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September 21, 2018

Police Chaplaincy and CPE


Baltimore Police Chaplaincy and CPE Program

Paula Teague, Johns Hopkins Health System

Funded by an ACPE Innovative Program Grant

Like many cities in the United States, Baltimore has struggled with structural racism manifest in economic and housing policies as well as a strong dis-trust of law enforcement.  In 2014, the Freddie Gray protests and riots were a manifestation of this reality.

Johns Hopkins Medicine responded to the community’s deep hurt with renewed efforts to support economic growth, jobs development and partnerships with organizations and congregations.  The Department of Spiritual Care and Chaplaincy, in conjunction with programs such as “Healthy Community Partnership,” recommitted resources to its work with religious congregations in the community.  These efforts included various dimensions of chaplaincy and community engagement including developing medical-religious partnerships, developing concrete programs to address spiritual needs, holding classes for community clergy called “Caring for the City” and developing a Chaplaincy program for the community.  Undergirding these programs is the strong belief that chaplaincy going forward will be found at the bedside, in the congregational pew, on the street corner and in the police car, in essence where there is suffering.

The Clinical Pastoral Education program at Johns Hopkins Medicine had been holding “Community Partners CPE” programs.  Differentiated from “community based” CPE, this program was designed in order to support professional development of chaplains who would provide spiritual care in support of wellness, health literacy and access to medical care. This CPE program focused on a continuum of health care at the intersection with spirituality. Participants learned about the navigation of the health care system as part of their didactic component of the educational program.

In the summer of 2016, there was a pilot program in partnership with the Baltimore Police Chaplaincy program.  The CPE residents at Johns Hopkins Hospital were provided with didactic information about community policing and the positive impact of such.  This led to an experience with a police officer in a “ride along.”  The feedback about this program and its impact on the residents was overwhelmingly positive.

This project’s CPE program, in conjunction with the Baltimore Police chaplaincy training, extends the Community Partners CPE program to include aspects of the police training for community chaplains and provides CPE expertise related to the action-reflection-action aspect of case presentations and personal narrative.

The CPE program includes service in the community through ride-alongs as well as hospital experiences in order to better understand and navigate the health care system. CPE students are assigned to the Emergency Department and trauma team as part of their experience.

The objectives for the program are:

  • Increased knowledge about social context and social determinants of health
  • Increased knowledge about trauma and interventions when trauma has occurred
  • Increased understanding of the neighborhoods around the Johns Hopkins Academic Division campuses- Johns Hopkins Hospital and Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center so that interactions with in-patients can be improved
  • Develop an understanding of chaplaincy that is in partnership with the providers of health care and the community
Rev. Dr. Paula Teague, Senior Director, Spiritual Care and Chaplaincy - Johns Hopkins Health System