About Us

The Spiritual Care Association (SCA) is the first multidisciplinary, international professional membership association for spiritual care providers that establishes evidence-based quality indicators, scope of practice, and a knowledge base for spiritual care in health care.

As health care providers emphasize the delivery of positive patient experience, SCA is leading the way to educate, certify, credential and advocate so that more people in need, regardless of religion, beliefs or cultural identification, receive effective spiritual care in all types of institutional and community settings in the U.S. and internationally. SCA is committed to serving its multidisciplinary membership and growing the chaplaincy profession.

The nonprofit SCA is an affiliate of HealthCare Chaplaincy NetworkTM (HCCN), a health care nonprofit organization founded in 1961 that offers spiritual-related information and resources, and professional chaplaincy services in hospitals, other health care settings, and online.

As a lead-up to the establishment of SCA and to transform the field, HCCN released in 2016 evidence-based quality indicators and evidence-based scope of practice.

What SCA Offers Members

  • Engages and unites multiple interest groups so more people in need receive effective spiritual care
  • Opens access to new evidence-based knowledge base: Online Learning Center
  • Offers new paths for chaplaincy credentialing, board certification, and clinical pastoral education
  • Provides valuable resources to contribute significantly to career development
  • Creates a powerful voice for spiritual care

Learn More

SCA Addresses Crucial Needs Raised by Thought Leaders

The Demand for Outcomes

“Health care in industrialized countries is increasingly focused on outcomes (Department of Health, 2013)…Whereas chaplains have generally been exempt from this economic focus, increasingly the value of chaplaincy care is being evaluated on these criteria.”

Source: George F. Handzo, Mark Cobb, Cheryl Holmes, Ewan Kelly & Shane Sinclair (2014) Outcomes for Professional Health Care Chaplaincy: An International Call to Action, Journal of Health Care Chaplaincy, 20:2, 43-53, DOI: 10.1080/08854726.2014.902713.


The Demand for Spiritual Care

“When we touch on the essence of humanity at our core – the very spirit that accompanies the body in each care encounter, we reveal boundless opportunities to positively impact the overall health of each individual and the communities we serve.

Source: Jason A. Wolf, Ph.D., President, The Beryl Institute in “The Critical Role of Spirituality in Patient Experience", The Beryl Institute, and HealthCare Chaplaincy Network, 2015.


The Demand for New Methods for Professional Education and Certification

“Greater engagement with chaplaincy certification competencies is one of several approaches to improvements in chaplaincy education that should be considered to ensure that chaplains have the training needed to function effectively in a complex and changing healthcare environment…”

Source: George Fitchett, Alexander Tartaglia, Kevin Massey, Beth Jackson-Jordon & Paul E. Derrickson (2015) Education for Professional Chaplains: Should Certification Competencies Shape Curriculum?, Journal of Health Care Chaplaincy, 21:4, 151-164, DOI: 10.1080/08854726.2015.1075343.


The Demand for a New Professional Spiritual Care Membership Organization

“The current system in professional chaplaincy is not sustainable, and we must develop and embrace a different mode…Without an empirical base that validates the outcomes of their professional work, chaplaincy as a profession will remain on the margin of health care, and not be able to justify further investment of limited health care dollars to support its professional endeavors…Chaplaincy still lacks an organized, strong, unified, proactive and representative national voice.”

Source: The Rev. Walter J. Smith, S.J., Ph.D., from his 2012 COMISS Network (The Network on Ministry in Specialized Settings) Forum Address upon receipt of the COMISS Medal, its highest recognition. At that time, Father Smith was HCC President and CEO, a position he held from 1991 to 2013.