A key aim for Transforming Chaplaincy is advancing chaplains’ involvement in research about religion/spirituality (R/S) and health and research about spiritual care with patients and their loved ones. To achieve this aim we are developing a group of research networks. The aim of the research networks is to bring together people who can plan and execute research to advance and strengthen spiritual care in general and in specific clinical contexts. The networks will also be places for sharing information and ideas about research. If you’d like to know more or get involved, fill out this form to be added to one or more research networks. You may also click the links embedded in any of the descriptions below to request to join a network.


Chaplaincy Functions

Convened by Nina Redl

The Chaplaincy Functions Research Network brings together chaplain researchers, chaplains, and non-chaplain researchers and clinicians with an interest in advancing knowledge about “activities” or “functions” of healthcare chaplains that are not specific to one patient population. Areas of focus would include: chaplain documentation, spiritual screening & assessment, chaplaincy and medical decision-making, chaplaincy and care for healthcare colleagues, case study research, and the impact of chaplain visits on patient satisfaction, to name just a few. The network will identify gaps in knowledge about chaplaincy functions, connect persons involved in research about a specific chaplain function, and seek funding to advance research in areas identified as priorities by the steering committee.

Chronic Illness / Chronic Disease

Convened by Geila Rajaee and Chuck Valenti-Hein

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 6 in 10 Americans have been diagnosed with at least one chronic disease. Chronic diseases are the leading causes of death and are responsible for approximately 90% of all healthcare expenditures. With this reality in mind, CIDRN has been established to engage thought-leaders, researchers, chaplains, and other collaborators to explore and participate in chaplaincy research in the area of chronic disease/illness. CIDRN will disseminate relevant research and other findings as well as foster connection between researchers and clinicians in our research area. As this network becomes established, we hope to create an opportunity for collaboration and research and to promote better understanding of the role of chaplains in the area of chronic disease prevention and intervention.


Convened by Alex Beth Schapiro and Bronwen Brown

The Outpatient Research Incubator brings together people with a shared interest in spiritual care research within outpatient settings (via in-person, phone, or mobile-health technology), including but not limited to outpatient oncology, surgery, and specialty centers.  We convene a monthly small-group of chaplains, chaplain researchers, non-chaplain researchers and clinicians, which is designed to facilitate communication about outpatient spiritual care research, and facilitate stronger, collaborative research projects.  We also disseminate up-to-date findings from research on outpatient spiritual care in a quarterly journal group.

Hospice & Palliative Spiritual Care

Convened by Paul Galchutt

The Hospice & Palliative Spiritual Care Chaplain Research Network engages the work of health care chaplaincy and what it means to help patients and families amid serious illness. The network disseminates research results/findings with the posting of links to peer-reviewed articles to presenting webinars involving the researcher(s). It also invites more active participation to consult with and collaborate among colleagues on research ideas or robust projects already in progress. Recognizing palliative care includes a wide range of environments that include inpatient, outpatient clinic, home care, and hospice realms, the Network strives to capture the work of chaplaincy as well as promote the difference it makes with the evidence base.


Convened by Cate Beaulieu-Desjardins and Amanda Borchik

The Pediatric Chaplain Research Network seeks to engage chaplains, chaplain researchers, and interdisciplinary researchers with an interest in pediatric medicine and spiritual care towards advancing knowledge about and around pediatric chaplaincy. The network will be an incubator for novel research in pediatric spiritual care, as well as supporting existing projects through networking, collaboration, and opportunities for dissemination. The network invites participants eager to learn more about research in pediatric spiritual care, or to engage in research relevant to a pediatric setting. The network will disseminate to members relevant recent published research, opportunities for education around research in spiritual care, opportunities for collaboration, and seek funding to promote research in pediatric spiritual care. Researchers and chaplains at all levels are welcome to join. A few areas of focus may include (but are not limited to) the role of spirituality related to parental medical decision-making in pediatrics, chaplaincy care in palliative and neonatal care, pediatric bereavement, spirituality in pediatric psychiatry, evidence-based chaplain interventions, and the difference chaplains make in pediatric settings. The network will seek to identify areas of priority in pediatric spiritual care research and empower teams of chaplain researchers towards addressing those areas.

Chaplaincy & Mental Healthcare Research Network

Convened by Tim Usset and Angelika Zollfrank

The Chaplaincy & Mental Healthcare Research Network  engages the work of health care chaplaincy and what it means to help individuals and families that have/are experiencing PTSD, moral injury, and spiritual distress. Current research in moral injury has focused largely on military/veteran populations. The PMSCRN continues work with those populations and looks to further understand the emerging concepts of moral injury and spiritual distress in other populations (such as first responders, healthcare workers, and refugees). The network disseminates research results/findings with the posting of links to peer-reviewed articles to presenting webinars involving the researcher(s). It also invites more active participation to consult with and collaborate among colleagues on research ideas or robust projects already in progress. The work of the PMSCRN will be applicable to a wide range of clinical environments that include inpatient, outpatient, and community/social media support groups. The PMSCRN strives to capture the work of chaplaincy as well as promote the difference it makes within the evidence base.

Spiritual Care Management

Convened by Benjamin Schaefer

The Spiritual Care Managers Network brings together chaplains who are serving in a leadership role or who have the goal of becoming a leader. This network serves as a place to discuss spiritual care leadership and a chaplain leaders role within an organization. We work to promote professional chaplaincy and its integration into health systems. Most chaplain leaders come into their role with little to no leadership training or experience and this network along with the Certificate in Spiritual Care Leadership and Management serve as tools to develop the leadership of our profession. The network hosts periodic virtual roundtable meetings and webinars to encourage dialogue and mutual learning. Some of the many themes we look at are: professional development, leading a department in times of change, using metrics in ways that tell the story of what chaplains do, and learning from peers.

Elder Care

Convened by Kathryn Lyndes and Sarah McEvoy

Elder Care Research Network

Psychedelic Care

The Psychedelic Care Network was created to convene professional healthcare chaplains and researchers who are engaged in or pursuing opportunities to begin psychedelic assisted therapies. Increasingly, health care professionals are supporting patients undergoing these novel treatments.  Given the spiritual, emotional, and religious material that often arises during psychedelic experiences, professional chaplains can play an important role in preparation, accompaniment, and integration.  This network will explore current research and emerging best practice relating to chaplain engagement in psychedelic-assisted therapy. This network will convene online monthly to discuss current research and emerging best practice in psychedelic-assisted therapy.


Network Conveners:

Rev. Steve Lewis, MA, DMin is a board certified Chaplain, serving at UC San Diego Health. He has worked extensively in critical care and palliative care environments, and is currently involved in multiple research projects. He has been engaging the emerging research in psychedelics for the past eight years, with a particular interest in understanding how spiritual care providers can provide helpful support for people received psychedelic assisted care. His work with the Psychedelic Care Network has focused on developing Core Competencies for Chaplains working in this space.


Rev. Dr. Bonnie Glass-Coffin is a Professor of Anthropology and an Affiliate Professor of Religious Studies at Utah State University in Logan, Utah, where she has taught since 1993. After completing a Master of Divinity degree in interfaith/interspiritual studies (with All Paths Divinity School in Los Angeles), and four units of clinical pastoral education with St. Mark’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah, she became a board-certified chaplain with the Association of Professional Chaplains in 2020. Although she grew up Presbyterian and Lutheran (and has deep affinity for Latin American Catholicism), she identifies, spiritually, with South American shamanism more than with any organized religious body. Since 2019, Bonnie has worked most weekends as part of the small but mighty professional spiritual care team at the University of Utah Hospital (a 700+ bed, Level I Trauma Center in Salt Lake City).

As a medical anthropologist, Bonnie has always worked at the intersections of health, culture, and spirit. She is perhaps best known for her long-term engagement with Peruvian shamanic healers who, for thousands of years, have utilized psychedelic plant-medicine teachers (entheogens) to pass “beyond the veil” of ordinary reality to teach and to heal their patients and their communities. Her books include: The Gift of Life: Female Spirituality and Healing in Northern Peru (University of New Mexico Press) and Lessons in Courage: Peruvian Shamanic Healing for Everyday Life (Rainbow Ridge Press). She has published in journals including the International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, Anthropology and Humanism, Anthropology of Consciousness (she also served as Managing Editor of this journal between 2007 and 2009), the Journal of Ritual Studies, and Zygon: the Journal of Religion and Science. Her interest in psychedelics is more than academic, however and she is currently undergoing a three-year apprenticeship to become a guide in psychedelic assisted therapy with a pilot program being offered by the founders of the StarRiver Sanctuary in Nelson, British Columbia.

As a professional spiritual care provider, Bonnie has tended patients, families, and staff in multiple specialized ICU’s and acute-care units throughout the six hospitals where she has worked since beginning her training to become a board-certified chaplain. As an academic, she frequently advocates for the importance of spiritual care at conferences and at her home institutions. She sees her participation in Transforming Chaplaincy’s Psychedelic Care Network as a logical outgrowth of her background and passion for entheogens, chaplaincy, and anthropology. She is excited about the possibility now braiding of these interests together in service to healing and Wholeness on many levels.


How to Join: 

This network is open to those engaged in professional healthcare chaplaincy practice or research. To submit a request to join, please complete this intake form.

This initiative receives support from The RiverStyx Foundation.





Convened by Steve Lewis and Bonnie Glass-Coffin

Psychedelic Care Research Network