We are dedicated to the advancement of knowledge as it relates to the spiritual and religious needs of patients served by the Mount Sinai Health System. We collaborate with a number of hospital departments and educational programs of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai to improve our understanding of the interplay between spirituality and the physical and mental health of patients. Areas of study include development of best practices for chaplain interventions, identifying the spiritual and religious needs of patients and staff, and the provision of health promotion programs through collaboration with faith and other community-based organizations.

Specific areas of research/process improvement include:

  • The identification of spiritual distress in patients suffering from a variety of acute and chronic illnesses through the use of standardized screening instruments

  • Identification of religious/spiritual interventions that are most effective in alleviating spiritual distress in patients

  • Identifying and reducing barriers to the dissemination of spiritual care among the clinical staff of the inpatient settings

  • Increasing awareness among health care providers for the need to screen for spiritual distress in patients as part of the routine clinical assessment

  • The use of Information Technologies to identify barriers to spiritual care, improve the provision of spiritual care in specific clinical areas where spiritual distress has been identified

  • Understanding the relationship of spirituality and resilience in recovery from physical and mental illness

  • Improving family satisfaction with care delivery and assisting family members in medical decision making in the Intensive Care Units

  • The relationship between personal spiritual beliefs/values and recovery from acute stroke


We are grateful to the following for their support:

UJA Federation of New York
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Templeton Foundation

We are also proud grant recipients of the National Cancer Institute sponsored Interprofessional Education Exchange (iPEX) Project for 2018-2019.  This program assists in the development of interprofessional education curricula.


  • Fleenor, D. W. (2021). Online clinical pastoral education needs more research. Journal of Health Care Chaplaincy, 1–8.

  • Sharma, V., Marin, D. B., Zhong, X., Mazumdar, M., Keogh, M., Costello, Z., & Jandorf, L. (2021). Using the taxonomy: a standard vocabulary of chaplain activities. Journal of Health Care Chaplaincy, 27(1), 43-64.

  • Bickell, N. A., Rosario, R., Mack, T., Guedy, A., Blum, D., Jandorf, L., & Costello, Z. (2020). Cancer care accelerator: An innovative transdisciplinary approach to redress cancer disparities in Harlem. Medical Research Archives, 8(3).

  • Costello, Z., Henry, B., & Sharma, V. (2020). Spirituality. In Kushner, R., & Mechanick, J. (Eds.), Creating a Lifestyle Medicine Center (pp. 249-256). Springer, Cham.

  • Fleenor, D., Bush, J. C., Springer, M. B., & Hirschmann, J. (2020). "To be nice or not to be nice?” that’s not the question: a case from clinical pastoral education supervision. Reflective Practice: Formation and Supervision in Ministry, 40.

  • Fleenor, D., Terry, K., Sharma, V., & Marin, D. (2020). Prevalence of journal clubs: a survey of clinical pastoral education residencies in the United States. Journal of Health Care Chaplaincy, 26(2), 72-86.

  • Hirschmann, J., Kozato, A., Sharma, V., Villagra, C., Wetmore, J., Jandorf, L., Pang, J., Reynolds, M., Dodge, L., Mejia, S., & Safer, J. D. (2020). An analysis of chaplains' narrative chart notes describing spiritual care visits with gender affirmation surgical patients. Transgender Health.

  • Keogh, M., Marin, D. B., Jandorf, L., Wetmore, J. B., & Sharma, V. (2020). Chi Time: Expanding a novel approach for hospital employee engagement. The Journal of Excellence in Nursing Leadership, 51(4), 32-38. https://doi: 10.1097/01.NUMA.0000521574.35431.50.

  • Lisagor, M. (2020). …And sometimes that is life. Psychoanalytic Perspectives, 17(3), 409–410.

  • Fleenor, D. W., & Kelly, E. (2019). Educating and Equipping Chaplains to Practise in New Paradigms. In Kelly, E.,& Swinton, J., Chaplaincy and the Soul of Health and Social Care: Fostering Spiritual Wellbeing in Emerging Paradigms of Care, 305.

  • Hirschmann J (2019). Slumbering at Sinai: Sleep as a Spiritual Practice. CCAR Journal, The Reform Jewish Quarterly, Fall 2019

  • Hirschmann, J., Walker-Cornetta, E., & Jelinek, S. (2019). Spiritual care of transgender persons. In Transgender Medicine (pp. 357-376). Humana Press, Cham.

  • Marin, D. B., Costello, Z., Sharma, V., Knott, C. L., Lam, D., & Jandorf, L. (2019). Adapting health through early awareness and learning program into a new faith-based organization context. Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action, 13(3), 321-329.

  • Atkinson, H. G., Fleenor, D., Lerner, S. M., Poliandro, E., & Truglio, J. (2018). Teaching third-year medical students to address patients’ spiritual needs in the surgery/anesthesiology clerkship. MedEdPORTAL, 14.

  • Fleenor, D., Sharma, V., Hirschmann, J., & Swarts, H. (2018). Do journal clubs work? The effectiveness of journal clubs in a clinical pastoral education residency program. Journal of Health Care Chaplaincy, 24(2), 43-56.

  • Gordon, B. S., Keogh, M., Davidson, Z., Griffiths, S., Sharma, V., Marin, D., Mayer, S., & Dangayach, N. S. (2018). Addressing spirituality during critical illness: A review of current literature. Journal of critical care, 45, 76-81.

  • Dangayach, N., Griffiths, S., Feng, R., Keogh, M., Sharma, V., Wheelwright, D. Marin, D., Sumowski, J., Costa, A., Sobotka, A., Bederson, J., Mocco, J., Gordon, E., & Mayer, S. (2017). Resilience, cognitive reserve and brain reserve in neurocritical care: a prospective cohort study (P5. 036). Neurology.

  • Keogh, M., Sharma, V., Myerson, S. L., & Marin, D. B. (2017). The Chi Cart ministry. Nursing Management, 48(8), 32-38. https://doi: 10.1097/01.NUMA.0000521574.35431.50.

  • Sharma, V., Marin, D. B., Koenig, H. K., Feder, A., Iacoviello, B. M., Southwick, S. M., & Pietrzak, R. H. (2017). Religion, spirituality, and mental health of US military veterans: Results from the National Health and Resilience in Veterans Study. Journal of Affective Disorders, 217, 197-204.

  • Sharma, V., Marin, D. B., Sosunov, E., Ozbay, F., Goldstein, R., & Handzo, G. F. (2016). The differential effects of chaplain interventions on patient satisfaction. Journal of Health Care Chaplaincy, 22(3), 85-101.

  • Marin, D. B., Sharma, V., Sosunov, E., Egorova, N., Goldstein, R., & Handzo, G. F. (2015). Relationship between chaplain visits and patient satisfaction. Journal of Health Care Chaplaincy, 21(1), 14-24.

  • Wiener, N. H., & Hirschmann, J. (2014). Maps and meaning: Levitical models for contemporary care. Augsburg Fortress Publishers.

  • Keogh, M., Goldstein, R., & Marin, D. (2013). Training nurses in active listening: results of a trial program. Plainsview, 10(20). 

  • Hirschmann J (2012). Standing in the Doorway: Pastoral Perspectives on In-Home Chaplaincy. CCAR Journal, The Reform Jewish Quarterly, Summer 2012.

  • Hirschmann, J. (2011). Psychological and theological dynamics in an inpatient psychiatric chaplaincy group. Journal of religion and health, 50(4), 964-974.

  • Galek, K., Silton, N. R., Vanderwerker, L. C., Handzo, G. F., Porter, M., Montonye, M. G., & Fleenor, D. W. (2010). To pray or not to pray: Considering gender and religious concordance in praying with the ill. Journal of Health Care Chaplaincy, 16(1-2), 42-52.