Our Health Ministries Network

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Parish nursing was conceived as a health care specialty in 1984 by Granger Westberg (pictured below), a Chaplain at Lutheran General Hospital in Chicago. Rev. Westberg believed in holistic healthcare and thought that faith communities were a natural agency to integrate mind-body-spirit healing.

Granger E. Westburg father of Health Ministry
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In 2009, The Parish Nurse Program launched the new Health Ministries Network, which included 83 parish nurses and health ministers (in four counties), 18 community organizations, 45 community congregations and 6 hospital departments, all providing special services to the community. The title "parish nurse" was changed to "faith community nurse" in 2011.

In 1997, Carol Story (pictured below), a nationally recognized nurse educator in Bellingham, envisioned a health ministry network serving parish nurses in the Pacific Northwest. Using the curriculum from the Westberg Institute, she offered the first preparation course at St. Joseph's Hospital. Twentyone years later, this course is offered in a hybrid learning format.

In 2017, Health Ministries Network evolved again as it left the care of the PeaceHealth Spiritual Care Department and launched HMN as its own nonprofit. Support for the program continues with generous grants and support from PeaceHealth and Chuckanut Health Foundation, as well as private giving from individuals.


We would be remiss not to express our gratitude for the faith community nurses, health ministers, physicians and chaplains who have contributed their time, finances and support to make this ministry a success. Through our history there have been some shining stars.

Special thanks to: Sr. Judy Tralnes, Sr. Agatha Aicher, Sr. Mary Therese Bruening, Barry Meyers, ESQ, Jennifer Johnson, ARNP, Mary Lynne Palmer, RN, Bridget Carney, PhD, Rev Randy Pries, Leona Bergstrom, Elaine Granger, RN & PN, Carol Story, RN, Tisch Lynch, RN, Cheryl Grambo, RN, Donna Gustin, RN, Charles Nelson, PhD, Jeanne Brotherton, RN, Sue Sharpe, Chuckanut Health Foundation, PeaceHealth Spiritual Care, Chris Phillips, PeaceHealth Community Relations, Ross Fewing, Rev. Tessie Mandeville, Sharon Somers Hill, RN, Dick Cathell, PhD, and Carol Nicolay, EdD.

Go to a broad historical perspective.