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Hoag’s 2019 Spirituality Conference

Thank you to everyone who attended the 15th Spirituality Conference. The sold-out event seated over 200 people in the Pacific Ballroom at the University of California, Irvine. Attendees listened to six diverse lectures discussing spirituality and healthcare. This year’s theme was titled “Global Care to Self-Care,” which revolved around not only cultivating joyfulness for yourself and patients, but also extending that service to the rest of the world. The speakers all came from different backgrounds, but they had one thing in common: they develop sound strategies in the healthcare industry with faith in mind.

Reverend Fletcher Harper of Greenfaith

The morning started with an opening statement from Susan Johnson from Hoag Ministries and a blessing of the space from Jeff Hetschel, Chaplain of Hoag Hospital in Irvine. It immediately shifted to the first speaker, Reverend Fletcher Harper of Greenfaith. Harper is the executive director of Greenfaith, a faith-based organization that helps address environmental issues. He discussed how to strengthen a relationship with the natural world.


Laura Chanchien Parajon MD, MPH

Next was Laura Chanchien Parajon MD, MPH, co-founder of AMOS Health and Hope. AMOS currently serves in the rural areas of Nicaragua, providing basic healthcare to patients who cannot easily obtain it. Parajon said that when she first started serving there, infants were dying from easily curable illnesses such as diarrhea. But the longer her team spent there, the lower the mortality rate would drop.

Kathy Schoonover-Shoffer, PHD

After a short morning break, the lectures continued with Kathy Schoonover-Shoffer, PHD, the editor of the Journal of Christian Nursing, discussing strategies for creating healthy communication in a toxic work environment. She listed off traits of the “dysfunctional co-worker” and how to navigate difficult situations with them. She also took a different approach to the issue: what if you are the dysfunctional co-worker? In a very non-judgmental manner, Schoonover-Shoffer walked the audience through ways to help improve their own attitudes s in toxic environments.

Ahmed El-Bershawi, MD, Cindy Capretz, LCSW, MSW, and Nancy Raymon, RN, MN

Next, Vincent Nguyen, DO hosted a panel with three healthcare professionals who talked about initiating difficult conversations surrounding healthcare choices with patients and their caregivers. Ahmed El-Bershawi, MD, Cindy Capretz, LCSW, MSW, and Nancy Raymon, RN, MN gave their opinions on the difference between a “good death” and a “bad death.” While their testimonials were very eye-opening, Dr. Nguyen’s story particularly stood out. He spoke of a patient who was admitted after having a stroke. After waking up, he was surrounded by family and Buddhist monks, talking and laughing with them. However, six hours later, he passed away peacefully with his family at his side.

During the Q&A portion, the niece of that patient stood up and spoke about how thoughtful Dr. Nguyen was during the situation and how it was one of the best hospice environments she had seen.


Dawn Kaiser, ME

After an 80-minute lunch and look-through of the participating exhibitors, the audience was treated to a energetic presentation by Dawn Kaiser, ME, a public speaker who coaches companies and individuals on how to refuel joy. She made her presentation more interactive by having attendees draw pictures and talk with people around them.

Amit Hiteshi, MD

To finish off the day, Amit Hiteshi, MD, talked about cultivating mindfulness and how to prevent burnout.

We would like to thank the following vendors who participated in the 15th Spirituality Conference:

  • Hoag
  • Family Caregiver Resource Center
  • St. Joseph-St. Mary
  • Advanced Rehab of Tustin
  • Alzheimer’s Association-Orange County Chapter
  • Alzheimer’s Orange County
  • BrightStar Home Health
  • CalOptima
  • Care Connections Network
  • Care Partners at Home
  • Companion Hospice
  • Meadowlark Gardens + Crown Cove
  • Mind & Memory Program at Mission Hospital
  • New Directions for Women
  • Oakmont Senior Living
  • St. Joseph-Home Care Services
  • St. Joseph-Seacrest Hospice
  • Vitas

We are looking forward to seeing you at the Spirituality Conference next year. More information to come soon. Comments? Questions? Feel free to reach out to us at

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