Research and Policy

SHA leads the advancement of research and policy impacting the spiritual care sector.

We do this through effective policy analysis, research, and strategic advice to grow knowledge and understanding of best practice spiritual care.

To develop research that supports best practice spiritual care, we:

  • Identify emerging issues and gaps in research on spiritual care
  • Develop new research in consultation and partnership with key stakeholders
  • Publish reports and papers
  • Disseminate key research findings to stakeholders

To promote policy initiatives and advocate for strategic change in spiritual care, we:

  • Provide research translation to governments, regulators, businesses, and others to deliver meaningful outcomes for consumers
  • Identify policy gaps in relation to spiritual care
  • Identify and develop effective partnerships with key stakeholders
  • Co-design research and policy responses and provide leadership, supervision and coordination
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of strategies
  • Represent the sector at relevant government forums as a key stakeholder and credible expert 
  • Responding to calls for submissions

Current Research Projects 

  • International Survey: The Impact of COVID19 on the Practice of Spiritual Care in the Health Care Service
    SHA, with six other researchers from the US and Europe, investigated the impact of COVID19 on the provision of spiritual care in the healthcare systems. 
    Australians featured significantly among the 1654 respondents to an international online survey, on which this international research collaboration is based. 

    The publishers of The Journal of Pastoral Care & Counselling have agreed to produce a special issue featuring about ten papers developed from the data collected in this survey.

    The papers will be written by members of this team, assisted at times by other experts.

    Papers will cover a range of topics, including:  

    • The impact on Chaplains and their Self Care  
    • New models of chaplaincy arising: an Australian case study 
    • Impact on future training and education, and 
    • Impact on spiritual care in mental health facilities.

    For more information about the research collaboration, please contact Cheryl Holmes at

Recent Research 

  • Faith Community Research: Faith Affiliation and Preferences of Patients in Hospitals
  • Investigating the provision of spiritual care in health care facilities from staff and patient perspectives — a joint research project with La Trobe University

To find our more about our research outputs, please review our Recent Publications.

A large number of resources and journals exist on quality health research within the spiritual care sector. Get in touch with us for more information.

For more information contact Cuong La.