Spring Symposium (Hybrid)

Organized and Sponsored by Drew’s Caspersen School of Graduate Studies, Department of Medical & Health Humanities, Drew Theological School, University of Humanistic Studies (UHS), and Atlantic Health System as a model for integrating community needs and feedback to specialized care across the life span.



Creating Compassionate Communities Survey Results

Event Information | For Event Registrants

Speaker Presentations

In the order of appearance.

Core Texts


Local Organizations and Resources


Reverend David Keith Brawley

The Reverend David Keith Brawley is the 7th Pastor of the 3000-member St. Paul Community Baptist Church located in the East New York section of Brooklyn and serves as Chairman of the East Brooklyn Congregations (EBC) and Metro-IAF, affiliates of the internationally recognized organizing entity Industrial Areas Foundation. He is also the Founder of the award-winning Imagine Me Leadership Charter School (IMLCS), the first all-boys charter school in the East New York section of Brooklyn, which educates minority boys and girls grades K-8. Preaching since the age of sixteen, Rev. Brawley began his full-time ministry career in 1994 at St. Paul, where he served as Assistant Pastor from 1995-2007. As Lead Pastor of St. Paul, Rev. Brawley has led several life-transforming initiatives impacting thousands of New Yorkers. Notably, his work with Metro-IAF has yielded the construction of over 3000 affordable homes and a $73 million educational campus in the borough of Brooklyn. The formation of the B-20 Leadership Scholarship Fund has distributed over $100K to graduating high school seniors in Brooklyn and created the ministry’s summer reading enrichment program for children K-8, which has produced improved reading and comprehension test scores for 90% of annual participants. In May of 2021, Reverend Brawley received his Doctor of Ministry from Drew University. Pastor Brawley resides in Brooklyn, New York.

Prof. Joke van Saane

Prof. Joke van Saane is Professor of Meaning and Leadership. She studied Psychology and Educational science at the Free University, where she also received her PhD and worked as a lecturer and researcher. She published on credible leadership, among other topics. From 2014 to 2019, she was Professor of Religious Psychology and Education,Theology & Religious Studies and portfolio holder for Education at the Faculty of Religion and Theology at Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. Since July 1, 2019, she has been rector and chair of the Executive Board of the University of Humanistic Studies.

Pat Weikart

Pat Weikart –Minister of Word and Sacrament PC (USA), Chaplain, Director of The Healing Tree SCD, Former Research Associate Nemours Children’s Health, Former Client Executive with IBM Corporation 4725 Champions Run, Cherry Hill, NJ. I began my professional journey as a legislative assistant in the US Congress and as a federal policy evaluator for the US Department of Labor while a student at the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University. I hold a bachelor’s degree in political science from Albright College and a master’s degree in public policy from Rutgers University. As a Client Executive for IBM Corporation 1981 to 1995, I learned how to help people reach their professional potential and how to break difficult, multi-layered problems into manageable consensus- based solutions. I began seminary part-time in 1994 after completing the IBM Client Executive Certification program at the Harvard Business School. From 1995-1997 I worked on a special assignment for Bell Communications Research, one of my former customers at IBM. I helped this privately held company become a public firm as General Manager for Sales and Marketing. I began seminary full-time in 1997 and graduated from Drew University, Madison, NJ, (Master of Divinity, Summa Cum Laude in 2000). I completed a 9-month unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) at the Somerset Medical Center in Somerville, NJ (1997-1998). I was hired by the medical center hospice as Chaplain after CPE in 1998 and continued that work through March 2000. I was ordained as Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (USA) on March 5, 2000. I have served the Central Presbyterian Church in Summit, NJ; the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church (NJ) and the First Presbyterian Church in Pitman (NJ). I completed my full-time parish ministry on June 30, 2016. I returned to chaplaincy at Nemours Children’s Health, Wilmington, DE on July 1, 2016. I worked on the Palliative and Supportive Care Team for 6 years. I was part of the first ISPEC (Interprofessional Spiritual Care Education Curriculum) course at GWU. Since then, a physician colleague and I have delivered the ISPEC course to 100 clinicians and chaplains. As a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree (Drew University anticipated May 2024), I am establishing a non-profit called The Healing Tree SCD. The Healing Tree SCD responds to the unmet needs of patients and families managing sickle cell disease by leveraging faith and community-based resources.

Alex Beth Schapiro

Alex Beth Schapiro is a healthcare chaplain working at the intersection of Spiritual Care and Population Health at Atlantic Health System. Clinically trained in Palliative Care chaplaincy, Alex is currently implementing a two-year demonstration project to develop a Spiritual Health Collaborative Care Model within the Accountable Care Organizations, funded by George Washington Institute of Spirituality and Health. Alex is also the Co-Convener for the Outpatient Chaplaincy Research Network through Transforming Chaplaincy. Alex has special research interests in telechaplaincy, spiritual care interventions for grief & bereavement, the religiously unaffiliated, and peer supervision.

Thomas Dooley

Thomas Dooley is the author of Trespass, a winning selection for the National Poetry Series. A two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, his poetry and collaborations have appeared widely, most notably with PBS NewsHour, the Academy of American Poets, Poetry Society of America, and on National Public Radio. He has presented internationally on the intersections of illness and poetry at the Mayo Clinic, Kings College London, University of Glasgow, and Weill Cornell Medical College, among others. Thomas has served as Poet in Residence at Mount Sinai Hospital, New York Presbyterian Columbia University Medical Center, and Overlook Medical Center, where he has designed and implemented narrative interventions for patients, caregivers, and clinical staff. Thomas serves as the inaugural Poet in Residence at the T. Denny Sanford Institute for Empathy and Compassion at University of California San Diego and manages the program in Humanistic Medicine at Overlook Medical Center.

Organizing Committee

Drew Theological School: Kenneth Ngwa, Director Global Health & Religion Forum and Arthur Pressley, Associate Professor of Psychology & Religion.

Drew Caspersen Graduate School/UHS: Merel Visse, Director of Drew’s Medical & Health Humanities program, Affiliate Faculty at UHS, Cynthia Orsini and Crystal King Wallner, doctoral students Medical & Health Humanities.

Atlantic Health System: Yvette Vieira, Sr. Manager, Palliative Care and Healthcare Ethics at AHS and Cynthia Orsini, NORCs (Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities) in New York City