Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie instituted a program called “Clinical Pastoral Education” (CPE). I was privileged to be in the first class going through this intensive program, which is nationally accredited. I would like to commend Dr. Aronzon and staff for their forward-looking understanding that healing not only involves the physical, but also the emotional and spiritual. This unit of CPE started in early October, and ended at the end of April. There will be another unit offered in the fall.
CPE chaplain interns are considered interfaith chaplains, which means we minister to people of all faiths, or no faith. We are there to visit, offer emotional support, and to pray with patients and families if they so desire. Patients, their families, and the staff were appreciative of the support we chaplain interns gave them. Vassar’s CPE program is the only one in the Mid-Hudson Valley. The nearest other ones are at Westchester Medical Center and Albany. I believe initiating this program speaks volumes about the care that VBMC gives (but then, I’m prejudiced, since I’ve had the privilege of observing their care first hand).
Cheers also to Rev. John Simon, Director of Pastoral Care at VBMC, who worked hard to bring this program to Vassar, and whose organizational skills made this initial unit a success. Rev. Trudi Hirsch deserves much credit as well. She was brought in by the hospital to be the CPE supervisor, and her experience and professionalism was much appreciated by we interns.