Spiritual Care at MedStar Washington Hospital Center | MedStar Health
The spiritual care team from MedStar Washington Hospital Center poses for a group photo.

About Spiritual Care

MedStar Washington Hospital Center was formed from the merger of three historic Washington, D.C., hospitals, General Dispensary and Emergency Hospital (founded May 7, 1871); Garfield Memorial Hospital (founded May 18, 1882) and Episcopal Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital (founded Jan. 18, 1897). The Hospital Center celebrated its 59th anniversary on March 10, 2017.

A not-for-profit, 912-bed major teaching and research hospital based in Northwest Washington, D.C., MedStar Washington Hospital Center is the largest private hospital in the nation's capital, and among the 100 largest hospitals in the United States.

The Hospital Center is home to the MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute, a national leader in the research, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease. It operates the Washington Region's first Joint Commission-certified Comprehensive Stroke Center in the District and provides the latest in cancer treatment and therapies at Washington Cancer Institute. The Hospital Center is also home to the region's only adult Burn Center and to MedSTAR, a nationally-verified level I trauma center with a state-of-the-art fleet of helicopters and ambulances.

At the founding of the Hospital Center, pastoral care was part of the standards of care. Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) was initially accredited at the hospital in April 1977. Currently, the Department of Spiritual Care, provides spring, summer, fall and extended units of CPE; a 12 month, three units, residency; and Certified Educator Candidate training.

Based on an educational model for spiritual care service delivery, chaplain residents provide the majority of day-to-day patient spiritual care coverage. They also function as team administrative chaplains for student practicum students. The resident and intern chaplains also serve on specific units as the primary chaplain/spiritual caregiver and provide coverage of a significant portion of the 24/7 spiritual care on-call shifts.

The department also utilizes a cadre of former CPE students as contract on-call chaplains. Spiritual Care also has a number of volunteer-designated pastoral caregivers/chaplains, who are called upon to visit persons from their specific faith group, for example, an Episcopal priest, Jehovah’s Witness, etc. In addition, the department provides administrative/budget oversight for a contract chaplain designated for the hospital’s two mental health units.

Pastoral Care Services

The Spiritual Care Department represents a variety of faith traditions and seeks to provide special events and services that give observance to the importance of spirituality and faith in healing. Chaplains provide spiritual and emotional support to patients and their loved ones upon request. A chaplain can be contacted at any time by calling 202-877-7138.

An interdenominational chapel is located on the first floor and is open 24 hours a day.

  • Community Interfaith services are held daily at 9:00 a.m. and Sundays at 10:00 a.m.
  • Catholic Mass is held on Sunday through Friday at noon and on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
  • The Muslim Jumah prayer service is held weekly
  • Jewish services are held as arranged by the Rabbi. For more information, call ext. 7-7138.


Pastoral Care Team

  • Emmanuel Saidi, PhD, BCC, ACPE Certified Educator, Director, Spiritual Care, 202-877-3335
  • Tahara Akmal, MA, BCC, ACPE Certified Educator, CPE Manager, 202-877-7553
  • Sean Lubbe, M.Div., ACPE Certified Educator Candidate 202-877-7820
  • Teklu Gudeto, Administrative Staff Chaplain, 202-877-2045
  • Jacques Bateko, Staff Chaplain 202-877-2707
  • Fr. Denis Mandamuna, Staff/Catholic Chaplain 202-877-6619
  • Fr. Fidelis Umkoro Catholic Chaplain 202-877-6691
  • Sr. Daria Moon, Catholic Chaplain 202-877-6691

Contact us

Department Phone Numbers:

24/7 On-Call Chaplain:

110 Irving St., NW, 1B-18
Washington, D.C., 20010


Not Alone Transition Companion

The Spiritual Care Department has a volunteer program that provides critically ill or dying patients and those without family support with a companion in their final days or hours when family members are not available. The team is seeking compassionate and caring volunteers to sit with patients, read with them or just hold their hand so they are not alone at the bedside. If you have a passion for caring, call the Spiritual Care Department at 202-877-5333 to volunteer.

Clinical Pastoral Education

Our Spiritual Care Department has a strong record of accreditation from the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE), Inc. to offer Level I, Level II, and Certified Educator Candidate (CEC) training.