Pre-Med HospiceVolunteer Program

The Athena Institute Pre-Med Hospice Volunteer Program

Winnifred Cutler, PhD, President
Athena Institute for Women’s Wellness

The overall mission of the Program has been to instill in pre-med students a sense of humanity and understanding towards the geriatric patient and 'end-of-life' care through hospice service... and to provide patients an opportunity to educate these young students in how to listen to their needs." --Dr. Cutler

Purpose and Benefits

Overview Synopsis of the program

Purpose and Benefits:

-- for Premed Students

  • To “inoculate” those students with the sense of the spirituality, humanity and concerns of end-of-life patients
  • Students applying to medical school are required to have completed patient hours
  • Athena awards Certificates of Completion, posting Reflections the students permit to be anonymously published


2017 Dr. Robinson with Ardmore Presb. Church reflection group from Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges


-- for Hospices

  • They are required to have a percentage of volunteers on staff to qualify for Medicare reimbursement--this program serves as a source for volunteers
  • Their patients enjoy extra compassionate attention


-- for Colleges

  • Provides options for volunteer hours to students
  • Enriches curriculum for the Premed Undergraduates


-- for Churches/Houses of Worship

  • Exposes young people to resources of the church
  • Introduces students to spiritual leaders
  • Encourages Fellowship among the students


Biographies of Chaplains for the Pre-Med Hospice College Program

Rev. Graham Robinson; Director of the Pre-Med Hospice Volunteer Program; Bryn Mawr and Haverford College

The Program Director, Reverend Dr. Graham Robinson, has overseen the expansion of the program since 2011. He brings exceptional educational, spiritual, and leadership skills and twenty years of pastoral and teaching experience. Robinson has served as a guest lecturer and facilitator for Yale Divinity School, Hartford Seminary, and the Alban Institute, and he has been invited to preach from Oregon to Puerto Rico, and Washington state to Washington, D.C. Doctor of Ministry 2012, Columbia Theological Seminary; Master of Theology 1999, Master of Divinity 1993, Princeton Theological Seminary. Identified upon graduation as a leader within the church, Robinson was awarded the David B. Watermulder Prize for Church Leadership from Princeton Theological Seminary

Rev. Eric R. Andræ; Campus Pastor of First Trinity Lutheran Church; Pre-Med Hospice Chaplain for University of Pittsburgh

The Rev. Eric R. Andræ has been the Campus Pastor at First Trinity Lutheran Church and Luther House student center since February 2001, and is the most experienced full-time campus pastor in Pittsburgh. He serves as the chaplain for Lutheran Student Fellowship and International Student Ministry, working with students from the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, Chatham University, and other schools in southwestern Pennsylvania. Recently, he finished a two-year term as the chair of the University of Pittsburgh Association of Chaplaincies. A native of Sweden, Pastor Andræ is married to Paola, who is a native of Mexico; they have two young children.

Rev. Lori Kosinski; Pastor of Norriton Presbyterian Church; Pre-Med Hospice Chaplain for Villanova University and Eastern Univiersity

Rev. Kosinski is the Supply Pastor of Norriton Presbyterian Church in East Norriton, PA. She served for ten years as Chaplain at Meadowood Retirement Community in Worcester Township, PA. Rev. Kosinski holds a BA in Public Administration/Management and a Master's of Divinity from Louisville Presbyterian Church. Her commitment to hospice programs began as she journeyed through a program with her mom. Her death opened a space for affirmation that "in life and in death we belong to God." A native of Upstate New York, as in the Utica area, she lives in Souderton, PA with her husband and two young adult sons. She enjoys reading a good book, knitting, scrapbooking and traveling.

Rev. Melissa Anne Rogers, First Presbyterian Church of Ann Arbor, Associate Pastor for Pastoral Care and Congregational Life, Pre-Med Hospice Chaplain for the University of Michigan

Melissa Anne rejoined First Pres of Ann Arbor in the summer of 2005, bringing both pastoral and clinical training to her work in pastoral care. In addition to her experience in ministry to small congregations in Oregon, Alabama, and Pennsylvania, she brings clinical training as a marital and family therapist, having worked as a family grief and crisis counselor for Hospice of Lansing, and as a therapist at Michigan State's Family and Child Clinic. She earned her Master of Arts in Marital and Family Therapy from Michigan State University in 2002. Melissa Anne previously served First Presbyterian as Interim Campus Minister, and was Associate Pastor at Westminster Presbyterian in Ann Arbor from 1995 to 1998. She received her Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary. A morning person, she enjoys cross-country skiing, biking, good coffee, brewing beer, and spending time with her family and pets.

Joyce Tompkins, Director of Religious and Spiritual Life and the Interfaith Center, Swarthmore College

The Rev. Dr. Joyce Tompkins has worked with students at Swarthmore College for 13 years and is the Director of Religious and Spiritual Life and the Interfaith Center. She also serves as part-time Priest Associate at Trinity Episcopal Church in Swarthmore (across the street from the college very easy commute!) She holds a B.A. in Classics from Cornell University and an M. Div from The General Theological Seminary in New York. In 2013 she completed her D. Min at Hartford Seminary, with a focus on interfaith college chaplaincy. She has more than thirty years of experience as a parish priest, having served parishes in New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin before moving to Swarthmore. She is married to Doug, also an Episcopal priest, and they have three grown sons. When not working, she is often seen running with her dog, Buttercup, across campus and through the Crum Woods.

Rev. Terri Ofori; Chaplain and Director of Religious and Spiritual Life of Ursinus College; Pre-Med Hospice Chaplain for Ursinus College

Reverend Terri Ofori is the Chaplain and Director of Religious and Spiritual Life at Ursinus College.  She previously served as the Chaplain to the Synod Commission of the Northeast (PCUSA) and is the Clergywoman Representative for the Presbyterian Women Synod of the Northeast Coordinating Team and delegate for the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

In addition to her service to the church, Reverend Ofori has served the academy as a chaplain at Harvard University, Brown University, Wellesley College, Emerson, Simmons College, and Bloomfield College. Reverend Ofori is the first women and the first person of color to be named a Robert Washington Scholar PC(USA). She is also a BTI (Black Theological Institute) fellow of Princeton Seminary.

Reverend Ofori received her Th. M. in Education and Spiritual Formation from Princeton Theological Seminary.  She received the Master of Divinity degree from Harvard University where she was a FTE (Fund for Theological Education Fellow).  She received the M. A. T. Cross Cultural Theology from Columbia International University and her undergraduate degree in History from the Mississippi University for Women where she was inducted into Phi Alpha Theta.  Reverend Ofori is currently pursuing her doctorate in Christian Spirituality at Fordham University.

Reverend Ofori is a member of the National Association of College and University Chaplains, the American Academy of Religion and the Society for Biblical Literature. Reverend Ofori is an alumna of the U.S. Army War College National Security Seminar Strategic Leadership Development Program (Class of 2013) and an endorsed Chaplain with the Presbyterian Military Personnel and Chaplains Association.  She completed her clinical pastoral education at Harvard Medical School teaching hospitals, Dana Farber Cancer Center and Brigham and Women’s Palliative Care Unit.

Rev. Laverne McClellan; Ascend Hospice Chaplain; Pastoral staff at St. Paul AME Church in Pleasantville, NJ; Pre-Med Hospice Chaplain for Princeton University

Rev. Laverne McClellan has been a hospice chaplain for Ascend Hospice (formerly Care Alternatives Hospice) for 14 years providing care and support to patients and their families during one of the most sacred times of their lives.

Having pastored for a total of 18 years at African Methodist Episcopal (AME) churches in Newark, NJ, Kenilworth, NJ and Whitesboro, NJ., she now serves on the ministerial staff of St. Paul AME Church in Pleasantville, NJ.

Rev. McClellan has a Bachelors degree in Mathematics from Stockton University, a Masters of Business Administration from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business and a Masters of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary.

Her work and volunteer experience includes serving as a mathematician, a literacy volunteer, an HIV/AIDS trainer, a ministerial examiner and institute instructor, a life coach and an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. She wrote a book of poems entitled, "Love Bears All Things" and a play entitled, "Visions of Virtue."  Seeing love as her highest value, she believes she is called to "encourage, instruct and inspire others.".

Rev. Kurt Nelson; Director of Religious & Spiritual Life and Chaplain for the Protestant Community, Bucknell University; Pre-Med Hospice Chaplain for Bucknell University

Rev. Kurt Nelson is Bucknell’s Director of Religious & Spiritual Life and Chaplain for the Protestant Community.  He advises Bucknell’s multi-faith and interfaith initiatives; supervises Bucknell’s stellar team of chaplains, coordinators, and liaisons; and leads and coordinates Ecumenical worship in Rooke Chapel on Sunday mornings during the academic term.  He is ordained in the United Church of Christ.

Kurt comes to Bucknell from Colby College (Waterville, ME) where he spent 6.5 years as Dean of Religious & Spiritual Life.  Prior, he served as Assistant Chaplain at Dartmouth College (Hanover, NH).  He is a graduate of Yale Divinity School – where he fell in love with Chaplaincy - and St. Olaf College – where he fell in love with Religious Studies.  A convert from the Pre-med track at St. Olaf, Kurt will be of limited help in tutoring Organic Chemistry, but is brimming with empathy for all walks of academic life.

urt is the 5th-most-likable member of his family, following – in no particular order – his wife and partner, Joanna; their children, Lillian (6) and Elliott (soon-to-be 2); and their dog, Grover (10).  You can meet all but Grover in Rooke Chapel most Sunday mornings.

Bucknell’s Office of Religious & Spiritual Life seeks to provide for the religious and spiritual well-being of the entire Bucknell community through pastoral care, multi-faith partnership, creation of communities of sustained belonging, and exploration of meaning and purpose.  If any of life’s big questions (or some of the small ones) interest you, we will find a place for you.  Please do not hesitate to reach out to Kurt directly with questions, concerns, or interests –, or call to set up an appointment – 570 577 1592

Rev. Shareida Patterson; Veterans Affairs Chaplain, H.J. Heinz Chapel; Pre-Med Hospice Chaplain for University of Pittsburgh



Bio to come...


For Students


Prompt Assignments

Ask a Question About the Athena Institute Pre-Med Hospice Voulnteer Program


  • Bryn Mawr   
  • Bucknell   
  • Eastern   
  • Haverford   
  • University of Michigan   
  • Princeton   
  • Swarthmore   
  • University of Pittsburgh   
  • Ursinus   
  • Villanova

Reflections from Former Students

Student volunteers complete at Reflection Essay at the end of their year of service. This is the final step towards earning your certificate of completion.

Elaina (Bryn Mawr College)

From the reflection sessions we had I got the chance to stop and think about grief. Personally it made me realize that grief is a process, not only for those who lose their loved ones, but also for  those in Hospice as they are about to  pass on…  

Yudita L. (Princeton University)

On my first visit to a nursing home as a hospice volunteer, I saw a small woman lying silently on a bed along a wall in the hallway. She was curled in a fetal position with her eyes closed and hands slightly shaking. When she realized that I was standing beside her bed, she reached for my hand and raised it to kiss it. At first, I was shocked and …

See all reflections

The 5 high school students who provided the Premed Hospice survey as a focus group designed to gain feedback from the volunteers in order to improve the program




Haverford College's Coordinator of Health Professions (Jodi Domsky) comments on the program

“Haverford students have been involved with this volunteer program for the past 9 years, and it is one of the best programs I have seen. Students have the privilege of working with patients and their families at a sensitive time in their lives while learning about end-of-life issues. In addition, they get quality training, supportive mentoring and a built-in support network with the other volunteers.”

Convocation from Ardmore Presbyterian Church Pastor Hodsden

Ardmore Presb Church Pastor Hodsden, from the pulpit, 11/19/17 Announcing Pre-Med Hospice Volunteer Program and Inviting the Congregation to Lunch Honoring the Student Volunteers

Read his Speech

A Note from Ruthanne Morris--Volunteer Coordinator at Compassus Hospice

The response from the Swarthmore students has been tremendous. I know we still have a few days until the deadline, but I wanted to report that we have our 10th volunteer candidate. I am elated with this response.

Ruthanne Morris
Volunteer Coordinator



A bibliography of Dr. Cutler's Published Work