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March 4, 1968

Clergymen's Role in Community Health Clinics

JAMA. 1968;203(10):902-903. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140100084042

It is contemplated that a community mental health center will be established in our city in the near future. It is my understanding that experience in other established community health centers indicates that the clergy do not refer many individuals who approach them with emotional problems to these centers, or indeed to psychiatric personnel in any facility. What is the explanation for this lack of rapport between clergy and mental health personnel? Specifically, what role do you visualize that the clergy can play in the community health centers? What training is necessary for a clergyman to assume the responsibilities of a chaplain? How can we utilize patient contact with clergy to assist in most efficacious case referral?