Spirituality and Medicine Conference

Health & Wellness
Founded 2012

The Simms/Mann Institute, in partnership with UCLA, offered a conference on Spirituality and Medicine. The first of its kind, our event brought together spiritual leaders, medical oncologists, social workers, and nurses to share knowledge, ideas, and treatment plans. The 2012 conference’s goal was to create a sense of community among forty-three people from disparate professional fields, using the theme When Cancer Strikes: Response Strategies for Pastoral Caregivers. Of the attendees, thirty were representatives from faiths and local congregations.

We believe there lies opportunity at the intersection of spirituality and medicine for medical and pastoral caregivers to have meaningful dialogue. The conference addressed a growing need emerging for professionals across disciplines. Leaders convened by the Institute knew that with an aging population it becomes more important for professionals to work together providing spiritual support, and that spirituality is a unique place to look for hope and structure. Particularly during times of medical crisis, we all search for meaning and purpose in life. The Institute encourages more collaboration and guidance.

Speaker Topics

  • A Physician’s Perspective
  • An Inter-Faith Chaplain’s Perspective
  • The Impact of Cancer
  • Unique Needs and Coping
  • Case presentation

Speakers and Topics

Michael Eselun

Michael Eselun, a Certified Associate Clinical Chaplain and Chaplain for the Simms/Mann – UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology, served as host and facilitated the discussion. He shared his experience in providing inter-faith spiritual care to oncology patients and families over the last nine years as well as several years working in palliative care and hospice.

Anne Coscarelli, Ph.D.

Dr. Coscarelli provided an overview of the unique challenges of a cancer diagnosis. She is Founding Director of the Simms/Mann – UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology, a psychologist, and has thirty-one years of experience working in the medical environment and with patients and families with cancer as well as conducting research in quality of life.

Kauser Ahmed, Ph.D.

Dr. Ahmed is a psychologist and training director at the Simms/Mann – UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology with over ten years of experience treating patients and families. She shared her expertise in working with patients and families affected by cancer and the integrative model we have developed.

Thomas J. Pier, LCSW

Tom Pier is an oncology social worker at the Simms/Mann – UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology with over fifteen years of experience treating patients and families with cancer. He shared his expertise in working with patients and families affected by cancer and his role in the integrative model developed at UCLA.

Herbert Eradat, MD

Dr. Eradat is a medical oncologist at UCLA and a childhood cancer survivor himself. He provided a physician’s perspective on cancer and the impact on patients, ideas about how pastoral care providers can be an effective part of the team, and engaged the participants in a dialogue about what they see once a patient leaves the doctor’s office.

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