, please contact Dr. Najmeh Jafari at