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History of the Institute for Spirituality and Medicine

For nearly 60 years, Johns Hopkins Medicine has been hosting an annual conference on ministering to both the physical and spiritual needs of patients.


On December 8, 1948, Dr. Richard W. Te Linde, Professor of Gynecology and Chairman of the Advisory Committee of the Visiting Clergy Service of the Johns Hopkins Hospital, wrote The Council of Churches and Christian Education of Maryland and Delaware, about jointly sponsoring an "Institute of Pastoral Counseling." Initially it was envisioned as a several-week summer institute with the specification that it would be both "interdenominational as well as interracial." Mr. Frank T. Rhoad, Jr. responded positively on behalf of the Council of Churches on January 12, 1949. A formal proposal stated that "an Institute be held to enable clergymen to develop more effective personal ministry in regard to visiting the sick." The first such Institute was convened at Johns Hopkins June 12-23, 1950.

Acknowledgment should also be given to the effort of Rev. A. R. Horn, Chaplain at Baltimore City Hospitals, who with several Johns Hopkins faculty, community clergy, and other colleagues, had a similar conference at the Baltimore City Hospitals February 14, 1949 - March 2, 1949, which was a precursor to the Institute on the Johns Hopkins campus. The institute developed through the 1950's under the leadership of Rev. Manfred Manrodt, who served as Dean, and Rev. Harry A. Price, D.D., who became Director of the Clergy Service.

In 1963, two significant transitions occurred.  The Institute became one week in length, and the Rev. Clyde R. Shallenberger, D.D., became the new Director of the Johns Hopkins Chaplaincy Service. Rev. Shallenberger saw the value of offering this kind of education to a wider audience, and the conference grew in its participation beyond community clergy in the Baltimore area. In a 2000 conversation, he explained that he never asked the faculty to "preach," but that almost always they would reflect on some elements of faith either in their own pilgrimage or in the lives of their patients. He eventually shortened the conference to 2.5 days so as to allow greater participation and to minimize the scheduling conflicts with other clergy responsibilities. Reflective of his pastoral concern and spirit of alliance with those in need, Rev. Shallenberger also renamed the conference as the "Institute on Ministry with the Sick."

In 1995, under the direction of Rev. Stephen L. Mann, the Institute focused even more on a multidisciplinary approach and audience.  In light of this emphasis, the conference became known in 1998 as the Institute for Spirituality and Medicine.

In 2002, the Rev. Dr. Paula Jeanne Teague became the Course Director for the Institute and the Manager for Clinical Pastoral Education. Dr. Teague has continued to be the Course Director working with a planning committee that includes the School of Medicine, School of Nursing, Community and Hospital representatives.

Recent conferences have considered varied themes, including:

  • 2002 -- Complementary Medicine & Spirituality: Belief Systems, Culture, & Health
  • 2003 -- Spirituality & Crisis
  • 2004 -- The Spiritual Journey of Aging
  • 2005 -- Spiritual Well-Being: The Individual, the Community, and Health Care Institutions
  • 2006 --  What Does It Mean to Be Human?  Public Discourse on Genetics, Ethics, & Spirituality
  • 2007 --  Prescriptions for Healthy Families
  • 2008 --  Violence and the Challenge of Healing in Our Communities
  • 2010 --  Emerging Themes in the Integration of Spirituality and Medicine

Many thanks to Thomas A. Corson, MD, MPH, CCS, former Planning Committee member, for this brief history of the ISM.