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2015 Annual Leadership Awards


APC® Annual Leadership Awards were presented on June 6, 2015 at the 2015 APC Annual Conference in Louisville, KY during the Grand Banquet and Member Recognition Luncheon programs. Congratulations to this year's award recipients:
In addition, the Oskar Pfister Award, given by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in collaboration with APC, will be presented to Allan M. Josephson during the Institute on Psychiatric Services, October 8-11, 2015, in New York City

We extend our gratitude to these individuals for their contributions to professional chaplaincy and the Association of Professional Chaplains®.




Distinguished Service Award
Kevin J. Flannelly PhD


The Distinguished Service Award is given to an individual and/or organization who may or may not be a member of the Association of Professional Chaplains, and who either has exemplified or promoted the standards of professional chaplaincy. One recipient for 2015 is Kevin J. Flannelly PhD, editor of the Journal of Health Care Chaplaincy (JHCC) and senior researcher at the Center for Psychosocial Research. His service to our profession by helping to increase research literacy among chaplains and by contributing to the chaplaincy knowledge base itself is, indeed, distinguished.

Under Dr. Flannelly’s editorship, the quality of the Journal of Health Care Chaplaincy  has substantially increased.  He set and maintains a level of rigor necessary for a peer-reviewed, research-based professional journal, and assists chaplains in meeting these standards in their submitted manuscripts. This means that only high-quality studies that exemplify rigorous research are published. JHCC has become the flagship journal of the profession, evidenced by APC providing subscriptions to all members as a benefit of membership. It is now indexed in two of the most widely used and important databases for medical and psychological literature, PubMed and PsychInfo. Consequently, researchers anywhere in the world conducting literature searches about topics broadly related to chaplaincy and spiritual care are exposed to research articles about our work.

For a profession in which research and publishing is still relatively new, Dr. Flannelly has created a forum in which to present results, spur discussion and encourage new research. Under his leadership, the journal has added an educational function, with a regular section devoted to teaching research methods to chaplains who may be interested in developing research studies but are unfamiliar with study design and execution.

In addition to his service as editor of JHCC, Dr. Flannelly is a productive investigator. His contributions to the literature in our field, including studies dealing with the perceived effectiveness of chaplains by hospital administrators, efficacy of chaplain interventions, and stress and burnout among chaplains, are essentially unmatched. He has written, or coauthored, well over a hundred articles and publications supporting research in chaplaincy, religion and health care.

Moreover, Dr. Flannelly has presented his chaplaincy research at many health care, psychology and religion conferences, thereby increasing awareness of chaplaincy and its importance within these professional circles. He also has helped many chaplains prepare and present their research at local and national conferences.

The increased use of research by and about chaplaincy is part of the APC Strategic Plan and the focus of our 2015 conference. Kevin Flannelly has made, and is making, a profound contribution to this important dimension of our profession.



Distinguished Service Award
Kenneth I. Pargament


The Distinguished Service Award is given to an individual and/or organization who may or may not be a member of the Association of Professional Chaplains, and who either has exemplified or promoted the standards of professional chaplaincy. A recipient for 2015, Kenneth I. Pargament not only supports and promotes chaplaincy but also exemplifies our professional standards.
Professor of Clinical Psychology at Bowling Green State University, Pargament has been a leading figure in the effort to bring a more balanced view of religious life to the attention of social scientists and health professionals.

Dr. Pargament has developed an important and impressive body of research and theory about religious/spiritual coping, which has helped advance our profession. His work has demonstrated that religious/spiritual coping provides an essential link between a person’s general religious orientation and commitment, and his or her response to specific stressful situations. In addition, his research about spiritual/religious struggle and its harmful effects has enabled chaplains to describe the acuity of spiritual need among their patients and thus provides a rational basis for determining the level of chaplaincy staffing required for specific clinical contexts. It also provides a basis for educating health care colleagues about which patients need referrals to a chaplain.

“I have been a huge fan of professional chaplains and been fortunate to work together with a number of wonderful chaplains who have taught me a great deal about what it means to care for people at the most difficult times in their lives.” says Pargament. “Over the years, we have collaborated in various research initiatives designed to demonstrate the critical and distinctive role chaplaincy plays in our health care systems. I am very grateful to APC for this award. It means a great deal to me.”

Dr. Pargament has published over 250 articles on religion and mental health. He is author of  “The Psychology of Religion and Coping: Theory, Research, Practice” and “Spiritually Integrated Psychotherapy: Understanding and Addressing the Sacred.”  He is editor-in-chief of the American Psychiatric Association’s recently published two-volume “APA Handbook of Psychology, Religion and Spirituality.”  In addition, he has consulted with several foundations, the National Institutes of Health, the United States Army, the World Health Organization and the John Templeton Foundation. Dr. Pargament was Distinguished Scholar at the Institute for Spirituality and Health at the Texas Medical Center. He has received numerous awards and honors in recognition of his research and practical efforts to understand and enhance the links between religion and mental health.



Anton Boisen Professional Service Award
Robert L. Grigsby


The Anton Boisen Professional Service Award is given to a board certified chaplain who has demonstrated a commitment to excellence in professional chaplaincy and made unique contributions to contemporary chaplaincy care. This year, we honor Robert L. Grigsby, whose work on the BCCI Commission on Certification has helped bring the certification process into maturity, while ensuring that quality, integrity and consistency are reflected throughout.

A CPE supervisor and BCCI® board certified chaplain, Grigsby was director of the Pastoral Care Department at Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals and Clinics in Tyler, TX from 2003 until his retirement in 2014.  He served APC from 2004-2014, first as a member of the BCCI® Commission on Certification, then as chair of the commission and member of the board of directors. He also served on the Futures Task Force.

Through his outstanding leadership of the BCCI® Commission on Certification, many improvements were made to the certification process. To better serve candidates, interview deadlines went from one per year to quarterly. In addition to the annual conference site, interviews began to be held throughout the country, rotating among the 14 certification areas.
Under Grigsby’s tenure, the commission developed a formalized orientation for those serving on certification committees to help ensure quality and uniformity. In addition, the certification policies and procedures manual was thoroughly reviewed and condensed from 200 to 50 pages.

To better support candidates, a hospitality room was established so that candidates could be greeted by commission members upon arrival and then receive a brief orientation to the interview process. This same hospitality room then receives candidates after their interviews for celebration and support. Hospitality rooms are provided to candidates not only at the conference but also at meeting sites throughout the country.

With Grigsby’s leadership, the commission also simplified the process for a chaplain to have his certification reinstated after a period of inactivity. In addition, he served on a joint task force of APC and ACPE to align the requirements of the theological education equivalency process.

In short, Chaplain Grigsby’s work helped transform the certification process into one that serves those seeking certification rather than one that asks candidates to serve the process.
With a master of divinity from Duke University Divinity School, Grigsby was endorsed by the United Methodist Church in 1979 and was granted board certified chaplain status in 1981 by APC/BCCI®. In 1983, he became a CPE supervisor certified by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education.



Retired Chaplain Award
John C. Wilson


John WilsonThe Retired Chaplain Award is given to a retired member who has made significant contributions in retirement to the field of chaplaincy care or to APC as an organization. Our recipient for 2015 is John C. Wilson, who has provided leadership and dedicated loyalty to our profession and to our membership organization throughout his career and into retirement.

Before his retirement, Wilson served as a trauma and critical care chaplain at Advocate Lutheran General, Park Ridge, IL. With a master of divinity degree from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, he is endorsed by American Baptist Churches in the USA. He joined APC in 1985 and has been a BCCI board certified chaplain since 1986. He served on the APC Care Casette and Certification Committees, and was  the liaison of the American Red Cross Spiritual Care Task Force to APC.
It is his dedicated work in disaster spiritual care  during his career and into retirement for which Chaplain Wilson is recognized with this award. A founding member of the American Red Cross Disaster Spiritual Care team and National Task Force member, he has spent the past 16 years ensuring that disaster survivors and workers receive quality chaplaincy care.

Through the years, Wilson responded to a number of disasters. His first deployment with the DSC team was after the Flight 990 Egypt Air Disaster in October 1999 off the coast of Massachussets. In the weeks following 9/11, he served as the national spiritual care lead at the American Red Cross. Most recently, he volunteered to be the DSC leader in Prescott, AZ during the deadly Yarnell Mountain fire in June 2013.

In addition to responding to crises, Wilson has spent countless hours on DSC development, training and structure building. His fingerprints are on nearly every important document, policy and decision. In his tenure, more than 600 professional chaplains have been trained as DSC volunteers. Without Chaplain Wilson’s leadership, the foundation he established, his sensitivity in navigating multiple faith communities and elected officials, and his willingness to do anything from tedious administrative tasks to managing intense and complex situations, the full integration of Disaster Spiritual Care into the American Red Cross might not be realized.



Oskar Pfister Award
Allan M. Josephson


Allan JosephsonAllan Josephson MD received his doctorate degree from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada in 1976 and completed residencies in psychiatry and child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Josephson subsequently held academic appointments at the University of Minnesota and the Medical College of Georgia, in addition to two years in the private practice of psychiatry. In 2003, he was named chief executive officer of the Bingham Clinic in Louisville, KY, where he currently is professor and chief, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry of the University of Louisville School of Medicine. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.

Dr. Josephson has lectured widely throughout the country in major universities on how worldview, spirituality and religion intersect with psychiatry. His educational emphasis has been to make the consideration of religious and spiritual factors a fundamental aspect of the psychiatrist’s work, both diagnostic and therapeutic. The “Handbook of Spirituality and World View in Clinical Practice” (APPI, 2004), which Dr. Josephson co-edited, is now used in the curricula of many psychiatric residencies throughout the U.S. and Canada.