A Buddhist Chaplain at Alaska Medical Center

February 19, 2006

Source: Anchorage Daily News


On February 19, 2006 the Anchorage Daily News reported, "In the world of health care, chaplains play an important role in maintaining the human side of a hospital. A program at Providence Alaska Medical Center, the only one of its kind in the state, delivers the training chaplains need to balance medicine, the spirit and the tough questions that follow when the two meet. The Clinical Pastoral Education program is a satellite affiliate of the Stanford University Hospital program in Stanford, Calif. It brings theological students and ministers of all faiths into supervised encounters with people in crisis. Through classroom discussions and hours spent with patients, staff members and families, participants gain a new understanding of both ministry and chaplaincy... CPE intern Diane Johnson is ordained as a priest in Jodo Shinshu, or Shin Buddhism. Although her religious background differs from that of most of her patients and their families, it's rarely an issue. 'A chaplain is trained to talk to anybody of any faith, not to become the patient's minister,' Johnson said. 'My own religion doesn't need to enter the conversation. I'm there as a friend; I'm there for the patient'... The four other interns in the CPE class are a pastor from a Korean Presbyterian congregation, a Russian Orthodox deacon, a newly ordained Catholic priest and a spiritual care coordinator from Central Peninsula General Hospital in Soldotna."