Medical pioneer in linking spirituality, health care to give talk

contact: Mark Schwerin
| WMU News
Photo of Dr. Christina Puchalski.


KALAMAZOO—A medical doctor and international leader in the movement to integrate spirituality and health care in both the clinical setting and in medical education will speak early next month at Western Michigan University.

Dr. Christina Puchalski, director of the George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health and professor of medicine and health sciences in the George Washington University School of Medicine, will present a lecture and webinar at 4 p.m. Thursday, April 3, in the Fetzer Center's Kirsch Auditorium. Her presentation is free and open to the public, but specifically designed for health care and human services professionals who work in medicine, nursing, chaplaincy, mental health, hospice and social work settings. It will be followed by a reception in the Fetzer Center lobby.

In her presentation, titled "Spirituality and Health: The Foundations of Compassionate Care," Puchalski will address spiritual assessment and care, why it is important to patients and health care professionals and the ways spirituality impacts palliative and end of life care. While on campus, she also will conduct Grand Rounds with WMU faculty and students at the College of Health and Human Services and take part in other activities.

Christina Puchalski

As founder and director of the George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health, Puchalski continues to break new ground in the understanding and integration of spiritual care in a broad spectrum of health care environments. She developed the spiritual assessment tool known as FICA, which is widely used in clinical settings around the world.

Puchalski is an active board-certified clinician in internal medicine and palliative care and has received numerous awards, including the George Washington University Distinguished Alumni Award in recognition of her scholarship and leadership. She is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and a member of Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society.

Puchalski is widely published in journals, with work ranging from biochemistry research to issues in ethics, culture and spirituality and health care. She has written numerous book chapters and published a book with Oxford University Press titled "Time for Listening and Caring: Spirituality and the Care of the Seriously Ill and Dying." She also published "Making Health Care Whole" through Templeton Press.

The collaborative event is being spearheaded by the WMU Spirituality, Culture and Health online graduate certificate program and is sponsored by the College of Health and Human Services Bill Burian University-Community Lecture Series. Additional sponsors include the Department of Comparative Religion, Extended University Programs, the Center for the Study of Ethics in Society and the Medical Humanities Work Group.

Event registration

To register, visit or call (269) 387-4200.