Advancing Spiritual Care Through Research

Celebrating Graduates of the 2023 Chaplaincy Research Summer Institute (CRSI) 

Csaba Szilagyi, MDiv, MLA, MS, ACPE, FACHE

Director, Transforming ChaplaincyAssistant Professor and Director of ResearchDepartment of Religion, Health and Human ValuesRush University Medical Center

CRSI 2023  Faculty and Students, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles

We recently wrapped up Transforming Chaplaincy’s week-long in-person research institute, also known as “summer camp,” hosted at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles (July 17-21). The Chaplaincy Research Summer Institute (CRSI) aims to help chaplains develop research literacy, understand different research approaches, appreciate the existing body of chaplaincy research, and network with novice and experienced chaplains engaged in chaplaincy research. The week included didactic presentations about research methods, “Under the Hood” presentations about their research by the faculty, small groups where participants had an opportunity to discuss their research interests, and presentations about emerging research by selected participants.

Gratitude is the first to come to mind as I reflect on our experience. Our twenty-six participants’ energy, curiosity, and engagement throughout the week impressed me. They brought their passion for chaplaincy and learning. The summer camp allowed us to connect with each other from a range of diverse backgrounds. We learned from and supported each other. Summer camp helped me connect more deeply with my chaplain colleagues whom Transforming Chaplaincy serves and with our purpose to “integrate research into professional practice and education by fostering a culture of inquiry.” I left the week energized and excited about the future of our profession and Transforming Chaplaincy. It also helped me reflect on my journey since I attended CRSI as a participant in 2018.

The following word cloud represents participants’ perspectives as they reflected on their experiences at the end of the week.


Let me bring a few more voices to illustrate how participants felt about the research institute.

“It was fun! I found the teachers to be warm and welcoming; the participants interesting and interested; the sessions informative and engaging; and was amazed by the sense of community that was developed in such a short time!”

“Not only does CRSI educate chaplains to be research literate, but also spawns ideas on doing research themselves, which is sorely needed in our profession. It also helps chaplains develop support networks as they step into the research world, knowing they are not alone.”

“Such a wonderful opportunity for growth and learning as well as collegial support – I feel energized, inspired, and connected! Thank you!”

Deep gratitude goes to George Fitchett, Kate Piderman, Annelieke Damen, Shelley Varner Perez, and Andy Andresco for their expertise, their passion for this work, and for creating a generative and encouraging space for learning. Many thanks to Jason Weiner, Pamela Lazor, and the Spiritual Care Department at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for their hospitality.
Stay tuned for more reflections from our CRSI participants.

Keep an eye out for information and dates for the 2024 research institute.

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