MedStar Washington Hospital Center formed from the merger of three historic Washington hospitals, General Dispensary and Emergency Hospital (founded May 7, 1871); Garfield Memorial Hospital (founded May 18, 1882) and Episcopal Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital (founded Jan. 18, 1897). The Hospital Center celebrated its 50th anniversary on March 10, 2008.
A not-for-profit, 926-bed acute care teaching and research hospital based in Northwest Washington, D.C., MedStar Washington Hospital Center is the largest private hospital in the nation's capital, and among the 25 largest hospitals in the United States. As the flagship facility for the MedStar Health system, it is consistently rated among the nation's top hospitals.
The Hospital Center is home to Washington Heart and Vascular Institute, a national leader in the research, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease. It operates the only Joint Commission-accredited Primary Stroke Center in the District, and provides the latest in cancer treatment and therapies at Washington Cancer Institute. The Hospital Center is also home to the region's adult Burn Center and to MedSTAR, one of the country's top shock-trauma treatment and transport facilities.
At the founding of the Hospital Center, pastoral care was part of the standards of care. Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) was initially accredited at the hospital in April 1977. Currently, the Department of Spiritual Care, with five FTE s, provides summer and extended units of CPE, a 12 month, three unit residency; and a Supervisor in Training residency process.
Based on an educational model for spiritual care service delivery, four stipend/employed chaplain residents provide the majority of day-to-day patient spiritual care coverage. They also function as team administrative chaplains for student interns and for Howard University Divinity School Pastoral Care Practicum students. The resident chaplains also serve on specific units as the primary chaplain/spiritual caregiver, and provide coverage of a significant portion of the 24/7 spiritual care on-calls shifts.
Since the late 1990s, Spiritual Care has provided coverage for the neighboring MedStar Health facility, National Rehabilitation Hospital. NRH specializes in treating persons with physical disabilities caused by spinal cord and head injuries, stroke, arthritis, amputation, multiple sclerosis, post-polio syndrome and other neurological and orthopaedic conditions. Although the Department of Spiritual Care no longer provides immediate coverage at NRH, we maintain a collaborative relationship with their newly hired staff chaplain.
Washington Cancer Institute at MedStar Washington Hospital Center has a full-time Oncology Chaplain who, while not under Spiritual Care's administration/budget, is affiliated and cooperative with the department's planning and operation. A three day, intensive “Cancer Residency for Spiritual Caregivers” is offered twice yearly for community spiritual caregivers, as a cooperative venture of the Department of Spiritual Care and the Oncology Chaplain for Washington Cancer Institute.
The Catholic Diocese of Washington has appointed two priests and two nuns who provide daily Mass and visitation. They are assisted by lay Eucharistic visitors and seminarians through their supervised ministry program.
The department also utilizes on an as-needed basis a cadre of former CPE students as contract on-call chaplains . Spiritual Care also has a number of volunteer-designated pastoral care givers/chaplains, who are called upon to visit persons from their specific faith group, for example, an Episcopal priest, Jehovah’s Witness, etc. In addition, the department provides administrative/budget oversight for a contract chaplain designated for the hospital’s two mental health units.
The Department of Spiritual Care is currently looking for a Rabbi and Imam to serve their faith specific populations on a volunteer basis.
Dept. of Spiritual Care
110 Irving St., NW, Rm 1B-18
Washington, DC 20010
24/7 on- call chaplain: 202-877-7138
Nneka O. Mokwunye, PhD, director, Center for Bioethics and Spiritual Care, 202-877-6211
Diane E Hugger, Spiritual Care Coordinator, 202-877-5334 or 1585
Hallie Lawson Reeves, CPE Supervisor, 202-877-3303
Robert A. Renix, CPE Supervisory Candidate, 202-877-7553
Anthony Akinlolu, Staff Chaplain, 202-877-7820
Fr. Lawrence Nwabueze, Coordinator, Catholic Ministries, 202-877-6691
Linda G. Fischer, Oncology Chaplain, Washington Cancer Institute, 202-877-8577