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About Handzo Consulting

The mission of Handzo Consulting is to provide strategies to fully integrate spirituality into health care. 

The mission will be accomplished through

1. Assessing, planning and implementing spiritual care plans for health care institutions

The assessment will include analysis of data provided, a tour of the institution and interviews with key personnel who are stake holders in chaplaincy care and can give input on the spiritual care needs of the institution and what the goals for spiritual care should be. HC will provide a comprehensive report at the conclusion of the assessment which will result in the identification of next steps towards accomplishing the institution’s objective of providing a comprehensive program of spiritual care services to patients, families and staff.

2. Mentoring professional chaplains

Mentoring/coaching can be provided for chaplains who are building a new program or upgrading an existing one. The mentoring gives the chaplain the ability to take full advantage of over thirty years of experience building and running chaplaincy in health care. Mentoring will be focused on understanding how change is accomplished in the particular institution and how to incrementally design and implement the strategic growth of chaplaincy care. Mentoring can be provided on a regular schedule or as needed. The service can be offered by the hour or under retainer.

3. Designing and implementing quality improvement programs in spiritual care

As a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, George Handzo brings advanced expertise in designing and implementing quality improvement programs to improve both process and outcome metrics. Consultation can be provided for all phases of quality improvement including problem identification, project design, data processing, implementation, and ongoing monitoring.

4. Enhancing the contribution of communication and spiritual care to patient experience

Programs can be designed to improve patient satisfaction and patient experience scores, improve communication between patients and health care professionals and among the professionals, and improve the patient experience for those from particular cultures. The expectation is that as research on patient experience advances the role of the chaplain as a listener and communicator will be increasingly appreciated.

5. Staff training

As spiritual care becomes increasingly recognized as the responsibility of all members of the health care team, there are more opportunities to work with teams such as those at George Washington Institute of Spirituality and Health (GWISH) who are involved in teaching interdisciplinary spiritual care. George Handzo has represented the role of the chaplain on these teams.

6. Chaplaincy/spiritual care outside North America

Palliative care is now a worldwide movement. As part of this movement, but even preceding it, there has been increased interest in professional health care chaplaincy outside North America. There has long been good work going on in the United Kingdom and Australia. There is a new book soon to be released on spirituality in health care which has editors from the US, the UK and Australia. George Handzo co-authored a chapter on chaplaincy with a chaplain from the UK and one from Australia. There is a growing palliative care movement in India and Africa which will inevitably involve spiritual care. Social media has vastly accelerated this communication across the world and the opportunities to become known by an international audience.

Each project will be evaluated in terms of its potential to advance the mission versus the time and effort expended. Our services are completely scalable to the unique needs and budgets of any client.


About George Handzo, President

The Rev. George F. Handzo, BCC is widely regarded as one of the foremost authorities on the deployment and practice of professional health care chaplaincy. With over 30 years in directing Chaplaincy programs, he is leading the field in the creation of practices and services which combine spiritual care with proven business benefits for health care institutions, their staff and their patients.

As the Director of Health Services Research and Quality at HealthCare Chaplaincy Network and President of Handzo Consulting, Rev. Handzo has provided leadership to projects devoted to the strategic assessment, planning and management of chaplaincy services. Clients have included the US Naval Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, Mount Sinai Medical Center (New York), Hospital Corporation of America, St. Joseph’s Hospital & Medical Center (Phoenix), and Intermountain Healthcare. Rev. Handzo was also the co-principal investigator on a major grant to establish research capacity in the nascent field of chaplaincy research.

Rev. Handzo has authored or co-authored over fifty chapters and articles on the practice of chaplaincy care. He lectures widely at medical institutions and industry wide congresses such as the American Academy of Hospica and Palliative Medicine. He was the founding Director of Chaplaincy Services at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center for over twenty years and is a past president of the Association of Professional Chaplains. He serves on the Distress Guidelines Panel of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network and the Palliative and End of Life Standing Committee of the

National Quality Forum He has received the Anton Boisen Professional Service Award, the highest award given by the Association of Professional Chaplains.

George is a graduate of Princeton University and Yale University Divinity School. He is a Certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt. He and his wife Beth live in California and are the parents of two adult sons. 

Recent Invited Presentations 

  • "Taking the Lead in Integrating Spiritual Care Through Clinical 
Practice, Education and Research" The Collective Soul Symposium. 
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
& Institute for Spirituality and Health. Houston, TX, February, 2016. 
  • "The Critical Role of Spirituality in Patient Experience" (with Jason Wolf), Webinar sponsored by the Beryl Institute and Health Care Chaplaincy Network. January, 2016. 
  • "How Spiritual Care Enhances Your Patient Care: What Does Research Say? Grand Rounds, LAC + USC Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA. December, 2015. 
  • "The State of the Science in Spiritual Care in Palliative Care" Institute for Palliative Care, California State University, San Marcos, CA. October, 2015. 
  • “Palliative Care Without Spiritual Care is Not Palliative Care”. 9th Annual Palliative Care Conference. Portland, Maine, June, 2015. 
  • “The Professional Chaplain: Taking the Lead In Integrating Spiritual Care Through Clinical Practice, Education, and Research” 2015 Caring for the Human Spirit Conference, Orlando, FL. April, 2015. 
  • "Building an Evidence-Based Spiritual Care Program to Advance Patient-Centered Care". Plantree Conference, Boston, MA. March, 2015.
  • “’There Is Going to Be a Miracle’: Decision Making When Religious Beliefs and Medical Realities Conflict.” Annual Conference, American Academy of Hospice & Palliative Medicine. Philadelphia, PA, February, 2015. (with C. Puchalski)
  • “But I’m Not a Researcher: The Role of the Chaplain on the Research Team.” Annual Conference, Association of Professional Chaplains. Anaheim, CA. June, 2014. (with M. Barnes & K. Massey). 
  • “Professional Health Care Chaplaincy: The Door is Wide Open”. European Network of Health Care Chaplains, 13th Consultation, Salzburg, Austria.  May, 2014. 
  • “Improving the Spiritual Domain of Palliative Care”. Annual Conference, American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. San Diego, CA. March, 2014. (with C. Puchalski, MJ Prince-Paul, S. Otis-Green). 

Selected Recent Publications

  • Puchalski C, Ferrell B, Virani R, Otis-Green S, Baird P, Bull J, Chochinov H, Handzo G, Nelson-Becker H, Prince-Paul M, Pugliese K, Sulmasy D. (2009) Improving the Quality of Spiritual Care as a Dimension of Palliative Care: The Report of the Consensus Conference. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 12(November 10, 2009), p. 885-904. 
  • Hughes B, Handzo G. (2010) The Handbook on Best Practices for the Provision of Spiritual Care to Persons with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury. United States Department of the Navy, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery.
  • Jankowski K, Handzo G., Flannelly K. Testing the Efficacy of Chaplaincy Care. (2011) J. of Health Care Chaplaincy. 17( 3-4), pp. 100-125.
  • Handzo, G., Cobb, M., Holmes, C., Kelly, E., & Sinclair, S. 2014. Outcomes for Professional Health Care Chaplaincy- An International Call to Action. J of Health Care Chaplaincy20(2),  43-53. DOI:10.1080/08854726.2014.902713 
  • Handzo, G. 2014. Strategies for Introducing the Role of Chaplain Researcher to Administrators and Team Members.  In Myers, G & Roberts, S (Eds). An Invitation to Chaplaincy Research: Entering the Process. Published online by HealthCare Chaplaincy Network. p. 161-170.
  • Marin DB, Sharma V, Sosunov E, Egorova N, Goldstein R, Handzo G. 2015. The relationship between chaplain visits and patient satisfactionJournal of Health Care Chaplaincy. 21 (1):14-24.
  • Emanuel, L., Handzo, G., Grant, G., Massey, K, Zollfrank, A, Wilkie, D., Powell, T., Smith, W., Pargament, K. 2015. Workings of the human spirit in palliative care situations: a consensus model from the Chaplaincy Research Consortium BMC Palliative Care (2015) 14:29 DOI 10.1186/s12904-015-00053
  • Handzo, G., Puchalski, C. 2015. The Role of the Chaplain in Palliative Care. In Cherny N, Fallon M,  Kaasa S, Portenoy R, & David C. Currow D. (Eds) Oxford Textbook of Palliative Medicine (5th Ed.). Oxford University Press., p. 170-176.  DOI:10.1093/med/9780199656097.003.0045
  • Handzo, G. 2015 Communication in Palliative Chaplaincy. In Wittenberg-Lyles, E., Ferrell, B., Goldsmith, J., Smith, T., Ragan, S., Glajchen, M, Handzo, G. (Eds),  Textbook of Palliative Communication. New York; Oxford University Press. 
  • Wolf, J, Palmer, S, Handzo, G. 2015. The Critical Role of Spirituality in Patient Experience. The Beryl Institute, Dallas, TX.
  • Sharma; Marin; Sosunov; Ozbay; Goldstein; Handzo. The Differential Effects of Chaplain Interventions on Patient Satisfaction. Journal of Health Care Chaplaincy, In Press. 

Other Major Achievements


Consultant and Chapter Author - Professional Spiritual & Pastoral Care: A Practical Clergy and Chaplain’s Handbook, 2011. 

  • Consulted on content, outline, author selection and editing of this major text which has been called a “must have” volume for all care providers in the field. Authored or co-authored three chapters. 

 Advisor - Consensus Conference on Spiritual Care in Palliative Care, 2009.

  • One of six core advisors to this definitive conference funded by the Archstone Foundation. Made major contributions to the paper and book which resulted. The model developed by this conference is now used world-wide and is widely regarded as the gold standard for the integration of interdisciplinary spiritual care in health care.

Member - Standards of Practice Work Group, Association of Professional Chaplains, 2009. 

  • Member of the group which established the first Standards of Practice for health care chaplaincy. Chosen to present a plenary on the new standards at the APC convention.


Co-Author - The Handbook on Best Practices for the Provision of Spiritual Care to Persons with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury, 2009.

  • Co-authored this handbook produced under contract to the US Navy. This volume remains the only compendium of resources for spiritual care of this population. It is widely used with both military and civilian populations.  

Contributor and Trainer - Psychological First Aid: Field Operations Guide for Community Religious Professionals, 2006.

  • Major contributor to this resource published by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, this is the standard training manual for responders to disaster from the religious communities. Continue to serve as trainer for professional chaplains in this program 

Chair - Common Standards and Code of Ethics Project, 2004

  • Led this seminal project which established the first common standards among the six major health care chaplaincy organizations in North America for the certification of professional chaplains. Also established the first common Code of Ethics across these groups. These standards and codes remain in effect and guide certification for health care chaplains in North America.