ISPEC© Training Course

Clinician with mother and child

Interprofessional Spiritual Care Education Curriculum [ISPEC©] (VIRTUAL)
October 26-27, 2023


UPDATE: The application deadline has been extended to October 18th, due to the inquiries we've received since our ISPEC© informational webinar.

The ISPEC© training course provides a unique opportunity for clinicians and chaplain pairs from the same health setting to learn how to integrate spiritual care into patient care throughout their organization.

illustration of doctor with patients - ISPEC

For Clinicians: Learn how to skillfully integrate spiritual care into your clinical practice and how to teach your colleagues basic concepts so they can offer this type of care, too.

For Chaplains: Work together with your clinician partner to teach and bring spiritual care to multiple touchpoints across your organization, so the ability to recognize and address spiritual distress becomes a standard part of patient care.

The ISPEC© course is designed around the Generalist Specialist model of professional spiritual care, in which clinicians (generalists) collaborate with spiritual care specialists (e.g., board-certified chaplains). The ability to integrate spiritual care into health settings as a standard part of whole person care necessarily involves a collaborative effort by clinicians and chaplains working together to provide spiritual care to patients and families.

If you feel that addressing spiritual health is an important part of treating the patients you serve, join us at ISPEC© 2023. One clinician, one chaplain at a time, we can impact organizations and healthcare systems to offer this deeply beneficial care to the patients who need it most.

We are grateful to The John Templeton Foundation for their generous support of ISPEC 2023 and our ability to offer significantly reduced course fees. Valued at over $500, the October 2023 ISPEC is being offered at $260 per person.

2023 ISPEC will be held via Zoom on October 26-27.

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Application deadline October 18th.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is Covered in the ISPEC© Course?

The purpose of this course is to educate clinician/chaplain pairs from the same health setting: for clinicians, skills to integrate spiritual care into their clinical practice and teach concepts to others in the organization, for chaplains, the opportunity to partner with a clinician to achieve a broader, more systemic reach across the institution.

Topics include:

  • Guidelines and models
  • Spiritual Distress
  • Compassionate Presence Communication about Spiritual Issues and Spiritual Assessment
  • Whole Person Assessment and Treatment Plan
  • Ethics and Professional Development
  • Skills to teach others

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What is the Schedule for the ISPEC© Course?

ISPEC will be held virtually on October 26-27, 2023:

October 26: 11:00AM-5:30PM EDT, U.S.
October 27: 11:00AM-6:30PM EDT, U.S.


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Who Should Apply?
  • Clinicians from different professions (Medicine, Nursing, PAs, NPs, Social work, Psychology, Physical therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, etc.) who work with patients with chronic and/or serious illness are eligible to apply.
  • Each organization’s team should include one clinician and one chaplain.*
  • We are excited to announce pediatric content is now integrated in ISPEC modules. We encourage pediatric clinician/chaplains to apply.

*We realize that not all settings have board certified chaplains. On a case-by-case basis, we will consider applicants who apply without a partner, but their goals must include a plan to return to their organization and collaborate with others. For more information, please contact Cherron Gardner Thomas at

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Who is on the ISPEC© FACULTY?
Christina Puchalski
Christina Puchalski, MD, MS, OCDS, FACP, FAAHPM, George Washington University's Institute for Spirituality and Health (GWish)
Betty Ferrell
Betty Ferrell, PhD, RN, MA, FAAN, FPCN, CHPN, City of Hope National Medical Center
Tracy Balboni
Tracy Balboni MD, MPH, FAAHPM, Harvard Medical School
Richard W. Bauer
Rev. Richard W. Bauer, MM, BCC, MSW, George Washington University Institute for Spirituality and Health (GWish); Chaplain, Children's National Hospital and GWU Hospital
Benjamin "Jim" Blatt
Benjamin "Jim" Blatt, MD, The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences
Noreen Chan
Noreen Chan, MD, FAMS, National University Cancer Institute (NCIS), Singapore
Marvin Delgado
Marvin Delgado, MD, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Paul Galchutt
Paul Galchutt, MPH, MDiv, BCC, University of Minnesota Medical Center
Carolyn Jacobs
Carolyn Jacobs, PhD, MSW, Smith College School for Social Work
Anne Vandenhoeck
Anne Vandenhoeck, PhD, KU Leuven University, Belgium
Elisha Waldman
Elisha Waldman, MD, Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital, Chicago.


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What is Included in My Registration?
  • 2-day training course delivered through lectures, case studies, panel discussions, small group sessions/role-play.
  • Free one-year individual access to the ISPEC© online self-study course.
  • Attendees receive a one-year post-course mentorship from leading faculty to help with goal development and implementation.
  • Certificate of completion, continuing education credits: The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACGME) to provide continuing education credits to physicians, nurses, and physician assistants. Other attendees receive a certificate of completion to submit to their accrediting bodies for consideration of credits.
  • Course syllabus and resources.

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What is My Commitment as a Participant?
  • Attendance is required for both days. No partial CE credits will be given.
  • Commit to teaching ISPEC modules to colleagues at your institution (using the online self-study course) and teaching skills learned in the ISPEC© course.
  • Commit to implementing goals in your organization.
  • Agree to attend one-hour webinar every other month for one-year post-course to share success stories, get help with obstacles, and strengthen your skills.
  • Your field experience helps us keep ISPEC© relevant and impactful. Participation in this course requires the completion of follow-up evaluations at three-, six-, and twelve-months post-course.

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Will I Get CE Credits for Completing the ISPEC© Course?

The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACGME) to provide continuing education credits to physicians and nurses. Other attendees receive a certificate of completion to submit to their accrediting bodies for consideration of credits.

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Due to a generous grant from The John Templeton Foundation, the regular course fees have been significantly reduced. Valued at over $500, the October 2023 ISPEC is being offered at $260 per person. Fees are as follows and are due upon acceptance and registration for the course:

  • Regular Attendees (per Individual): $260

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Are Scholarships Available?

Thanks to generous donor support, we are pleased to offer scholarships to the October 2023 virtual course to qualified participants practicing in underserved communities or clinical settings. Scholarships cover the ISPEC registration fee; funds are limited and not guaranteed.

Apply for Scholarships

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Questions? Please contact Cherron Gardner Thomas at

©Copyright GWish and The George Washington University, 2018, updated 2022. All rights reserved. No excerpts, translations, or adaptations may be created without written permission.