Saturday, May 26 , 2018, 10:59 pm | Fair 58º


Doctor to Speak About Integrating Spirituality into Health Care

Dr. Christina Puchalski will give a free lecture Wednesday at the Unitarian Society

Hospice of Santa Barbara, Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care, La Casa and Cottage Health System present a talk at 7 p.m. Wednesday by Dr. Christina Puchalski, one of the nation’s leading physicians in the movement to integrate spiritual care into health care.

Dr. Christina Puchalski
Dr. Christina Puchalski

Puchalski, who will speak at the Unitarian Society, 1535 Santa Barbara St., will give an overview of new trends and practices being developed to integrate patients’ spiritual concerns and communities of support into health-care practices in the free lecture titled “Emerging National Trends in Spirituality and Health: A Physician’s Perspective.”

“Spirituality” is a broad term that can include religious traditions, individual spiritual sensibilities and, most generally, whatever gives someone a sense of meaning in life.

Puchalski is the executive director of the George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health in Washington, D.C., and a professor of medicine and health sciences at the George Washington University School of Medicine, where she has pioneered novel and effective educational and clinical strategies to address the spiritual concerns common in patients facing illness.

In 2005, Puchalski was interviewed on CNN during the Terri Schiavo case, a seven-year legal effort by Michael Schiavo to have his wife — diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state for several years — disconnected from life support.

An active clinician, board-certified in internal medicine and palliative care, Puchalski 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 medical honor society as well as awarded the 2009 George Washington University Distinguished Alumni Award. She is on the editorial board of several palliative care journals and chair or co-author of several major conferences and initiatives in spirituality and health.

Puchalski has a background as a basic scientist at the National Institutes of Health, 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 titled Time for Listening and Caring: Spirituality and the Care of the Seriously Ill and Dying with a forward by The Dalai Lama.

Her 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 on numerous print and television media.

— Daniella Elghanayan is a publicist.


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