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Of Special Interest to Parents

Spiritual Ministry Department

The Spiritual Ministry Department provides resources and support for patients and their families as they become participants in research protocols. The word "spiritual" can have many meanings. "Ministry" is assisting persons to relate with the holy, the divine, and the sacred. Whether acute or chronic, illness and diagnosis can raise many questions about meaning, purpose, and the future, including anticipated crises.

Our role

When you are on a research study, the focus is on diagnosis and treatment of illness. In the Spiritual Ministry Department, we see ourselves as guides in the journey to health and wholeness. Like the other team members who serve pediatric patients, chaplains are equipped to enter the child's world with sensitivity. We also recognize the importance of supporting the family of each pediatric patient.

As men and women who serve as hospital chaplains, we offer ourselves as a bridge for those who want to continue the spiritual or religious practices of their families and communities. Your own spiritual leader may carry the title of chaplain, pastor, priest, minister, rabbi, imam, elder, or some other title. Here, we are all known as chaplains. However, if you need a spiritual or religious leader of your own faith tradition who is not represented on our staff, we will help you to find that resource.

What we do

Chaplains visit patient care units during the week. We are available to respond to questions, lead worship services in the Chapel on the 7th floor of the NIH Clinical Center, and provide literature and sacred writings common to your faith community and background. Catholic, Jewish, Islamic, and Protestant chaplains hold regular services in the Inter-Faith Chapel.

How to reach us

We are available through several means. Chaplains visit each patient care unit regularly. We can receive referrals from physicians, nurses, social workers, recreation therapists, other health care providers, family members, or friends. During working hours we may be reached by phone (301-496-3407) or through the page operator (301-496-1211) at any time.

All of us in the Spiritual Ministry Department look forward to being here for you.

This information is prepared specifically for patients taking part in clinical research at the NIH Clinical Center at the National Institutes of Health. It may not apply to individuals who are patients elsewhere. If you have questions about the information presented here, talk to a member of your health care team.

This page last updated on 08/21/13


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