The initial Transforming Chaplaincy project, supported by the John F. Templeton Foundation, was guided by an Advisory Committee composed of chaplaincy practitioners, educators, administrators, and researchers. They’re leaders in research-informed chaplaincy and continue to play a key role in the development of Transforming Chaplaincy.

Advisory Committee

Wendy Cadge, PhD

Wendy Cadge, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Sociology and Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program. She is the Social Science Division Head and Senior Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives in the School of Arts & Sciences. She teaches and writes about religion in the contemporary United States, especially as related to health care, immigration and sexuality. She is the author of Heartwood: The First Generation of Theravada Buddhism in America (University of Chicago Press, 2005), Paging God: Religion in the Halls of Medicine (University of Chicago Press, 2012) and numerous articles including recent ones on airport chaplains, the role of religion on hospital ethics committees, and the development of chaplaincy as a profession. She founded and co-directed the Transforming Chaplaincy Project from 2015 to 2019, and in 2018 launched the Chaplaincy Innovation Lab. An award-winning teacher, she has published more than seventy-five articles and raised more than $6.5 million in support of her own research and teaching and that of colleagues.

LaVera Crawley, MD, MPH, OFS

LaVera Crawley, MD, MPH, OFS sees transformation and spirituality as the guiding forces throughout her professional career – first as a primary care physician on the Navajo Indian Reservation and later as an empirical bioethicist at Stanford University, and palliative care chaplain and ACPE Certified Educator with the Sutter Health System in Northern California. Her previous academic career in bioethics focused on social justice in end-of-life healthcare funded through NIH and private foundation grants. She has authored numerous articles, monographs, and book chapters exploring race-based inequities in US healthcare as well as contemplative approaches to spiritual caregiving. LaVera has also served as an expert on racial, ethnic, and cultural issues for the NIH State-of-the-Science of End of Life (EOL) Care Consensus Conference; was commissioned by the California Healthcare Foundation to conduct an in-depth summary of EOL health care delivery for California’s multi-ethnic, multicultural, and racially diverse population; and completed a 3-year appointment as an ethics advisor for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She was honored with the Soros Faculty Scholars Award for the Open Society Institute’s Project on Death in America, The Howard Temin Award from the National Cancer Institute, and the Stanford University Faculty Fellows Award. Her first formal role in leadership was as a member of the Board of Directors of Fr. Richard Rohr’s Center for Action and Contemplation, where she served as Chair of the Board.  When she became Director of Spiritual Care Services for the California Pacific Medical Center, she recognized her need to further her skills and competencies in spiritual leadership and joined the inaugural class of Transforming Chaplaincy’s Spiritual Care Leadership and Management Program. She now directs that program for Transforming Chaplaincy. Her favorite pastimes are spending time in and maintaining the small contemplative garden sanctuary in her Oakland, California home and having fun with her beloved family – her husband, Alec, and son, Samuel

Theresa Vithayathil Edmonson, MDiv

Theresa Vithayathil Edmonson serves as the Vice President of Spiritual Health for Providence St. Joseph Health since March 2021.  Theresa most recently served PeaceHealth as Interim System VP for Mission, Theology, & Ethics and as the System Director, Spiritual Care & Mission Integration. She is well known to many at Providence as she served as a chaplain and Mission leader in various settings from 1996 to 2015.   Theresa’s professional experience includes expertise in chaplaincy (board certified with NACC), diversity and inclusion awareness, and leadership formation.  She is actively involved in the promotion of professional chaplaincy, with past service on the NACC Board of Directors and currently on the CHA Spiritual Care Advisory Committee.  She is also actively involved in the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon, currently serving as the chairperson for the Board of Directors for Catholic Charities of Oregon.  Theresa has a Master of Divinity degree from the University of Notre Dame, where she also received her undergraduate degree. Theresa is a native Oregonian and child of Indian immigrants. She is married to Brett and is the proud mother of Catherine and Joseph.  Theresa is an avid sports fan, especially during college football and women’s college basketball seasons. Theresa spends her personal time with immediate and extended family and cheering on her favorite sports teams (and until very recently, those with her favorite players…her children).

Andrew Garman, MS, PsyD

Andy Garman splits his time between Rush University, where he is a Professor in the Department of Health System management, and the National Center for Healthcare Leadership (NCHL).  In his faculty role at Rush, he teaches and conducts research on leadership, governance, organizational change, strategic foresight and decision-making. In his role with NCHL, Andy oversees a portfolio of research programs and inter-organizational collaboratives that help organizations strengthen their leadership development systems to improve health care.  Andy has contributed to many peer-reviewed papers and book chapters as well as four books, including “The future of healthcare: Global trends worth watching” and “Exceptional Leadership: 16 critical competencies for healthcare executives,” now in its second edition.

Robyn Golden, LCSW

Robyn Golden, LCSW, serves as the Associate Vice President of Population Health and Aging at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago where she also holds academic appointments in the Departments of Medicine, Nursing, Psychiatry, and Health Systems Management. She is responsible for developing and overseeing health promotion and disease prevention, mental health, care coordination, and transitional care services for older adults, family caregivers, and people with chronic conditions. Ms. Golden is key to the development of interprofessional models of care for Rush’s population health programs. She is currently the Principal Investigator for the HRSA Funded Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program and the Commonwealth Funded Primary Care Redesign Project.  For over 30 years, Ms. Golden has been actively involved in service provision, program development, interprofessional education, research and public policy aimed at developing innovative initiatives and systems integration to improve health and well-being. In 2003-04, she was the John Heinz Senate Fellow based in the office of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in Washington, D.C. Ms. Golden is also a past chair of American Society on Aging and currently co-chairs the National Coalition on Care Coordination. She also is a fellow of the Gerontological Society of America and of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare, and is an NASW Social Work Pioneer. She received the Gerontological Society of America’s 2017 Maxwell A. Pollack Award for Productive Aging and is currently serving as a member of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s committee studying the Integration of Social Needs Care into the Delivery of Health Care. Ms. Golden holds a Master’s degree from the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago and Bachelor’s degree from Miami University.

Trace Haythorn, PhD

The Reverend Dr. Trace Haythorn joined the staff of the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc. (ACPE) in 2013 as executive director. Prior to coming to ACPE, Trace served as the executive director of the Frazer Center in Atlanta; President of the Fund for Theological Education in Atlanta; professor and program director at Hastings College in Hastings, NE; and associate pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Nashville, TN. He completed his Ph.D. in cultural foundations of education at Syracuse University, a masters of divinity at Princeton Theological Seminary, and a bachelor of arts at Austin College (Sherman, TX). With Wendy Cadge and Michael Skaggs, Trace founded the Chaplaincy Innovation Lab, a close partner of Transforming Chaplaincy.  Trace is married to the Reverend Mary Anona Stoops, and they have two children, Jacob and Martha. When he is not working for ACPE, Trace loves to read, bike, go to the theater, bake and brew beer, though not all at the same time.

Ronald Oliver, PhD, MBA, BCC

The Rev. Ronald C. Oliver, Ph.D., MBA, BCC lives in Louisville, Kentucky where he serves as Norton Healthcare’s system vice president, Mission and Outreach.  He joined Norton 1989 as a chaplain resident, then as staff chaplain for the pediatric intensive care unit, then director of Pastoral Care, and 2009 he began his current role.  He is a board certified chaplain through the affiliate of the Association of Professional Chaplains and for 2018-2019 served as APC President.  For the American Red Cross he served as a team leader for several disaster responses and on its Spiritual Care Administrative Team.  Oliver is an adjunct instructor for Bellarmine University, a member of the board of trustees for the Baptist Seminary of Kentucky, and serves on the Young Professionals of Louisville Advisory Board.

Antonina Olszewski, MSQ

Antonina Olszewski was raised on the US Virgin Island of St. Thomas prior to moving to the San Francisco Bay Area. Antonina attended Boston University, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, and Marion University. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Biochemistry, Genetics and History, and a Master’s of Science in Organizational Leadership and Quality with an emphasis on Servant Leadership. Additionally, she holds multiple Executive Certificates from the University of Wisconsin Madison Graduate School of Business and Cornell University, and carries a diploma as a Certified Nursing Assistant.  Antonina has worked for Ascension health (or one of its legacy systems) since 2010. She has held roles as Foundation Director, Director of Community Health, Director of Mission Integration, and Director of Spiritual Services prior to her current position as Vice President of Spiritual Services for Ascension. She sits on the ABIDE Collaborative Team which is working to integrate a comprehensive national Diversity, Equality and Equity strategy throughout Ascension and the communities in which it operates.  Prior to her transition to Catholic Healthcare, Antonina was the Program Coordinator for the Women Wellness program at the Marshfield Clinic.  She has a history of working in the financial industry in both Europe and the United States, and has taught as an adjunct professor for colleges in both Austria and Germany. On the personal side, Antonina is a published writer and long-time art collector, and speaks fluent German.  Antonina has served on various national committees for both the Association for Community Health Improvement (ACHI) and the Association of Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP). She has participated as a member on numerous community boards including The United Way, The American Cancer Society, The Community Center of Hope, The Rural Health Initiative, and the Milwaukee Health Care Partnership. Her involvement with children has included work with the Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin, where she joined the Executive Committee of the BOD in 2020, Healthy Marathon County and Blessings in a Backpack. However, Antonina is most proud of her work with victims of human trafficking and domestic and sexual assault through her participation on the Board of Directors for The Women’s Community—where she was past president—and her participation in the development of the human trafficking training modules used nationally throughout Ascension

Clayton L. Thomason, JD, MDiv

Clayton L. Thomason, JD, MDiv, holds the Bishop Anderson Endowed Chair of Religion and Ethics in Medicine and is chairperson of the Department of Religion, Health and Human Values and director of the health care ethics program. The department provides spiritual care and ethics consultation services to the medical center and hosts one of the nation’s leading programs in clinical pastoral education, an innovative research program in spirituality and health as well as education programs in health care ethics. He serves on the board of the Chicago End of Life Care Coalition and the POLST Illinois Leadership Taskforce, is a trustee of the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale University and of St. Augustine College in Chicago and was elected in 2011 as a Fellow of the Institute of Medicine of Chicago. Thomason has published and taught in the fields of biochemistry, bioethics, law, medical education and spirituality. His work focuses on Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) on congregational wellness to address health disparities, bioethics and law, the role of virtue in professional development and public policy in palliative and end-of-life care.

Alexia Torke, MS, MD

Alexia (Lexy) Torke, M.D. is an Associate Professor of Medicine and Associate Division Chief of General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, Indiana University School of Medicine. She is a Research Scientist with the Indiana University Center for Aging Research at Regenstrief Institute and Director of the Evans Center for Religious and Spiritual Values in Healthcare. Dr. Torke received her undergraduate degree from Carleton College and her M.D. from Indiana University.  She completed her residency in Primary Care-Internal Medicine at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. Dr. Torke completed further training at the University of Chicago from 2005-2007 through a fellowship in Primary Care Health Services Research and Ethics, funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration.  Dr. Torke’s research focuses on ethical, communication and spiritual aspects of medical decision making for older adults. Her current research focuses on surrogate decision making for older adults with dementia and other forms of cognitive impairment.  Her research has been published in Archives of Internal Medicine, the Journal of General Internal Medicine and the Journal of Clinical Ethics and she has received funding from the NIH, the Greenwall Foundation and other foundation sources. She practices outpatient palliative care at IU Health Methodist Hospital.