MED661DM.01 (Reno)
Spirituality in Medicine

Office of Medical Education

  • Course Name: Spirituality in Medicine
  • Short Name: MED661DM.01 Spirituality in Medicine
  • Course Number: MED661DM.01
  • Location: Reno
  • Department Contact: T. Brian Callister M.D, FACP, SFHM
  • Type: Non-Clinical
  • Length: Longitudinal
  • Preceptor: T. Brian Callister, MD, FACP, SFHM - Professor of Medicine

Please contact the department to verify elective availability.


  • The student must demonstrate completion of the elective by submitting two spiritual histories obtained from patients seen during this or some other elective during the 4th year. This must include the questions asked, the patient’s responses to the questions and their reaction to being asked those questions as part of a medical history; (AND)
  • By describing two or three clinical vignettes, based upon personal experience, involving a patient and his or her spiritual issues (AND)
  • With the preceptor’s guidance, the student will design a project related to topics in spirituality and medicine and submit a 4 – 6 page report of how the project objectives were met, the results, discussion, and implications for their own practice of medicine.

Description of Rotation

Spiritual insights from all the world's religions and spiritual traditions have many distinctive teachings, but they also have many things in common. The convergence of spiritual insight and wisdom profoundly effects the decisions that people make about their lives including health care choices. Many patients, families, and caregivers are concerned this spiritual aspect of our lives is not often considered or explored thoroughly during healthcare encounters. Often we find that no one wants to talk about the very things that matter most to our patients and their families at their greatest time of need. This elective is meant to build awareness of spiritual needs and wisdom and to develop the skills necessary to elicit a high quality spiritual history. In addition, the student will learn to utilize that important information to help direct patient care and advance care planning. This course will expand beyond what students have learned in their behavioral science courses and their Psychiatry Clerkship. It is also meant to help the students clarify their own beliefs and feelings about spirituality, and to help them see how their belief and value system can best be utilized in care giving, healing, and personal well-being.


Thomas Keating, "The Points of Agreement," Introduction to The Common Heart, xvii-xviii.
The Common Heart: An Experience of Interreligious Dialogue, ed. Netanel Miles-Yepez (Lantern Books: 2006)

The Center for Action and Contemplation

The GW Institute for Spirituality and Health, George Washington University;

Evaluation Method

Based on stated objectives. This elective utilizes the Student Performance form for Non-Clinical Electives.
Special criteria are set for section 1C as stated in the syllabus.


  • Honors: An exceptional performance which exceeds all course objectives
  • High Pass: A performance which exceeds most course objectives
  • Pass: A performance which meets the course objectives
  • Fail: A performance which does not meet the course objectives

Special Notes

This is a longitudinal independent guided study rotation that may be taken concurrently with other rotations; 1 credit per semester; 1 credit maximum.

All written work or oral presentations must be completed by the end of the semester in which the elective was taken.