Events » Recommended Event: Chaplaincy Research Summer Institute

Recommended Event: Chaplaincy Research Summer Institute

Background and Purpose

Chaplains have embraced the importance of a research-informed approach to chaplaincy practice, including the importance of research literacy. The Transforming Chaplaincy project and other activities such as the APC Webinar Journal Club are helping chaplains to develop research literacy. Through the Chaplain Research Fellowships, Transforming Chaplaincy is also helping to develop a cohort of chaplains with the training to contribute to chaplaincy research. What is missing is an opportunity for chaplains with more limited time to develop the knowledge and skills that will enable them to undertake simple but important research and quality improvement projects. The purpose of the Chaplaincy Research Summer Institute (CRSI) is to equip chaplains with that knowledge and skills in a short-term intensive format with follow up. An additional purpose is to develop a network among novice and experienced chaplains engaged in chaplaincy research.

Audience and Content Overview

The audience for the CRSI includes chaplains who wish to develop modest projects to advance their understanding of chaplaincy-related issues and practices (e.g. religious and/or spiritual needs and resources of patients and families being served in a specific clinical context; pilot testing a new approach to screening for religious/spiritual need in a new clinical area) and chaplains who are providing leadership to chaplaincy quality improvement projects. The CRSI will also be useful for chaplains who plan to collaborate on research projects with other non-chaplain investigators as well as those planning chaplaincy-related DMin projects.

The content of the CRSI will provide participants with an introduction to the research process, to various methods relevant for chaplaincy research (e.g. case studies, qualitative and quantitative methods), and to important examples of existing chaplaincy-related research. The CRSI will include a number of hands-on activities, including using PubMed to conduct a literature search. Participants will also work in small groups to develop research questions and proposals which will be presented at the end of the conference. Participants in the midst of chaplaincy-related projects are welcome to bring those projects to work on through the week.

Content Detail

As seen in the Schedule (below) the CRSI content includes presentations, ‘under the hood’ discussions of important examples of chaplaincy-related research, and small consultation groups. There will also be time for optional sessions on using bibliographic software (EndNote) and consultations on data analysis.

Small Consultation Groups

Each participant will be assigned to a small consultation group that will meet three times during the Institute. The consultation groups will have no more than five participants and will be led by an experienced researcher. The groups will be a time when participants can get consultation that addresses their specific question about chaplaincy-related research. This may be questions related to developing a research project; for example selecting a research question or developing a research protocol. Or they may be questions related to a research project that is in process; for example questions about data analysis or interpretation, or presentations and publications. For the last morning two people from each consultation group will have an opportunity to make a presentation and receive feedback from all the participants at the Institute.

Follow Up

Following the CRSI participants will have the option to participate in a free monthly check in as they continue to develop and refine projects in their home contexts.


The CRSI will be led by George Fitchett, DMin, PhD, BCC, Professor and Director of Research, Department of Religion, Health and Human Values, Rush University Medical Center.

Additional onsite faculty includes:

Daniel H Grossoehme, DMin, BCC, Associate Professor, Division of Pulmonary Medicine and Staff Chaplain III, Department of Pastoral Care, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center.

Patricia Murphy, PhD, BCC, Associate Professor Departments of Religion, Health and Human Values and Department of Psychiatry and Staff Chaplain InPatient Psychiatry, Rush University Medical Center.

Kathryn Lyndes, PhD, MDiv, MSW, Assistant Professor, Department of Religion, Health and Human Values, Rush University Medical Center and Project Coordinator of Transforming Chaplaincy.

Additional faculty will participate by video conference.

Details, Registration and Application

The 2017 CRSI will be a four and a half day conference held July 24-28, 2017 and hosted by Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

Participation will be limited to 20 persons. Participants must be working or otherwise engaged as a chaplain, or providing consultation to chaplains, in a health-related context (hospital, clinic, hospice, long-term care).

Registration is $600 per person. It includes three dinners plus snacks during the sessions.

Participants will be responsible for their own travel (this includes travel to Chicago and in Chicago during the Institute), lodging, and breakfast, lunch and one dinner during the sessions. The Rush cafeteria is inexpensive and available for breakfast and lunch. There are many nearby restaurants with a range of cuisine and prices. Recommendations for reasonably priced lodging convenient to Rush are available at this link:  Estimate of Institute Expenses.


Application to the Institute consists of a one-page statement of interest including any relevant research experience and a resume. Applications should be submitted to: Kathryn Lyndes, Transforming Chaplaincy Project Coordinator ( Applications are due by March 15, 2017.

A non-refundable deposit of $200 will be required for those who are accepted for the Institute. The balance of the registration will be due on the first day of the Institute.

Sunday, July 24, 2016 (All day)

Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois