National Competencies in Spirituality and Health

Initiative to Develop National Competencies in Spirituality and Health

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With funding from the F.I.S.H. Foundation, GWish is leading an Initiative to Develop National Competencies in Spirituality and Health. The initiative seeks to create a new national approach to spirituality and medicine evaluation and a new paradigm of research that links methods with individual change as a means to improve practice. Such competencies will provide the basis of national work that will ensure the sustainability of medical education curricula and also set the stage for developing interprofessional and team learning practice.

As part of the initiative, GWish hosted a conference on November 19-22, 2009 at the Airlie Center in Warrenton, Virginia. This conference was attended by an interprofessional group of health care professionals chosen from participating schools, including physicians, residents, nurses, chaplains, deans and medical students. Participants developed medical school competencies, as well as methods of assessment and evaluation in six areas:

  • Knowledge: Acquire the foundational knowledge necessary in integrating spirituality in the care of patients.
  • Patient Care: Integrate spirituality into daily clinical practice.
  • Communication: Communicate with patients, family and health care team about spiritual issues.
  • Compassionate Presence: Establish, and action with patients, family and colleagues.
  • Professional Development: Incorporate spirituality into professional development.
  • Health Systems: Apply knowledge of health care systems to advocate for spirituality in patient care.

This initiative was piloted and integrated into the following medical schools:

  • Albert Einstein College of Medicine
  • KCUMB Institute for Medical Education Innovation, Kansas City
  • Loyola University, Chicago, Stritch School of Medicine
  • University of California, Los Angeles
  • University of Louisville School of Medicine
  • University of Minnesota Medical School
  • University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

The project leaders and all the Initiative's participants are grateful to the F.I.S.H. Foundation for its generous support of this timely and historic project. Moving forward, we will work together to grow the field of Spirituality and Health and to further build a strong community of health care professionals who share our purpose.