Templeton Chaplaincy Research Fellows FAQs October 15, 2015

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1 Templeton Chaplaincy Research Fellows FAQs October 15, Do I have to be board-certified to apply for a Fellowship? Yes. In order to apply you must be board-certified or have completed the key requirements necessary to be board-certified in the APC, NAJC, or NACC. Typically, board certification requires a bachelor s degree, a 72 semester-hour graduate theological degree, 4 units of CPE, and faith group endorsement. However, please confirm the requirements for certification with your chosen professional chaplaincy organization (available on their website). Applications from chaplains who are certification eligible but who have not yet completed 2,000 hours of chaplaincy work experience (what the APC calls provisional board certified chaplain, or PBCC) will be considered. 2. Do I have to be currently employed as a chaplain? No, though individuals with chaplaincy experience in healthcare will be given priority. 3. Are hospice chaplains eligible? Yes, all board-certified (and certification eligible) chaplains with healthcare experience are encouraged to apply. 4. Are International students and people with green cards eligible for Fellowships? The Research Chaplaincy Fellowships are designed to advance healthcare chaplaincy in the United States. While prospective international students are not precluded from applying, the Advisory Committee is looking for Fellows who have been trained in the U.S. and intend to continue to develop their careers here. We hope similar initiatives for promoting research literacy for improved patient outcomes will develop in other countries. 5. Are military chaplains eligible? The Research Chaplaincy Fellowships are designed to advance healthcare chaplaincy. Applications are welcome from military chaplains whose careers focus on healthcare chaplaincy. 6. What do you mean by research experience? We want to hear about your experience, aptitude and interest in research. Please describe any involvement in research projects at your institution, your participation in related seminars or webinars through professional chaplaincy organizations, any research experience you gained in other degrees or in your chaplaincy training. 1

2 7. Do I have to enroll in a full-time MS or MPH program? Yes 8. Can I enroll in an online MS or MPH program? The Fellowship is intended to enable Fellows to be engaged with other students and faculty in the classroom and other activities at the school in which they enroll. We expect, with very few exceptions, that all of the student s coursework will be completed in face-to-face settings. Permission will be required for any online courses beyond the required online introduction to religion and health research course that will be offered through the University of Illinois, School of Public Health. 9. What school can I attend? All Fellows must complete degrees at schools accredited by the Council on Accreditation for Public Health (http://ceph.org/accredited/#programs) or the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (http://www.lcme.org/directory.htm). 10. There are a number of different degrees offered by my local school of public health. Do you have any recommendations about the specific degree program Fellows should choose? Broadly speaking, schools or accredited programs of public health offer two types of degrees: professional degrees to prepare people for careers in public health (e.g. MPH, DPH) and academic degrees to prepare people for careers in research and scholarship (e.g. MS, PhD). There is a great deal of overlap, however, and both types of degree programs will require courses in research methods and statistics. The intent of the Transforming Chaplaincy Project is to provide Fellows with the strongest preparation for research possible at the master s degree level. Therefore, when Fellows have a choice, our recommendation is that you enroll in an MS degree. In making the decision about an MPH or MS degree there are other factors to keep in mind. In many cases, the MPH degree requires a practicum, that is, a placement in a public health agency. While this may provide you with new perspectives on public health or health promotion, it is not as essential as research-oriented coursework to your training as a chaplain researcher. In addition, almost all MS degrees have a thesis requirement; in some MPH degrees the thesis is optional. We prefer Fellows enroll in a degree program with a thesis requirement or option that will provide you with experience in conducting, writing, and presenting what we hope will be a publishable research project. If an MS is not available at the institution to which you are applying, however, the MPH degree, especially with a thesis, will still provide you with the necessary skills for conducting research. Within most schools or accredited programs of public health there are usually several divisions or departments. Typical departments include Epidemiology and Biostatistics (sometimes these are separate), Health Policy, Environmental and Occupational Health, and Social and Behavioral Health. Master s students, whether in an MPH or MS degree, are generally expected to select a concentration in one of these departments. For most Fellows a concentration in either Epidemiology/Biostatistics or Social/Behavioral Health is recommended. However, we are open to your description of why concentration in another area will be best for you. Additionally, many MPH programs require that you take an introductory level course in each of the school s divisions or departments. This requirement is less common in MS degree programs. In our view, a required 2

3 course in occupational and/or environmental health may not be a useful preparation for most chaplain researchers. There appear to be considerable variation in the number of credit hours or semester hours associated with the different degrees we have examined. Based on this, our current recommendations focus on the degree in which you should enroll and not the number of credit or semester hours you should complete. If that changes we will post a new FAQ and also alert everyone on our and Twitter lists. However, as you consider any degree and concentration options we recommend that you plan for 9-12 credit hours in statistics (minimum of 3 courses) and 9-12 credit hours in research methods (minimum of 3 courses). Some schools of public health, as well as some medical schools, offer master s degrees with titles like MS in Clinical Science and/or Translational Research. In some cases these degrees are designed for full-time clinicians, for example, physician fellows or junior faculty, to complete on a part-time basis while they continue to work. These degrees may offer additional courses related to clinical research which may be useful for some chaplain researchers. We have examined the requirements for several of these degrees and we think they offer the kind of training in research we hope our Fellows will receive. Daniel Grossoehme, one of the Transforming Chaplaincy project coinvestigators, completed one of these degrees and felt it provided him with excellent training in research. Many schools of public health offer an MPH for physicians or others who already have a health profession degree (sometimes called an executive MPH). In many cases these degrees require fewer credit hours and less time to complete than the regular MPH. Because we want the Fellows to get the strongest possible training in research, we do not recommend these degrees. We also found a few schools of public health that offer MPH degrees that can be completed in substantially less than the two years of our Fellowship (e.g. 11 months). As noted above, we prefer you enroll in an MS rather an MPH degree (if available), and we prefer you plan to devote the two years of the Fellowship (in most cases it will be more like 21 months) to completing this degree. In summary, what is important in selecting which degree to pursue is that it provides you with the strongest preparation for research possible at the master s degree level at the institution to which you are applying. We recognize that each Fellow s background and circumstances will be different. Therefore, please select the school/program and degree that you believe will help you achieve the aims of the Fellowship and be sure to tell us in your application essay why you made that choice. As with any pursuit of graduate-level education, sometimes it is helpful to apply to more than one degree. 11. The university to which I am applying does not have a school of public health it is called a program in public health, which is part of their medical school. Is this an acceptable degree program to apply to? Yes, there are programs in public health that offer the MPH degree. Any MS or MPH programs accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH: are acceptable for the Transforming Chaplaincy Fellowship. Please note that MS in Clinical & Translational Research degrees may be accredited by CEPH or 3

4 the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (http://www.lcme.org/directory.htm). Programs accredited by either of these are acceptable for the Transforming Chaplaincy Fellowship. 12. Should I apply to more than one MS program? This is up to you. You do need to be accepted by at least one program in order to accept the Fellowship. People who have not yet been accepted into a master s program may be provisionally accepted for a Fellowship, contingent upon acceptance to the program. 13. Can you help with the fees required to apply to MA programs? Unfortunately, we are not in a position to help with these fees. 14. I am in a PhD program or am applying to PhD programs. Can I apply for a Fellowship? No, these Fellowships are specifically for master s level training. 15. Do I need to submit official transcripts? Yes, from any college or university from which you received a degree. 16. Do I need to take the GRE? We do not need to see your GRE scores but some universities require them to apply to their degree programs. Please check the application requirements for the degree program to which you are applying. 17. What do you mean by evidence of application to a master s degree program? Confirmation s or documents which show that your application materials have been received. 18. What are the financial terms of the Fellowship? The Fellowship will pay for all tuition and associated fees as well as a yearly stipend of $43,300. Some research funds as well as support to attend program conferences will also be provided. 19. Can you provide more details about the required Fellow Conferences? There will be Kickoff Conferences for all the Fellows and the members of the Transforming Chaplaincy Advisory Committee before each group of Fellows begins school. The first Kickoff Conference for the 1 st group of Fellows is scheduled July 27-29, 2016 in Chicago, IL; the second Kickoff Conference for the 1 st and 2 nd group of Fellows is scheduled to be in Chicago the summer of There will also be a Capstone Conference for all Fellows and members of the Advisory Committee near the end of the 2 nd year of classes of the 2 nd group of Fellows; that is, in the Spring of Our plan is that the 2016 class of Fellows will participate in all 3 conferences while the 2017 class of Fellows will participate in the last 2 conferences. The Fellowship includes the expenses associated with participating in these conferences. 20. What about health insurance? Fellows must maintain or obtain health insurance during the Fellowship. Fellows must make their own arrangements for health insurance, whether through their employer, the school they attend or other arrangements. The Fellowship will include funds in addition to the stipend to help with the cost of health insurance. In cases where a Fellow does not require funds for health insurance, such funds cannot be added to the stipend. 4

5 21. Will Fellows be permitted to work during the Fellowship? To the extent possible, we want Fellows to be full-time students during the period of the Fellowship. We recognize, however, that additional work may be required both for financial reasons and as part of negotiating leave from a current position. a. During the academic year, Fellows will not be permitted to work more than 10 hours per week without written permission from the project leaders. b. Fellows can work full-time during the summer between the first and second year of the degree program depending on the program they are admitted to. c. Note that in most cases Fellows will complete their degree in 21 or 22 months while the Fellowship will be paid for 24 months. d. All Fellows must submit a work plan with their application. 22. Can my employer use the salary freed by my participation in the Fellowship to temporarily hire someone to fill my position while I am engaged in the Fellowship? Yes, that is one of the reasons we are providing a stipend to the Research Fellows. 23. Upon completion of the Fellowship, what kind of career as a chaplain-researcher can I expect? As chaplaincy research is a developing field, it is difficult to answer this question. Only a few chaplaincy departments currently have positions for chaplain-researchers. We believe this will change as the profession continues to embrace the importance of research and as more qualified chaplainresearchers become available. We also expect some Fellows will become co-investigators on projects being led by non-chaplain colleagues. We believe the networking that occurs among the project leadership, Advisory Committee, and Fellows will open career opportunities. We are looking for applicants who want to work with us on transforming our profession. Transforming Chaplaincy: Promoting Research Literacy for Improved Patient Outcomes Transform on Twitter For further inquiries, contact: Kathryn Lyndes, PhD, Project Coordinator Rush University Medical Center Department of Religion & Health 1643 West Congress Parkway Chicago, IL ; 5

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