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Research Participation Opportunity with the Colorado School of Mines Regarding Online Spiritual Support Communities

March 7, 2024

Solihten Network Centers recently had a productive discussion with a research group in Computer Science at the Colorado School of Mines focusing on future design requirements for online spiritual care communities (OSCCs). The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the focus toward telehealth in medicine, prompting a reevaluation of traditional in-person spiritual care. Funded by the John Templeton Foundation, the project aims to explore how OSCCs can complement traditional healthcare modalities. By amplifying professional spiritual care workers’ impact and improving patient access to care, online platforms could offer innovative new solutions for delivering spiritual care. By exploring existing support communities on the social media platform, the project provokes ideation around what types of moderation, rules, user training, and community features would be necessary to create safe and effective OSCCs; in the future, their team hopes to help build and implement OSCCs based on this research.

During the discussion, Steve Duson, Vice President of Solihten, expressed his support for research efforts focused on OSCCs, stating that they have the potential to offer support to people at any time and place. He also mentioned that these communities provide an alternative to those who may not be interested in more traditional, organized, in-person forms of spiritual community.

Solihten Institute and Colorado School of Mines are working together to determine if there are collaboration opportunities both now and in the future. In the meantime, Solihten encourages therapists, spiritual directors, or chaplains in the Solihten Network to participate in the current study at Mines.

If you are interested in learning more, please contact Prof. Estelle Smith at or Dr. Alemitu Bezabih at For more information about this project, please refer to this research précis.