Caring for the Human Spirit® Conference

Caring to the Human Spirit Conference

7th Annual Caring for the Human Spirit® Conference

Join Us at the Go-To Conference on Spiritual Care!

April 20-22, 2020

Santa Fe, NM

The Caring for the Human Spirit® Conference is the premier spiritual care forum for cutting-edge topics to enhance your spiritual care practice and ministry. This inspirational and transformative three-day conference is designed to provide spiritual care providers with the skills, best practices, research, that can advance their career and improve optimal care for those in need. It is ideal for any professional interested in spiritual care, such as chaplains, nurses, first responders, social workers, physicians, researchers, clergy, administrators, policy makers, palliative care professionals, and any other professional interested in spiritual care. You will learn and exchange ideas from some of the most influential leaders in the spiritual care arena and make new relationships with people and organizations that will help you achieve new levels of success in providing compassionate whole person care.


Caring to the Human Spirit Conference

Agenda at a Glance

The three-day event will consist of one keynote address, four plenaries to choose from and more than 35 workshops of which attendees will select up to 5. In addition, there are an optional 4 pre-conference intensives to choose from on Sunday as well as an all-day cultural immersion experience in the greater Santa Fe area. In addition, participants enjoy:

  • Continuing Education Credits: CEUs, CNEs, CMEs, and Social Work Contact Hours
  • Chapel and Prayer Services
  • SCA BCC and APBCC Award Ceremony
  • Chaplain Renewal Ceremony • Exhibits
  • Dynamic Digital Poster Presentations
  • SCA Reception and Membership Meeting
  • Live Tibetan Sand Painting
  • Networking Opportunities

Keynote Speaker

Richard Rohr
Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM
Granger Westberg Keynote Address:
Presenting: Tracking the Perennial Tradition Creates an Alternative Orthodoxy

Keynote Summary:
When we look at the history of spiritual care and healing, the same themes keep emerging across religions and cultures. They are issues of how to move from doctrinal belief into actual practice. One primary theological application method is the practice of cultivating a contemplative mind.

Plenary Speakers

Roshi Joan Halifax
Roshi Joan Halifax, Ph.D.
Founder, Abbot, and Head Teacher of Upaya Institute and Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico
Presenting: Exploring the Edge State of Engagement and Burnout

Michelle O’Rourke
Michelle O’Rourke, RN, MA
Consultant, Educator and Facilitator, Henri Nouwen Society
Presenting: The Essence of Providing Spiritual Care 

Bryan Sexton
Bryan Sexton, Ph.D.
Director, Duke Center for Healthcare Safety & Quality Duke University Health System
Presenting: Thriving vs. Surviving During Times of Change: The Science of Enhancing Resilience

Jason Callahan, MDiv, MS, BCC
Chaplain, Thomas Palliative Care Unit at VCU Massey Cancer Center
Presenting: Bridging the Divide: Chaplaincy in the Secular Age 

Click here to see other speakers and learn more.

Westberg Symposium


NEW this year! We are pleased to welcome the Westberg Symposium to the Caring for the Human Spirit® Conference. Over the years, the Westberg Symposium has become the premier gathering and networking event for faith community nurses from across the globe. Participants develop supportive connections and gain new ideas and skills as distinguished speakers share techniques and experiences for the benefit of the professional practice.

Click here to learn more.


Two Conferences for the Price of One

Whether you register for the Caring for the Human Spirit® Conference or the Westberg Symposium, you will be able to attend sessions from either conference at no extra cost to you. The Spiritual Care Association and The Westberg Institute for Faith Community Nursing have worked diligently in order to bring more value to the participants of both events, resulting in a more robust spiritual care conference experience.


The CSCPF Gathering


The Spiritual Care Association welcomes members from the Center for Spiritual Care and Pastoral Formation (CSCPF) to the 2020 CSCPF Gathering at the Caring for the Human Spirit® Conference. For more information about the CSCPF, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Pre-Conference Intensives

In addition to the three-day conference, participants will have the option to attend any of the 4 pre-conference intensives being offered.

Jim Kraft

Advance Care Planning Facilitator Training

The Rev. Jim Kraft, BCC
9:00 am – 5:30 pm
Respecting Choices First Steps Advance Care Planning is an internationally recognized, evidence-based model that creates a culture of person-centered care. Participants will learn the skills to facilitate foundation Advance Care Planning discussions with any adult.

Building Spiritual Strength

Dr. J. Irene Harris and CH Timothy Usset
9:00 am – 5:00 pm
will conduct a training seminar on the Building Spiritual Strength (BSS) intervention. Attendees of the seminar will learn about PTSD, moral injury, and spiritual distress, and how to facilitate BSS. The BSS protocol aims to help participants draw meaningful conclusions from their traumatic experiences within the context of their personal spirituality. BSS is an inter-faith/belief system intervention that focuses on the need to minimize or eliminate the distress that may come from experiencing moral injury. Their research on the BSS protocol is published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry Research (

George Handzo

Pulling Back the Curtain on Chaplaincy Certification

The Rev. George Handzo, APBCC
12:00 – 4:30 pm
This pre-conference intensive will cover the general chaplaincy certification requirements and processes that all associations generally follow while focusing on the Association of Professional Chaplains (APC) and the Spiritual Care Association (SCA)


2020 Faith Community Nurse Research Forum

Sponsored by Faith Community Nurses International (FCNI)
12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
This forum provides current information and activities related to research and initiatives with relevance to faith community nursing practice. The agenda features recently published research presented by representatives from both the International Journal of Faith Community Nursing and the Journal of Christian Nursing. Participants will have opportunity for open discussion, Q&A, and reflection on the translation of research into faith community nursing practice.

Pamela Castle

Awakening the Spirit Using Art and the FAITH Process (offered by the Westberg Institute)

Pamela Castles, RN, MSN, MA
5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Life transitions often bring questions regarding the presence of God and the purpose of life. Applying the FAITH process can enhance exploring these questions. During this pre-conference intensive, participants will practice the FAITH spiritual care process beginning with a focused topic. Adding art activities, individuals reflect on the activity as it relates to the topic.


Sunday Trip: Cultural Immersion Experience

Join us for an exciting all-day, three-stop cultural immersion experience! A luxury motor coach will make the following 3 stops:


Poeh Center
The Poeh Center and Museum – Located in Pojoaque, New Mexico, the Native American museum is devoted to the arts and culture of the Puebloan peoples, especially the Tewas in the northern part of the state.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Abbey – The land on which the monastery now exists was originally deeded by Charles II, King of Spain, to Juan de Dios Peña in 1815. Today, the abbey is now part of the Benedictine Olivetan Congregation. In Benedictine tradition, all guests are received as Christ.

Loretto Chapel
Loretto Chapel – This beautiful chapel is known for its unusual helix-shaped spiral staircase. The Sisters of Loretto credit St. Joseph with its construction.

Cost: Early Bird Rate: $249 per person (by 1/31/2020) or $309 per person after 1/31/2020. Deadline to register: February 28, 2020.

What is included: Transportation to/from hotel, entrance to all 3 sites, boxed breakfast included.

What is not included: Lunch (there will be lunch options at the Loretto Chapel)

Time: The bus departs the hotel at 9:00 am and will return at approximately 6:30 pm.

Continuing Education Credits

You can earn up to 22 Continuing Education Credits.

Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are awarded by the Spiritual Care Association. All participants receive a certificate after the conference.

Continuing Nursing Education contact hours (CNEs) awarded by The Westberg Institute. The Westberg Institute is approved as a provider of nursing continuing professional development by the Tennessee Nurses Association, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.

Social Work Contact Hours are awarded by the National Association of Social Workers. This program has been submitted for approval to NASW for 22 continuing education contact hours.

Continuing Medical Education (CMEs) are awarded by the University of Alabama School of Medicine Division of Continuing Medical Education.This program has been submitted for approval of up to 22 CMEs.

Continuing Education Credits are available for either in-person or webcast participants.


Exhibitors and Supporters

Interested in exhibiting at the Caring for the Human Spirit® Conference or the Westberg Symposium? Maximize your exposure with these two events happening concurrently. Click here for rates and information.

Call for Posters

Interested in presenting a poster at the 7th Annual Caring for the Human Spirit® Conference?

Proposals must include a title and a description of how your poster relates to the theme. Abstracts can be up to 500 words. Posters are a visual medium, so please provide some information about how your poster will convey information visually. If your poster includes data, be sure to explain in your abstract how the data was gathered and evaluated. Because SCA evaluates only the abstract in its decision, be sure that it clearly conveys the purpose of your poster presentation.

Proposals must include: a title, problem, action taken, data, outcomes, and contact information.

Notification: The deadline for submission is February 28, 2020. You will be notified by March 6, 2020 about the status of your poster submission.

Registration: All expenses including registration for the conference are the responsibility of the presenting author(s).

Important Dates and Times: Poster presentations will take place on Monday, April 20, 2020 at 1:30pm – 2:00pm and Tuesday, April 21, 2020 at 1:30pm – 2:00pm.

Dimensions: Posters will be displayed digitally.

Submission Process: To apply, please click here.


Please contact Event Manager, Jazimine Salvodon, CPM at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..