American Indians; Arizona; Cancer – Treatment; Chaplains; Indians of North America; Indians of North America — Medicine; Indians of North America — Religion; Medical care — Religious aspects; Oncology care; Spiritual care (Medical care); Spirituality; Traditional medicine; Traditional Indian medicine


Clinical and Medical Social Work | Health Services Administration | Public Health | Sociology


Spiritual care is essential in providing quality health care for patients and their families and is supported in the mission of the Indian Health Service (IHS). Their mission is to raise the physical, mental, social and spiritual health of American Indians and Alaska Natives to the highest level. This paper will describe the spiritual care programs at the Phoenix Indian Medical Center, an IHS hospital located in Phoenix, Arizona. Two hospital committees, the Volunteer Chaplains’ Association and the Traditional Cultural Advocacy Committee, provide spiritual care for the medical center and work to sustain a presence of spiritual and cultural awareness and well being. In this paper, particular attention is focused on the ways in which these committees have worked collaboratively with community agencies, tribes in Arizona, and academic institutions, through National Cancer Institute funded grants to raise awareness of how spiritual and cultural understandings of American Indians play an essential role in cancer care.