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Abstract deadline
01 February 2021

Manuscript deadline
01 June 2021

Cover image - Journal of Health Care Chaplaincy

Journal of Health Care Chaplaincy

Special Issue Editor(s)

Jason Nieuwsma, Mental Health and Chaplaincy, VHA; Dept. of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center
[email protected]

Daniel Grossoehme, Akron Children's Hospital
[email protected]

Melissa Smigelsky, Mental Health and Chaplaincy, VHA
[email protected]

Keith Meador, Mental Health and Chaplaincy, VHA; Vanderbilt University
[email protected]

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Moral Injury Care: Practices and Collaboration

Aims of the Special Issue:

The goal of this special issue is to highlight ways that chaplains are approaching moral injury in health care contexts, with specific attention to interprofessional collaboration, data-informed approaches, and the particulars of clinical practices. We are especially interested in manuscripts that advance our understanding of how chaplains as spiritual care providers are concretely and systematically participating in moral injury care provision.

  • Data related to chaplain moral injury practices is desirable, including but not limited to metrics on patient outcomes, patient satisfaction with care, retention/attrition, demand for services, referrals from other providers, and/or qualitative findings from patients/providers.
  • Moral injury practice descriptions should include information on topical focus areas (e.g., overview of sessions if a protocol is used), interprofessional collaboration with other providers, and practice implementation guidelines.
  • If relevant, authors should describe approaches they have employed for engaging communities external to the healthcare context to foster reintegration and rehabilitation of persons with moral injury.
  • Finally, we encourage potential authors to articulate their working conceptualization of moral injury and to demonstrate how that conceptualization is reflected in the approach to care.


Moral injury has been described as a psychospiritual experience that involves a violation of one’s deeply held moral beliefs and values. Contemporary interest on moral injury originated from work with military veterans as described primarily in the psychological literature, though chaplains who work with veterans and military personnel have been early proponents and effectors of moral injury care provision. Psychological literature on moral injury has tended to focus on operational definitions, theoretical models, construct measurement, and clinical interventions. By contrast, the spiritual/theological literature on moral injury has offered complementary perspectives on the topic by tending to focus more on theological explorations, relevant lessons from religious/spiritual traditions, and sociocultural ramifications. Differing disciplinary approaches to moral injury should help to better elucidate and refine our understandings of it, hopefully also contributing to improved care practices. Our intention with this special issue is to advance our understandings of those conceptualizations and care practices, their implementation, and their associated metrics so as to facilitate more optimal engagement of chaplains as leaders and collaborators in moral injury care provision within health care.

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Submission Instructions

For this special issue, the editors are requesting that authors initially submit paper proposal abstracts, after which decisions will be made on invitations for authors to submit full length manuscripts.

  • Proposal abstracts should be no more than 500 words, not including title, authors, and contact information.
  • Proposal abstracts should describe the potential manuscript and provide preliminary data if available.
  • Proposal abstracts should be e-mailed to Jason Nieuwsma ([email protected]), copying Daniel Grossoehme and Melissa Smigelsky ([email protected]; [email protected]), by February 1, 2021 and should include contact information for the corresponding author.

Important dates are listed below:

            February 1, 2021: Paper proposal abstracts due (500-word limit)

            March 1, 2021: Invitations to submit full-length manuscript will be sent

            June 1, 2021: Invited full-length manuscripts due