Advancing Spiritual Care Through Research

The Birth of a European Research Institute for Chaplains in Healthcare (ERICH): Initiated by Chaplains for the Promotion of Research by Chaplains

On the 6 June the European Research Institute for Chaplains in Healthcare (ERICH) celebrated its launch at the University of Leuven, Belgium, in the company of over 180 chaplains, chaplaincy researchers and academics from 15 European countries. It was an energizing day of plenary presentations, discussion and networking. World leaders in the areas of integrating spirituality into healthcare and chaplaincy research education, Professor Christina Puchalski (George Washington Institute of Spirituality) and Prof George Fitchett (Rush University, Chicago), were the keynote speakers. Chaplaincy researchers from all over Europe shared their research practice, ideas and findings in a variety of formats. This article seeks to share some of the reasons to celebrate ERICH’s formation by describing its background, vision, makeup and planned activities.