Drew University to Launch New Contemplative Professional Certificate

Transforming (self-)care from a place of joy, inspiration, constructive critique, and reflective knowing

January 2023 – Drew University’s Caspersen School of Graduate Studies will launch a new Contemplative Professional certificate program in spring 2023.

The 12-credit certificate program, which can be completed fully online, will be part of Drew’s Medical & Health Humanities (MHH) program. Students learn how to contribute to healthier and more humane care practices by starting with care for themselves as care providers. Drew creates a space for their self-care and self-reflection through the humanities and the arts. 

There’s a growing number of healthcare professionals who experience mental, moral, and physical stress, often resulting in compassion fatigue and burnout. The certificate offers courses focused on contemplation and reflection in professional practice. Professionals will find new ways to care by contemplating their own well-being and extending these insights to others who are suffering.

“Erin Sheehan, adjunct professor of contemplative studies, reached out to me with an idea to create the Contemplative Professional Certificate,” said Program Director and Associate Professor of Medical & Health Humanities Merel Visse. “She worked with Drew students for many years and dreamt of expanding our support for professionals who want to transform care for others and themselves.”

“I was immediately enthused and saw connections with Healing of the Self courses, taught by Gaetana Kopchinsky, affiliate professor of medical and health humanities,” continued Visse. “With others, we explored how we can serve the growing number of professionals who suffer from stress, burn-out, and compassion fatigue by caring for others, and bring back joy, inspiration, constructive critique, and reflective knowing.”

With a foundation in health humanities, the arts, ethics, and philosophy—and enriched by theories and practices of contemplation and mindfulness—students will learn to question, critique, and respond from a place of contemplative knowing. Each course pays attention to contemporary concepts associated with contemplative care—such as silence, listening, wise action—using the dominant themes and methodologies of medical and health humanities, including neuroscience theory.

Click here to listen to an Interdisciplinary Investigations podcast episode featuring Sheehan, “A Voice for Silence – a Discussion with Erin Sheehan.”


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