COVID-19 Response & Accreditation Updates

ACPE is actively monitoring the COVID-19 (commonly known as the coronavirus) situation. The health and safety - of our students, members, and the community we serve - are our paramount priority.

We are committed to providing updates and information as the COVID-19 situation continues via email and postings to this webpage. We encourage you to monitor the CDC website for additional information.

During these uncertain times, ACPE is happy to share resources on mindfulness, spirituality, and practical reflection. If you would like to share a resource, please email Katherine Higgins. 

If you have any questions or need further information, please contact the office at (404) 320-1472 or

Response Updates

Certification Q&A and Call for Bilingual Educators
By Cecilia Walker, Chair, Certification Commission | April 20, 2020

I hope that you are all staying healthy and well during this unprecedented time. The Certification Commission continues to meet on a monthly basis and to support our CECs and the ACPE Certified Educators who are working diligently to maintain their progress in the certification process.

Based on feedback that Commissioners are receiving, we are happy to share that we will be holding a series of Q & A sessions related to the certification processes. These small group sessions will be facilitated by members of the Commission and the ACPE Office and will be an open forum for you to bring your questions.

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Frequently Asked Questions regarding ACPE’s Response to the COVID19 Pandemic 
ACPE News | April 6, 2020

Throughout the last week, including during ACPE’s online town hall meeting, we heard from members and students seeking guidance and clarification on upcoming residencies and summer units, international student visas, accreditation and certification policies, and peer review. We attempted to answer your frequently asked questions below.

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Watch the ACPE Leadership Town Hall Recording 
ACPE News | April 2, 2020

Watch the Leadership Town Hall recording to hear the ACPE conversation on the impact of COVID-19 on our association. 

Watch here

Become a Telechaplaincy Volunteer 
ACPE News | March 30, 2020

We are facing unprecedented times, and many of us are wondering how we can respond. We are receiving requests from institutions seeking additional spiritual care support, particularly through telechaplaincy. At the same time, we know some CPE students have been unable to complete units due to new restrictions for visitation. We hope telechaplaincy might provide them additional hours towards the completion of units. 

We are seeking volunteers to meet these requests. If you would like to be considered for telechaplaincy support, please complete the volunteer form below.  Your information will only be shared with institutional leadership working to meet the needs of those whom they serve. If you have questions or need more information, please email

You may also want to explore resources for spiritual care during this crisis, available here from our colleagues at the Chaplaincy Innovation Lab. Thank you for your dedication to our shared work.

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ACPE Continues to Offer Services & Support
By Trace Haythorn, Executive Director/CEO  | March 20, 2020

Dear ACPE Members, 

I hope you are reading this from your home; if not, I hope that you are supported in taking appropriate precautions as we learn to navigate this sudden and painful pandemic reality. I’m writing to let you know that even as we adjust, your ACPE staff is working remotely, striving to advance the work of the association, maximizing the use of digital tools to keep on top of your emerging needs as well as the ongoing needs of the organization. We know it will take some time to cultivate the balance and rhythms of new work practices, but please know our team is doing all we can to support you in this extraordinary time. 

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20/20 Annual Conference Cancellation
ACPE News  | March 18, 2020

With a heavy heart, the Partners for Professional Excellence in Spiritual Care (ACPE, APC, CASC, NACC, NAJC) decided to cancel the 20/20 Vision: The Future of Spiritual Care conference in Cleveland, OH due to the ongoing healthcare crisis and COVID-19.

The partners are deeply saddened by the need to cancel our conference, and we have done so only after consulting with our boards, the host city, conference center, and hotels. With the ongoing concerns about COVID-19 and the indefinite ban on gatherings in Ohio, along with the recommendation from the CDC to limit meetings to less than 50 people, it is impossible for us to continue to prepare for this conference.

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Where to Begin…ACPE’s Response to the COVID-19 Outbreak
By Trace Haythorn, Executive Director/CEO  | March 16, 2020

With so much in motion now, I’m not sure where to begin. In the interest of transparency, let me try and offer what we know, where leadership is working to get clarity, and where we are waiting for answers:

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Receive Support from Professional Well-Being Committee
By David Hutchinson, Professional Well-Being Chair  | March 16, 2020

Across ACPE and throughout our institutions, COVID-19 is top of mind. During these anxious times, members of the Professional Well-Being Committee remain committed to attending to the needs of our members, particularly those in vulnerable circumstances. We'd like to hear from you:  have you been personally impacted by COVID-19?  Are you in quarantine?  Please let us know so that we can support you during these anxious times. 

Send an email

COVID-19 Preparedness
By Melissa Walker-Luckett, Board Chair | March 6, 2020

Dear ACPE members,

ACPE, with its Strategic Partners, is actively monitoring COVID-19 (commonly known as the coronavirus) developments. As the accreditor of CPE programs that operate primarily in health care settings, ACPE is concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on our centers and the welfare of our members and students. Your health, safety, and well-being are our first priorities.

In your role as spiritual care providers, you and your students may be in direct contact with patients and other caregivers exposed to COVID-19. During these times of increased anxiety, your presence provides needed reassurance for patients and staff. Please adhere to the recommended safety guidelines and remember your own need for care. While we hold you in our thoughts and prayers during this time, we are also planning contingencies to ensure your safety.

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Accreditation Updates

Accreditation Commission Postpones all in-person Site Visits until 2021
By Pam Lazor, Chair, Accreditation Commission | May 12, 2020

Due to the challenges many of our centers are facing with COVID-19 as well as concerns related to the health of our members, the Accreditation Commission has decided to postpone all in-person site visits until after January 1, 2021.

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Center Portfolios and More
By Pam Lazor, Chair, Accreditation Commission | April 20, 2020

The Accreditation Commission continues to meet weekly to discuss all things accreditation. As our commissioners are in touch with centers on a regular basis, we understand the extra pressures that many are facing in their programs during these unprecedented times. We want to remind everyone that we are here to support you and to work with you on any areas of concern that you might have. Please don't hesitate to be in touch with your assigned commissioner at any time.

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Guidance from Accreditation Commission 
By Pam Lazor, Chair, Accreditation Commission | April 6, 2020

As our accredited centers continue to be impacted by COVID-19, the Accreditation Commission is providing the following guidance related to the minimum number of students required to form a group for a unit of CPE:

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Accreditation Commission Responds to Center's Needs during COVID-19 Outbreak 
By Pam Lazor, Chair, Accreditation Commission | March 23, 2020

Considering the current situation with COVID-19, many centers are limiting in-person exposure and visits, which create challenges for students seeking to complete their clinical hour requirement for their unit of CPE.  However, opportunities for centers and our students to provide spiritual care for patients and their families can look different than the traditional model of in-person visits. 

Spiritual Care provided via Tele/Video Conference
The Accreditation Commission offers this guidance for centers and educators who can establish telephonic or video conferencing opportunities for their students to provide spiritual care, if this is permitted by the center’s sponsoring institution (if applicable).

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Accreditation Commission Responds to Center's Needs during COVID-19 Outbreak

By Pam Lazor, Chair, Accreditation Commission  |  March 13, 2020 

The health and safety of our students and educators is a core value of ACPE and balancing this with the responsibilities of CPE students and spiritual care givers can be challenging for all involved. Therefore, the Accreditation Commission is sharing the following information related to the Year 3 Comprehensive Portfolio Review and One Person Peer Consultation.

Accreditation Cycle Requirements
Recognizing the known challenges and those not yet known with COVID-19, for this year only (2020), the commission will NOT require a comprehensive portfolio review and one-person peer consultation for centers in Year 3 of the accreditation cycle. However, the peer consultation for Year 3 centers will be optional if the center still wishes to have one. 

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Mitigation of Disruptions Caused by COVID-19 
By Pam Lazor, Acreditation Commission Chair | March 9, 2020

The health and safety of our students and educators is a core value of ACPE and balancing this with the responsibilities of CPE students and spiritual care givers can be challenging for all involved. Therefore the Accreditation Commission has developed the following guidelines and strategies to assist centers facing challenges related to COVID-19 and is empowering centers to work out the best plan for themselves as long as it fits within the Accreditation Manual requirements and Standards, and the requirements of their sponsoring institution, if applicable.

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