By Kathryn Lyndes and Caterina Mako
The National Association of Catholic Chaplains shares a rich history with the Transforming Chaplaincy program. TC is equipping hospital chaplains to use research to guide, evaluate, and advocate for the spiritual care they provide. Funded by two grants totaling $4.5 million over four years from the John Templeton Foundation, with additional support from NACC, APC, NAJC, and ACPE, the project seeks to close the gap between hospital chaplains’ current limited research literacy and the importance of evidence-based care for all members of the healthcare team.
TC offers three key training opportunities:
1) Fellowships to research-oriented master’s degrees; 2) CPE development grants to build research literacy into CPE curricula; and 3) online research literacy education for chaplains.
Recognizing the value of research literacy for improved patient outcomes early on, the NACC committed full support to the Transforming Chaplaincy initiative by committing financial resources and the time and talents of its members. NACC member Caterina Mako, a Catholic lay woman who is director of chaplaincy for Catholic Health Services of Long Island in the Diocese of Rockville Centre, NY, has served on TC’s project advisory committee. Her role on the project is to review applications and select recipients for the fellowships and development grants, mentor fellows, and promote the programs.
Another NACC member, Allison DeLaney, is part of the first cohort of TC Fellows, earning a master’s in public health at Virginia Commonwealth University.
As well as having a presence on the advisory committee, NACC, along with the other major professional chaplaincy organizations, has been instrumental in supporting the online course. NACC’s financial pledge is making it possible for Virginia Commonwealth University to develop and implement the course, and, significantly, for members of NACC to take the course for free once it is available later this year.
As we realize the need to be more strategic in transforming the profession of chaplaincy, TC programs are expanding. An unforeseen benefit is the response we are receiving from healthcare chaplains who seek more opportunities to learn research and research literacy skills. TC responded by developing a Chaplain Research Summer Institute, a one-week training opportunity slated for July 24-28, 2017, in Chicago, IL, to equip chaplains to undertake simple but important research and quality improvement projects. NACC is offering scholarships for members to attend.
Only through collaboration do we create a better world and better spiritual care. NACC, in partnership with the major professional chaplaincy organizations, is proud to work alongside the dedicated and talented professionals who are leading the Transforming Chaplaincy initiative. We embrace the opportunity to work together for the greater good of chaplaincy and service to God’s people.
Caterina Mako, BCC, is system director of spiritual care and pastoral education for Catholic Health Service of Long Island in Rockville Centre, NY. Kathryn Lyndes, PhD, is the project coordinator for Transforming Chaplaincy and an assistant professor in the College of Health Sciences at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.