Department History

The University of Virginia was founded by Thomas Jefferson and chartered by the General Assembly in 1819. Mr. Jefferson was elected the first Rector of the University and Chairman of the Board of Visitors, the governing body of the University. Two other members of the first Board of Visitors were James Madison and James Monroe.

The University opened for instruction on March 7, 1825 with a faculty of eight and a student body of sixty eight. One member of this faculty was Dr. Robley Dunglinson, the only professor in the “School of Anatomy and Medicine." Twenty of the original students were medical students.

The first University Hospital was open for patient use in 1902. The moving spirit behind the construction of this first hospital was Dr. Paul B. Barringer (1857 1941). Over the years, various additions have been made and in 1960, a large modern hospital was completed. By the early 1980's, with advancing medical technology, it was evident that a new modern facility was needed. Ground was broken in November 1984 and in March 1989 a new University Hospital was opened.

Currently, University of Virginia Health System is comprised of the University of Virginia Hospitals (approximately 600 beds), the School of Medicine, the School of Nursing, and various other treatment, training and research programs and facilities. Residencies and fellowships are offered in virtually all of the medical specialties. In addition, many other training programs, internships, and residencies are offered, among them, hospital administration, psychology, licensed practical nursing, medical technology, radiological technology, and clinical pastoral education. 

The Chaplaincy Service was begun in 1956 through the gift of an anonymous benefactor. The first chaplain was Walter A. Henricks; he remained in this position through 1964. Part of this time, Deaconess Mary Sandys Hutton assisted him in providing pastoral care to patients, families and staff. After Mr. Henricks left, various local clergymen provided chaplaincy services on a part time basis.

On October 1, 1965, Clyde M. Watson, Jr. became the chaplain for the University Hospital. The first accredited clinical pastoral education program was offered during the summer of 1966. Another program was offered again during the summer of 1967. On July 1, 1968, a full time, year-round residency program in clinical pastoral education was begun and it continues to the present. 

In February 1967, the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care (VIPCare) was founded as a "cluster," accredited by the Council for Clinical Training, Inc. Initially there were three CPE centers in this VIPCare cluster--the Medical College of Virginia Hospital (MCV), the University of Virginia Hospital, and Richmond Memorial Hospital. One of the primary reasons for founding this cluster was to help in providing funding for the CPE programs at MCV Hospital and UVA Hospital. In the fall of 1967, when ACPE was formed from the four existing CPE organizations, the VIPCare cluster became affiliated with ACPE and in 1971 the name was changed to the Virginia Cluster for Pastoral Education.

The original financial gift supported the Chaplaincy Service from 1956 to 1958. From 1958 to 1966, chaplaincy was sponsored jointly by the University Hospital and the interdenominational Chaplain Service of the Churches of Virginia, Inc. From 1967 to 1970, the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care replaced the Chaplain Service as a co sponsoring agency. In 1970, the University of Virginia Medical Center assumed full responsibility for the Chaplaincy Service, which was designated as the Division of Patient and Family Counseling.

This designation was very significant and resulted from a positive ruling by the Attorney General of Virginia. Historically, the Commonwealth of Virginia held that employment of a clergyperson as a clergyperson by the state would violate its understanding of the doctrine of the separation of Church and State. In essence, the Attorney General's ruling stated that it was within the provisions of the Constitution of Virginia to provide programs for counseling the sick and their families, provided that participation in such programs is not limited to or conditioned upon any religious affiliation. So, in 1970, when the outside funding was terminated and the Medical Center assumed full financial responsibility for the Chaplaincy Service, the title of Division of Patient and Family Counseling was adopted.

In the early 1980's the Medical Center underwent administrative reorganization and the title, Department of Patient and Family Counseling, was adopted. Practically, this did not affect the functioning of the Chaplaincy Service. Since 1965 at least, participation in the CPE programs of this center has not been limited to or conditioned upon any religious affiliation. In practice, most persons who have utilized the CPE programs have been theological students and clergy. 

Rev. Vernon Maxa was a member of the first residency group. After completing his residency and being certified as a chaplain supervisor in 1970, he was appointed to the faculty of the Chaplaincy Service. Agnes Barry completed her supervisory residency here in 1977 and was appointed to our faculty from 1978-1989. Jennifer Cobb replaced Agnes in March 1991. Vern Maxa left and Russell H. Davis joined our faculty in 1991, and in 1993, Joan L. Murray replaced Jennifer Cobb. In 1995, Russell Davis became the executive director of the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education. He remained as faculty on a part time basis through 1995 and in July 1995, Richard B. Haines joined the faculty. That same year, the department was re accredited by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education. 

On October 1, 1996, Dr. Watson retired after completing 31 years of service to the University of Virginia. His vision did more than just guide the department; it also helped establish the Department of Biomedical Ethics at the University. He left the department with a solid record of accomplishment in both education and in pastoral service.

Following Dr. Watson’s retirement, in January 1997, the name of the department changed to the Department of Chaplaincy Services and Pastoral Education. On May 1, 1997, Dr. Richard B. Haines was appointed director of the department.  The Medical Center approved the establishment of two staff chaplains—Rev. Phillip McCarley and Rev. Dr. Donald Moore--for weekend coverage. Catherine Bowers was officially declared the department’s administrative assistant. Rev. Mildred Best was appointed to the faculty in January, 1998.

In 1999, the name of the UVA Medical Center was changed to the University of Virginia Health System. Chaplaincy Services and Pastoral Education began sponsoring the Level 1 summer and extended CPE units through a satellite program at Eastern Mennonite Seminary. Clinical sites were held at Rockingham Memorial Hospital and the Mennonite Retirement Community. Under the leadership of Dr. Lonnie Yoder and ACPE Supervisor Jay Stearns, the seminary began to work toward standing as a fully accredited center. In the summer of 2000, Rev. Kenton Derstine was hired as their full-time ACPE supervisor. In 2002, Eastern Mennonite University became a fully accredited CPE center.

The Virginia Cluster for Pastoral Education formally dissolved in December 2000, when its members decided that centers would better relate through a sub-regional structure. At that point, all Virginia centers became individually accredited; this  marked the beginning of a new accreditation cycle for UVA. On January 1, 2001, the Virginia Cluster became the “Virginia Sub-Region, Mid-Atlantic Region, ACPE.” 

June 2001 marked the resignation of Dr. Joan Murray, who left the faculty to become director of pastoral care at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.  Rev. Mildred Best assumed the position of associate director, and the Rev. Melvin Janzen was hired to replace Philip McCarley as staff chaplain. In 2002, the supervisory education program was resumed and Rev. Angie Flack became the department’s first supervisory chaplain fellow in over ten years. She was certified as associate supervisor, ACPE, in February, 2006. Since that time, we have had several Supervisory Education Students.  Rev. Karen Heistand, after being certified as an ACPE Supervisory Candidate and completing and passing her theory papers at UVA, moved to Florida to complete her Supervisory Education process with an ACPE Center there.  On March 25, 2013, Rev. Shawn Gerber, ACPE Supervisory Candidate and former Chaplain Fellow at the UVA Health System, passed his papers, and in June of 2013, he accepted a position as Chaplain/Pastoral Educator at Indiana University Health, Bloomington Hospital.

In 2009, in addition to participating in the Virginia Sub-region S.E.S. group, we also started participating in the Charlottesville S.E.S. group that meets at UVA which includes supervisors and students from UVA, Eastern Mennonite in Harrisonburg and Caring Communities Ministry Education, LCC of Richmond.

In 2004, Randal Walton, Director of Pastoral Care at Centra Health in Lynchburg, VA contacted Richard Haines and asked about the possibility of setting up a program in Lynchburg as an extension of the CPE program at UVA. Dick worked with Randal and they established Centra as a satellite of the UVA program. The first unit at Centra was offered in 2005. A fall extended unit has been offered each year through 2012. The Rev. Sandra Greene, M.Div., BCC, ACPE Supervisor, was hired to supervise chaplain interns at Centra on July 16, 2012.

A combination chaplain/program coordinator was established in 1996 for the Cancer Center, and Rev. Susan Goins-Eplee (a former CPE resident) was the first person to fill this position. In 2005, Susan left to become a nursing student at UVA, and Rev. Gordon Putnam was called to fill the vacant position. As of July 1, 2013, Rev. Ellen Longmoore became the chaplain for the Cancer Center.

In April of 2010, the ACPE Accreditation Commission granted the UVA Health System Department of Chaplaincy Services and Pastoral Education continued 10-year accreditation status, with no notations. That same spring, Carilion Health System in Roanoke, VA requested to be one of UVA’s CPE satellite centers. By August 23, 2010, Carilion was offering CPE under the supervision of Richard Brown. 

UVA Health System’s Transitional Care Hospital for long-term patients was completed in the summer of 2010, and served as a placement site for CPE students through January of 2011. Rev. Ellen Longmoore was selected as a part-time staff chaplain to cover the Transitional Care Hospital and KCRC. As of July 1, 2013, Rev. Gordon Putnam became the chaplain of the Transitional Care Hospital.

The Chaplaincy department participated in implementing the EPIC electronic medical record during the summer and fall of 2010 and early spring of 2011. This new electronic workflow reflects our perceptions of pastoral care assessment and functioning. Chaplains provided support services to hospital personnel during the electronic medical record implementation, which occurred during the fall for ambulatory clinics and early spring for inpatient units. 

At the end of March 2012, Dr. Haines retired and left his position as Director of the Department of Chaplaincy Services and Pastoral Education. Mildred Best was chosen as Interim Director. Nancy Osborne, ACPE Supervisor, was a contract supervisor for the residency group during the summer of 2012.

On September 16, 2012, Rev. Mildred Best became Director of Chaplaincy Services and Pastoral Education. On June 10, 2013, Rev. Kevin Boyd, Associate CPE Supervisor, was hired to the position of CPE Supervisor.

After six years as a satellite of The University of Virginia, Centra was accredited this past November as a CPE Center offering Level I and Level II CPE.  Centra now offers a 5-slotted, year-long residency, as well as Level I initial units.

On January 6, 2014 the Rev. Viktoria Halmagyi Parvin was hired as the new Supervisory Education Fellow.  On February 24, 2014 the Rev. Dr. Donald Moore retired as Staff Chaplain, after serving the University for 20 years. The Rev. Stephone Coleman was hired as a wage chaplain in May of 2014. The Rev. Yoshiya Takahashi was hired to the Staff Chaplain position in June of 2014.