Los Angeles Hospital Trains Chaplains from Diverse Religions

March 3, 2002

Source: Los Angeles Times

On March 3, 2002, the Los Angeles Times featured an article on UCLA Medical Center's Spiritual Care Unit. The unit is "the hospital's chaplaincy training program... The full-time staff [at the hospital] includes a priest, a minister and a rabbi, with Muslims and Buddhists on call. Fifteen years ago, when the program was new, the full-time staff consisted of one Baptist minister... These days, religious diversity is redefining hospital chaplaincy work. While the patient directory at UCLA is usually about 65% Christian, the number of Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and members of other religions continues to increase... Training programs like UCLA's, which is officially called the Clinical Pastoral Education Program, have been in place since the '50s. Many of them were designed to prepare seminary students to become part of a patient's treatment... The first students were Christian seminarians, but this year the group represents an array of the world's religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Shintoism and Islam as well as Judaism and Christianity... A similar broadening has occurred in chaplaincy programs around the country, but UCLA, as a reflection of its patients, is ahead of most others."