Affinity Groups

Affinity Groups

Welcome to our Affinity Group page! What is an affinity group? It is a group of people who share common interests or goals. The term affinity is also used to describe a sense of understanding based on having been through similar experiences, or being in possession of similar qualities. In healthcare, affinity groups often range from highly organized and managed groups to more de-centralized groups that function on an "as needed" basis. We are in the process of forming several affinity groups related to health professions education here at VTCSOM & Carilion Clinic, and this web page will be the place to find information about them as they become active. Please check back here as often as you would like. And, if you have any suggestions for a new affinity group please let us know!

Affinity Groups

Spirituality and Medicine Affinity Group

Spirituality plays a vitally important role in patient care.  Surveys have consistently shown that patients want their spiritual needs to be considered by their physicians and/or other care providers at key moments during the management of illness, and on other occasions as well.  While there are various definitions for the term spirituality, most often this refers to whatever gives a transcendent meaning to one’s life.  While many patients’ spirituality includes reference to a specific religious and/or cultural point of view, this is not necessarily the case.  The emphasis during patient care interactions featuring spirituality must be on “optimizing therapeutic efficacy in the context of standard medical care” (Post SG et al, 2000).  One of the most important and concrete learning opportunities for health care professionals concerns the ability to appropriately take a spiritual history from a patient.  Teaching on this subject is now present in nearly every US medical school. Below are some quality videos on how to integrate spirituality into patient care:

CME/CE Videos (Integrating Spirituality into Patient Care)
Five professionally produced 45-minute videos on why and how to “integrate spirituality into patient care” are now available on the web site for Duke University's Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health.  These are free, unless CME/CE is desired.  Videos are targeted at physicians, nurses, chaplains, and social workers in an effort to help them form spiritual care teams to provide “whole person” health care that includes the identifying and addressing of spiritual needs.
Go to:

Our newly-formed affinity group on this topic currently includes approximately 40 individuals from across the medical center, the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg and the surrounding region.  We plan to meet 2-3 times per year for discussions of literature on this topic as well as explorations of ways to further develop our educational and research missions in this context.  To be added to our electronic mailing list, please click here.

Tom Milam, MD
Inpatient Psychiatry Carilion Clinic

David Musick, PhD.
Assistant Dean for Faculty Development  VTCSOM
Director Continuing Professional Development Carilion Clinic