Sunday, July 13, 2014 12:00 AM

Growing Chaplains for the Valley

Hospital patients respond better to care when their spiritual needs are addressed, but until recently the closest chaplain training program was three hours away. To fill that need, Community collaborated with local hospitals, faith-based educators and Stanford University to establish Clinical Pastoral Education of Central California.

elder lady laying in hospital bedThe non-profit training program is accredited through Stanford and provides classroom instruction and direct-patient contact in Fresno, concentrating on how to meet. The center’s goal is for every hospital and service agency in the region to have qualified and accredited spiritual counselors and chaplains.

“It’s going to benefit the community tremendously to have people who are trained to provide spiritual care in a multicultural setting – open minded, nonjudgmental, and focused on the spiritual needs of the person to whom they are ministering,” said Rev. Grimaldo Enriquez, chaplain services supervisor for Community. “Patients who have their spiritual needs addressed heal quicker, use less pain medications and tend to have shorter hospital stays.”

Community provides round-the-clock spiritual care to patients and their families with a team of 20 volunteers, two interns, three staff chaplains and three per-diem chaplains.

Erin Kennedy reported this story. Reach her at