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GWish Awards for Excellence in Interprofessional Spiritual Care

In 2016, GWish inaugurated the GWish Award for Excellence in Interprofessional Spiritual Care to honor healthcare and spiritual care professionals from all over the world for their commitment to and leadership in advancing spiritually-centered compassionate care through clinical care, education, research and/or advocacy.

GWish aims to improve the quality of care that our patients all over the world receive and the quality of professional development our students receive to prepare them for their work of service to others. Spiritual health is an essential part of the care of the whole person, especially for those who are suffering from spiritual and existential distress. The recipients of this award have shown exemplary service to further compassionate spiritual care.

The following have been the distinguished recipients of the GWish Award for Excellence in Interprofessional Spiritual Care:

2019: Marvin Omer Delgado Guay, MD, FAAHPM

Marvin Omer DelgadoDr. Marvin Delgado, MD, graduated from Michael Reese Hospital, Chicago IL. He completed a Geriatric Medicine Fellowship at Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA and a Clinical and Research Fellowship in Symptom Control and Palliative Care at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX. From 2008 to 2011 Dr. Delgado coordinated the palliative care services and participated in the Geriatrics Services at Lyndon B. Johnson General Hospital, The University of Texas Medical School, and Houston, TX.

Currently, Dr. Delgado is an Associate Professor in the Department of Palliative, Rehabilitation, and Integrative Medicine at MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston TX, where he provides symptom control and palliative care services to patients with advanced cancer and their caregivers.


2018: Anne Vandenhoeck, PhD

Anne VandenhoeckAs a Belgian Catholic chaplain, Dr. Anne Vandenhoeck worked for more than 13 years in multiple hospitals: General Hospital A.Z. Damiaan in Oostende (2 years), University Hospital UZ. Gasthuisberg (10 years), CPE in UCSF San Francisco (3 months), Barnes Jewish Hospital St. Louis Missouri (1 year). She holds a PhD in Pastoral Theology and in addition to her academic work she is a board member of the professional association for catholic chaplains in Belgium.

Currently, Dr. Vandenhoeck is a professor of pastoral care and pastoral theology, chair of the academic center for practical theology KU Leuven (Belgium) and founding member of the European Research Center for Chaplaincy.


2017: Carolyn Jacobs, MSW, PhD

Carolyn JacobsWith the goal of helping others foremost in her mind, Carolyn Jacobs, MSW, PhD earned her bachelor’s degree at Sacramento State University and her master of social work degree at San Diego State University. Her training as a spiritual director took place at Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation. Dr. Jacobs retired in May 2015 from Smith College where she served as dean of the School of Social Work and Elizabeth Marting Treuhaft Professor.

Dr. Jacobs currently serves on the board of directors for the Mind & Life Institute in Charlottesville, VA, the board of trustees for Elms College in Chicopee, MA and Naropa University in Boulder, CO, and the advisory committee for the Montague Catholic Social Ministries.

2016: Betty Ferrell, PhD, MA, FAAN, FPCN, CHPN

Betty FerrellDr. Ferrell completed a Master’s degree in theology, ethics, and culture from Claremont Graduate University in 2007. She has authored eleven books including the Oxford Textbook of Palliative Nursing published by Oxford University Press (4th edition published in 2015). She is co-author of the text, The Nature of Suffering and the Goals of Nursing published in 2008 by Oxford University Press and Making Health Care Whole: Integrating Spirituality into Patient Care (Templeton Press, 2010). In 2013 Dr. Ferrell was named one of the 30 Visionaries in the field by the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.

Currently, Dr. Ferrell is the Director of Nursing Research & Education and a Professor at the City of Hope Medical Center in Duarte, California. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and Principal Investigator of a Research Project funded by the  National Cancer Institute on  “Palliative Care for Patients with Solid Tumors Phase 1 Clinical Trials” and Principal Investigator on the “End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC)” project.