Pre-Med HospiceVolunteer Program

Covid 19 Protocol practiced by the Athena Institute Pre-Med Hospice Volunteer Program

Student and patient safety continue to be priority one! Due to COVID 19, Hospices, universities, colleges, and care facilities are limiting student volunteer interaction with patients to insure the safety of patients, students and their communities. Only if expressly allowed by their college or university, a limited number of students may be permitted to visit some patients in-person. Presently, many Pre-Med students are completing remote training.

Rev. Dr. Graham S. Robinson -September 30, 2020
National Director; Athena Institute Pre-Med Hospice Volunteer 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:

-- 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

Overview Synopsis of the program


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

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.

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) since 2005 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.

Kurt 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. Lydia Muñoz; Lead Pastor Swarthmore United Methodist Church

"I am a proud Puerto Rican made in Puerto Rico but born in Lancaster, Pa.  So you can say I am a Dutcher-Rican!  I am an Ordained Elder in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church.   I graduated from Wesley Theological Seminary and did my undergraduate at Penn State University. I am currently working on a Doctorate of Ministry at Drew Theological School focusing on Public Theology hoping to be complete in May 2021.   

Among my experience developing ministries of justice among marginalized and multicultural communities, I have been involved in leading worship for over 20 years in a variety and diverse settings, both locally and nationally, including for the World Council of Churches Assembly in South Korea 2013 and the United Methodist General Conference in 2012 and the Festival of Sacred Arts in Falstbo, Sweden.   I am  a published author and contributor on the New United Methodist Hymnal Committee and have been featured in Abingdon Preacher’s Manual 2019 and will be working with Abingdon again for 2020.  I have served as worship leader for several annual conferences throughout the connection as well as national conferences including the United Methodist Women’s Mission U and General Assembly.   Currently, I am chair of the Eastern Penn Conference Methodist Federation for Social Action and our conference's Rapid Response Team for Immigration.  Anti-racism justice work is one of my priorities combating white supremacy in all its expressions both in the church and in society.  I am passionate about developing a fully inclusive congregation where courageous conversations and reconciling opportunities can happen, where peacemaking can be made and love can grow as an expression of justice.  The full radical Gospel of Jesus Christ is the basis for everything I do and I endeavor to follow Jesus even when it isn't popular. I have a passion for following the Spirit’s lead in the creation of sacred moments and spaces for emergent communities, where together as the gathered we can experience the transformative power of God.  Our public worship is the most consistent public witness we do and so my general rule for worship is that the Church needs to worship and live incarnationally, which means we live what we sing and we sing what we live and what we are working to become- God’s Reign on Earth.

I am blessed to be married to the Rev. James McIntire, Esq. who I believe is one of the best pastor’s I’ve ever met.  We share a house with family William (Willow) Gabriel Caraballo Muñoz, Lindsay McIntire and our dogs Ella and Mac!"

For Students

A Welcome to Active Hospice Volunteers

From Dr. Winnifred Cutler


Prompt Assignments

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


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

Reflections from Former Students

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




Volunteer Coordinator for the Anova Hospice, working with University of Pittsburgh Students (April Wolf) writes:

“I LOVE being part of this program!!  Working with these students has been an amazing experience for me as well.  
I'm honored to have been chosen to make sure these future doctors learn about end-of-life care and help teach them the compassion and empathy they will need in their future endeavors.”

Bucknell University Pre-health Professions Advisor (Alison Patterson) sends a note to the Director.

“The hospice program initially offered my pre-health students an opportunity to gain some clinical contact hours for their applications. As it turned out, they gained so much more than that; they gained a glimpse into the dying process that many had not experienced before. They are more compassionate, mature and well-rounded following the experience and I don't think any of them will forget it anytime soon! Thank you for allowing Bucknell students to have this opportunity!.”

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.”

Swarthmore College's Volunteer Coordinator (Ruthanne Morris) shares note from grateful family of hospice patient

“I wanted to share this Thank You note that we received from a grateful family that expresses their appreciation for the team and specifically calls out “the young volunteers” who visited with JM (name redacted to protect patient privacy, but the students know who this is from). This note beautifully illustrates how your actions support not only the patient, but the entire family. Thank you for being part of the Pre-med Hospice Volunteer program and companioning with our patients on this journey. Ruthanne”

Dear Compassus Team,

On behalf of our entire family, we are grateful and blessed to have had such an amazing team for our dear mother's/wife's final days. From the young volunteers to the many support phone calls to the Chaplain's efforts and finally to the nurses and social workers' dedication to service and profession, we are all truly indebted to everyone...

Thank you note

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 bibliography of Dr. Cutler's Published Work