Skip to Content

Veterans may be impacted by Non-VA construction near the CLAYTON CLINIC. Construction may be blocking the entrance off of Hwy US 70 business.  Clinic may be accessed from the rear entrance off Atkinson St and S. Moore Street (S. Moore St can be accessed from US70 business at the traffic light).

Clinical Pastoral Education

Durham VA Health Care System’s Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) Program offers a multi-cultural and multi-faith experience in a holistic educational setting with opportunities to develop personal, professional, and theological competencies. In addition, our program offers the experience of providing care for and learning from our Veterans.

At DVAHCS, the CPE Program uses a wide range of clinical settings to provide clinical training in spiritual care. These care settings range from inpatient hospital units, both medical and psychiatric, to outpatient clinics to long-term care facilities. CPE combines instruction in spiritual care with direct experience in providing care with reflection on that experience. It is accepted as the standard preparation for ministry for those who seek to become or to continue as career healthcare chaplains. Those who complete the CPE Program apply their acquired skills as spiritual caregivers in many settings, from congregations to hospitals, prisons to hospices.

Learn more about Clinical Pastoral Education at ACPE.edu.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Faith

Program Distinctives

Our programs at the Durham VA Health Care System are unique, and an ideal location to complete Clinical Pastoral Education.

Schedule

Students complete clinical hours between the hours of 8am and 4:30pm, with responsibilities for leading worship once each program unit. Internships accommodate a part-time schedule, while our residencies and fellowship programs are full time. Our students do not serve as on-call chaplains. 

Accessibility & Inclusion

The DVAHCS CPE program seeks to be an accessible and inclusive program of CPE. This ACPE accredited program does not discriminate against persons because of race, ethnicity, religious/spiritual tradition, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, or disability. 

Mentoring

In addition to formal education sessions, CPE participants have the opportunity for clinical mentorship from board certified professional chaplains throughout their program. 

Interprofessional Collaboration

Chaplains and CPE Students at the Durham VA are well-integrated into the Veteran’s care team, providing unparalleled opportunity for collaboration across disciplines. Participants can expect to work closely with physicians, nurses, social workers, psychologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and more. Team meetings, one-on-one ad hoc consultations, and cross-discipline group leadership make this deep collaboration possible.

Group Facilitation

Students in our residencies and fellowships gain skills in facilitation by leading spirituality groups with our Veterans.

Mental Health Emphasis

The Durham VA is a wonderful place to learn about integration of spiritual care and mental health. Our program provides introductory and advanced training in Suicide Prevention, Mental Illness, Moral Injury, and PTSD. 

 

Accreditation

The DVAHCS CPE Program is accredited to offer Level I, II, and CEC CPE by ACPE: The Standard for Spiritual Care and Education. 1 Concourse Pkwy, Suite 800; Atlanta, GA 30328. https://acpe.edu/

Clinical Settings

Students in the program are considered part of the team and attend interdisciplinary team meetings on the unit where they are assigned. They work with staff chaplains offer clinical guidance and consultation. Services that the CPE students typically serve include:

  • Community Living Center (CLC) an extended care for rehabilitation or convalescence. 
  • Hospice provides care and support to patients and their families during the last stages of their illness. 
  • Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) an intensive cardiac care unit 
  • Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) treating oncology, diabetes, and other general medicine ailments. 
  • Surgical Services include patients needing a variety of surgical interventions and their families who are often waiting. The surgical process moves from pre-surgery through surgical procedures and on to discharge and follow-up. 
  • General Medicine.  Such patients suffer from a variety of respiratory conditions, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, gastrointestinal problems, renal disorders, and other medical diagnoses.   
  • Psychiatric patients are treated on Psychiatric Acute Recovery Center. These patients are being treated for psychiatric diagnoses including Schizophrenia, PTSD, Affective Disorders, and other mental illnesses. 
  • Home-Based Primary Care patients are visited by all disciplines in their homes. These patients are treated for a myriad of health symptoms and needs. 
  • Outpatient Clinics serve Veterans who suffer from issues including but not limited to: Substance Abuse, Women's Clinic, Hematology/Oncology Clinic and Home-Based Primary Care, Audiology, Radiology Cardiology, Urology, PACT, GI Clinic, Eye Clinic, Dental, PT/OT/RT, ED, PC-MHI, Suicide Prevention, Chemo, PRIME, Pain Clinic, OEF/OIF, Dialysis, Homeless Program, Pharmacy. 

Benefits and Pay

Tuition and Fees

As a Department of the Federal Government, the Durham VA Health Care System does not charge tuition or application fees to program participants.

Residency & Fellowship Programs

Students receive competitive pay, annual leave, and a regular schedule which requires no overnight on-call responsibilities.

CPE Program Offerings

The DVAHCS CPE program is a part of the VA’s commitment to education. We offer several exciting and diverse programs each year

Extended Internship Program

The extended internship program is currently on hiatus. Please check back for more information in August 2025.

The Durham VA’s Extended Internship Program offers students an introduction to spiritual care over the course of an academic year. Students have the opportunity to work with Veterans in a variety of inpatient settings, and are provided a robust introduction to the work of spiritual care. Personal spiritual formation, self-awareness, and working with a diverse population are important elements of Clinical Pastoral Education at the Durham VA. Seminary course credit may be available from your theological school.

CPE influenced my pastoral ministry more than any other class I took while at divinity school. I refer back to my experiences and all that I learned about myself often. I could not serve in the local church without having that experience, and I always encourage others in school to participate in similar programs.

Prerequisites
Progress towards a theological degree, and affiliation agreement on file. 

Academic Credit
Academic credit may be available from institutions accepting ACPE Accredited CPE. 

Program Dates
The extended internship program is currently on hiatus. Please check back for more information.

Apply 
Download application and email completed application to Chaplain Stuart Harrell, CPE Program Director at stuart.harrell@va.gov

First Year Residency Program

The Residency Program is a year-long, full-time program that allows the student to complete four CPE program units. The focus of this program is on professional development as a chaplain, including spiritual formation and integration, awareness of self and others, evidence-based spiritual assessment, care, and intervention, and working with relational dynamics in the spiritual care relationship. This program is ideal for students who want to become clergy or qualified laypersons specialized in spiritual care.

My first-year post-graduate chaplain residency at the Durham Veteran Affairs Medical Center has provided me with practical experience, mentorship, and empowerment as I pursue my call to serve those within the depths. Through working with this population of Veterans, gaining specialized mental health training, navigating self-nurturing practices/boundaries, and developing my professional competencies; I have grown immensely as a spiritual care provider in this transition out of the rigorous demands of Divinity School into my call as chaplain. 


Prerequisites

  • M.Div. degree or equivalency as determined by BCCi
  • One unit of CPE strongly preferred. 
  • Male students must provide proof of registration with the Selective Service with application. 
  • Medical clearance and HR requirements must be met for final admission into the program.
  • COVID-19 & Flu vaccines are required for participation.

Program Dates
August 26th, 2024 through August 22nd 2025

Apply 
Download application and email completed application to Chaplain Stuart Harrell, CPE Program Director at stuart.harrell@va.gov

Second-Year Residency [Outpatient Mental Health] Program

The second-year residency program offers students an opportunity to become experienced chaplains in outpatient mental health settings, with foci in the areas of suicide prevention, PTSD, and moral injury. Second-year residents earn four additional units of CPE, gain valuable skills in chaplain administration, and work towards becoming Board Certified Chaplains. 

The second-year residency at the Durham VA provides invaluable training in a unique setting: outpatient mental health chaplaincy with Veterans. It is not simply a furthering of previously developed healthcare chaplaincy skills; it is ministry with a particular population, America’s Veterans, and companioning them in their PTSD, Moral Injury, depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and grief.

Prerequisites

  • M.Div. degree or equivalent. 
  • At least four units of Clinical Pastoral Education. 
  • Male students must provide proof of registration with the Selective Service with application.
  • Medical clearance and HR requirements must be met for final admission into the program.
  • COVID-19 & Flu vaccines are required for participation.

Program Dates
August 26th, 2024 through August 22nd 2025

Apply 

Download application and email completed application to Chaplain Stuart Harrell, CPE Program Director at stuart.harrell@va.gov

Psychosocial Rehabilitation (PSR) Fellowship Program

The PSR Fellowship is an interprofessional clinical training program that focuses on the practice of psychosocial rehabilitation and the treatment of substance use disorders. Chaplain Fellows, alongside fellows in other disciplines, complete rotations in three core clinics: the Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center (PRRC), Mental Health Intensive Case Management (MHICM), and the Substance Use Disorders (SUD) Clinic. 

This clinically oriented program is intended for individuals seeking to become highly-trained clinicians, and often leaders, in helping health care systems emphasize functional capability, rehabilitation, and recovery. Diversity and cultural competence is considered integral to effective clinical work as well as the training experience more broadly; diversity is emphasized in various ways, including in didactics, clinical supervision, and the opportunity for a fellow to be paired with a diversity mentor. 

Visit the PSR Fellowship Program website here: VA Interprofessional Fellowship Program in PSR.

As a Veteran and current Air Force Chaplain, I valued the opportunity to provide ministry and engage in personal reflection on pastoral AND military identity within an environment that understood and valued my experience and perspective.

Prerequisites

  • M.Div. degree or equivalent. 
  • At least four units of Clinical Pastoral Education. 
  • Male students must provide proof of registration with the Selective Service with application. 
  • Medical clearance and HR requirements must be met for final admission into the program.
  • COVID-19 & Flu vaccines are required for participation.

Program Dates
August 26th, 2024 through August 22nd 2025

Apply 
Applicants for the PSR Fellowship Program must apply to both the Clinical Pastoral Education Program and the PSR Fellowship Program.

  • For the CPE Program: Download application and email completed application to Chaplain Stuart Harrell, CPE Program Director at stuart.harrell@va.gov
  • For the PSR Fellowship Application: visit the PSR Website for process, instructions, and deadlines, under Additional Information.

Accreditation & Personnel

Meet Our Educators

Matthew Incorvaia, M.Div., BCC (he/him/his)
Chief, Chaplain Service / ACPE Certified Educator   
| matthew.incorvaia@va.gov

Matthew was born and raised in Northwest Ohio. He is an ordained elder in The Brethren Church and endorsed by the Evangelical Chaplains Commission. He graduated with an MDiv from Ashland Theological Seminary in 2002. In his last year of seminary Matthew served a small rural church as an interim pastor. After graduation he pastored a Brethren congregation in Canton, Ohio. Following two years of ministry in Canton, he commissioned as an officer and chaplain in the U.S. Air Force. Matthew later transitioned from Active-Duty to the Air National Guard (ANG), where he continues to serve. He pastored a local congregation for five years. He also provided pastoral care at a local in-patient substance use disorders treatment facility on a part-time basis. At the Durham VA he has served as a Chaplain Resident, Certified Educator Candidate, Certified Educator & Staff Chaplain, and then Chief, Chaplain Service. Matthew was certified as Associate Supervisor in 2013 and then CPE Educator in 2015, completing that certification process. He is a Board Certified Chaplain through the National Association of VA Chaplains (NAVAC). His ministry and clinical interests include spiritual wellness & resilience, the intersection of chaplaincy and mental health, marriage care retreats, and education theory. Matthew and his family reside in Durham, NC. Matthew is a basketball enthusiast and loves making homemade bread & pizza recipes, baking, reading, movies, and nature.

Stuart Harrell, M.Div., BCC, (he/him/his)
CPE Program Director / ACPE Certified Educator
| stuart.harrell@va.gov

Stuart is an ACPE Certified Educator and an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. Stuart completed a B.A. in Studio Art at Davidson College and a Master of Divinity Degree at Duke University Divinity School. He completed his supervisory training at Carolinas HealthCare System in Charlotte, NC. Prior to joining the Durham VA Chaplain Service, Stuart established programs of CPE at UNC Hospitals Hillsborough Campus and McLeod Regional Medical Center in Florence, SC. Stuart serves as the CPE Program Director and teaches units of CPE. Stuart is also an Ethics Commissioner with the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education. His teaching interests include exploring the arts as opportunities for reflective practice, pastoral care as the practice of social justice, and the intersection of shame, vulnerability, and vocation with spiritual care practice.

Ryan Parker M.Div., BCC-PTSD/SP (he/him/his)
Chaplain / ACPE Certified Educator
(mobile) | ryan.parker3@va.gov

Ryan is the Outpatient Team Lead for the Durham VA Chaplain Service. He is an Episcopal Priest, endorsed for VA Chaplaincy by the Bishop Suffragan, Armed Forces and Federal Ministries of The Episcopal Church. Ryan was born and raised in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and earned two undergraduate degrees from William Carey University (BA-English Education; BS-Psychology). After completing his Master of Divinity (M.Div.) from Duke Divinity School (May 2010,) Ryan completed a two-year part-time CPE residency at UNC-Rex Healthcare (Raleigh, NC) while pastoring two rural United Methodist congregations in Northampton County (August 2010-May 2012.)  Ryan completed his second CPE Residency (May 2012-May 2013,) and Supervisory CPE (October 2013-November 2016) at the DVAHCS.  Ryan was hired as a Staff Chaplain at the DVAHCS in November 2015, and in November 2018 was certified by ACPE as a CPE Educator. He is Board Certified through NAVAC with special competencies in PTSD and Suicide Prevention.

Ryan is a 2018-2019 graduate of the Mental Health Integration with Chaplain Services (MHICS) program offered by VA Integrative Mental Health (IMH) and was one of 12 VA Chaplains to help launch IMH’s Dynamic Diffusion Network, an invited network of chaplains and mental health partners who are demonstrated leaders in suicide prevention and moral injury. Ryan continues to collaborate with VA Chaplains across the country who are working to improve access to mental and spiritual care for those affected by suicidality. Ryan and his family live in Durham, NC and his interests include: musical theatre, science-fiction/fantasy literature, mythology, and comic books.  

Contact Us

We’re glad to answer any questions you have about participation in our Clinical Pastoral Education Program. Contact our Program Director for more information:

Chaplain J. Stuart Harrell, M.Div., BCC
ACPE Certified Educator
Program Director, Clinical Pastoral Education
Durham VA Medical Center
stuart.harrell@va.gov
-6597