Spiritual Care Association gains global footprint, expands into Asia

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Spiritual Care Association has begun working with liaisons in India, Israel, Shanghai and Singapore to promote optimal spiritual health in their areas, primarily by providing chaplains with opportunities for enhanced education and sharing of best practices and resources to serve patients and their families in hospitals and other health care settings.
“Spiritual care is a universal issue and a universal need,” said Rev. Eric J. Hall, SCA’s president and CEO. “It’s time for every country to bring this aspect of health care to the forefront to give patients what they want and need for optimal whole-person care. Educating chaplains with knowledge and best practices based on the latest research can help accelerate this transformation.”
The collaborations in Asia are part of SCA’s plans to establish a global footprint in order to further integrate chaplaincy into health care worldwide. Established in April, the New York-based SCA is a multidisciplinary professional membership organization for spiritual care providers focused on advancing evidence-based education, clinical care, and chaplaincy certification, and promoting spiritual care-related resources and advocacy around the world. In just a few months, the organization has grown to nearly 1,000 members.
SCA’s efforts align with the World Health Organization’s inclusion of spiritual health as one of the four dimensions to well-being. Research evidence is building to demonstrate that: spiritual care is a vital aspect of whole-person care; spiritual/religious beliefs and practices can positively impact physical and mental health, thereby helping to reduce health care costs; and spiritual care has innate value in improving patient experience, including better quality of life.
In India, for example, the concept of spiritual care for patients is largely unknown, except in a few Christian hospitals that have chaplains, according to Rev. Vilbert Vallance, who is serving as SCA’s liaison in that country.
“Although our culture has deep-rooted spiritual issues, the ministry of chaplaincy is neglected and even taken for granted,’ he said. “SCA will come in handy to equip chaplains.”
Similarly, in Shanghai, “People who are looking for mental health and spiritual care are extremely underserved. A few doctors or staff members might step into the void in spiritual care programs at the city’s hospitals, but no one is really trained nor is there any system so most of the needy cases fall between the cracks,” said Robert Applegate, SCA’s Shanghai liaison. “I am looking forward to working with SCA to bring world-class training to Shanghai.”
About the Spiritual Care Association
The Spiritual Care Association (SCA) is the first multidisciplinary, international professional membership association for spiritual care providers that establishes evidence-based quality indicators, scope of practice, and a knowledge base for spiritual care in health care. The nonprofit SCA is an affiliate of HealthCare Chaplaincy Network™ (HCCN), a health care nonprofit organization founded in 1961, which provides spiritual care-related information and professional chaplaincy services in hospitals, other health care settings, and online. Visit www.spiritualcareassociation.org and connect on twitter and facebook.

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