Lupina Centre presents Dr. Christina Pulchalski - Spirituality: An Essential Element of Patient-Centered Care

Thu, 2011-03-24 19:00 - 21:00

The Lupina Centre for Spirituality, Healthcare and Ethics will host Dr. Christina Puchalski on Thursday, 24 March.

At 7pm, Dr. Puchalski will present a free public lecture entitled "Spirituality: An Essential Element of Patient-Centered Care." The lecture will take place in the Regis College St. Joseph's Chapel. All are welcome. Limited seating. Please register here.

Earlier in the day, 2pm-4pm, Dr. Puchalski will present a graduate seminar entitled "Improving the Quality of Spiritual Care as a Dimension of Palliative Care: The Report of the Consensus Conference." Papers under discussion in seminar are available in advance by emailing The seminar will take place in classroom C of Regis College. Faculty, graduate students and professionals working in the field of healthcare and spirituality, please register here.

***If you are unable to register and wish to join the waitlist, please email

Christina Puchalski, MD, MS is one of the leading physicians in the movement to integrate spiritual care into health care. As the Executive Director of the George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health in Washington, and a Professor of Medicine and Health Sciences at The George Washington University School of Medicine, she has pioneered novel and effective educational and clinical strategies to address the spiritual concerns common in patients facing illness.

Dr. Puchalski is an active clinician, board-certified in Internal Medicine and Palliative Care. She has received numerous awards including the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey’s Faculty Humanism in Medicine Award. She is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and was recently inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha (AΏA) medical honor society as well as awarded the 2009 George Washington University Distinguished Alumni Award.

Dr. Puchalski is on the editorial board of several palliative care journals and chair or coauthor of several major conferences and initiatives in spirituality and health. She co-leads an annual retreat for health care professionals; she also works with medical student education focused on how to support their call to a profession of service and compassion.

Dr. Puchalski has been principle investigator or co-principle investigator in several research projects in spirituality, including evaluation of a spiritual assessment tool she developed which is widely used in a variety of clinical settings; an NIH funded study on spirituality and will to live in HIV-AIDS patients; and an innovative study to integrate spirituality into health care settings called INSPIR.

Dr. Puchalski has demonstrated leadership in research and education in the integration of spiritual care across disciplines, and has helped develop spirituality curriculum that is now being used in 75 percent of U.S. medical schools. In 1996, Dr. Puchalski developed and was PI for a decade-long awards program in spirituality and health education, which resulted in a model curriculum in spirituality and health.

Recently, in a collaborative project with City of Hope and GWish, Dr. Puchalski co-led an initiative to create national spiritual care guidelines for palliative care. Dr. Puchalski has a background as a basic scientist at NIH, thus bridging the art and science of medicine in her work. She is widely published in journals with work ranging from basic research in biochemistry to issues in ethics, culture and spirituality and health care.

She has authored numerous chapters in books and edited and authored a book published by Oxford University Press entitled Time for Listening and Caring: Spirituality and the Care of the Seriously Ill and Dying with a forward by His Holiness, The Dalai Lama. Her second book, Making Health Care Whole: Integrating Spirituality into Patient Care, co-authored by internationally renowned leader in palliative care research Betty Ferrell, PhD, RN, was released February 2010 by Templeton Press.

Dr. Puchalski’s many publications and presentations have urged the development of a patient-centered perspective in health care, with specialization in the importance of integrating spirituality and compassion into one’s professional practice. Her work has been featured in numerous print and television media including Good Morning America, ABC World News Tonight, NBC Nightly News, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and the Washington Times, and she was interviewed by Wolf Blitzer on CNN during the Terry Schaivo debates.

Dr. Puchalski, first and foremost, is a clinician. Part of her clinical practice in internal medicine and geriatrics is integrating patients' spiritual beliefs into their health care. With her expertise, she can knowledgeably address the sensitive medical issues surrounding palliative and end-of-life care and care of seriously ill patients. Dr. Puchalski's work in the field of spirituality and medicine encompasses the clinical, the academic, and the pastoral application of her research and insights.