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News: Press Releases

Volunteers Assist in Hospital Ministry

Spiritual Care Partners Commissioned


ALTOONA, Pa., January 13, 2017 — The UPMC Altoona Pastoral Care Department recently recognized six volunteers who completed the Spiritual Care Partners program at UPMC Altoona with a commissioning service.

Spiritual Care Partners is a volunteer chaplain program assisting Pastoral Care.

“We believe that it’s not just the medical care that we provide to our patients that’s important, but also the care of the entire person—their emotional needs and, especially, their spiritual needs,” said Bob Strawser, executive director, Mission and Patient Experience, UPMC Altoona.

The course work was divided into both academic and clinical components, from theoretical knowledge studies to patient visitation.

Tony Conrad, director of Pastoral Care, described this class of graduates as an “interesting, diverse group of people of all different faith traditions and backgrounds. There are engineers, nurses, teachers and more.” He also described them as a very hard-working and diligent group.

Graduates include staff member Fr. Benjamin Merderios, Franciscan Friars of the Third Order Regular, Loretto; and community members, Carol Lipitz and Keith Natoli, Hollidaysburg; Ralph Luciano, Altoona; Celeste Stolz, Loretto; and Cheryl White, Williamsburg.

Interested in the Spiritual Care Partners program? The next class will begin in September 2017. Contact Anthony Conrad at 814-889-4323 for more application information.


About UPMC

A $13 billion world-renowned health care provider and insurer, Pittsburgh-based UPMC is inventing new models of patient-centered, cost-effective, accountable care. UPMC provides nearly $900 million a year in benefits to its communities, including more care to the region’s most vulnerable citizens than any other health care institution. The largest nongovernmental employer in Pennsylvania, UPMC integrates 65,000 employees, more than 25 hospitals, 600 doctors’ offices and outpatient sites, and a more than 3 million-member Insurance Services Division, the largest medical and behavioral health services insurer in western Pennsylvania. Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences, UPMC ranks No. 12 in the prestigious U.S. News & World Report annual Honor Roll of America’s Best Hospitals. UPMC Enterprises functions as the innovation and commercialization arm of UPMC while UPMC International provides hands-on health care and management services with partners in 12 countries on four continents. For more information, go to UPMC.com







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