Foundations in Contemplative Care 2019-2020

September 6th, 2019- May 2nd, 2020

The mission of New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care is to transform the culture of care through contemplative practice, meeting illness, aging, and death with compassion and wisdom. To achieve this mission NYZCCC draws on three core elements: providing care, training caregivers, and supporting contemplative practice.

In the eleven years that NYZCCC has provided care and trained contemplative caregivers, the demand for a compassionate approach to life transitions has become even more urgent. How do we ensure that as a society, we are aware of the changing needs and are taking action to care for the most vulnerable among us?

Foundations in Contemplative Care is a comprehensive nine-month training program focused on the core practices of Contemplative Care explored through the lens of Zen Buddhist ethics. Created by NYZCCC co-founders, Sensei Robert Chodo Campbell and Sensei Koshin Paley Ellison, this experiential approach to learning provides both classroom and clinical opportunities.

Program components include two class days per month, 100 clinical hours in a hospital, hospice or residential community, one-on-one mentoring, peer group work, and self-directed reading and writing exercises. This training is ideal for professional caregivers such as physicians, nurses, social workers, and hospice workers as well as those interested in becoming caregivers.


Sensei Koshin Paley Ellison and Sensei Robert Chodo Campbell

“Having moved to New York City from Israel to take part in New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care’s Foundations in Contemplative Care training, I can honestly say it’s been a profound experience. As a result, I am a better mother, wife and nurse. I am so grateful for this unique educational experience with NYZCCC.”

Monica Zin, Hospice Nurse, Jerusalem, Israel

“This is a program that truly has changed me and continues to have an influence in my life. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.”

Hector Jairo Martinez

“Foundations enhanced my professional practice, my sitting practice as well as prepared me fully to embark on a new path of End of Life Care.”

Andrea Nuddle Fink

“There’s education… and there is experiential education. Foundations in Contemplative Care is both… and more.”

Carol Stangby

“The Foundations in Contemplative Care program changed the course of my life. Those few hours of service every week at my course placement setting on the oncology floor at Beth Israel Medical became the most significant few hours of my life and propelled me to change careers from a purely commercial pursuit one to one in the helping professions.”

Mark Eko Morris

“Selfless service is an essential component of the spiritual journey. The Foundations program showed me how to express that principle more deeply and in (for me) new areas. It brought new dimensions of meaning to the notion of being present to the suffering of the world and to my own life. It was a truly life and consciousness altering experience.”

Jane Ashe, Registered Nurse
“Not a day goes by when I don’t conjure up the tools I developed in my Foundations class over ten years ago. I feel the experinece in me always, the deep listening, the shrinking of the noisy self, the rising of a compassionate witness, the observer who cares and helps, who acts, often by not-doing; who watches the world change through the power of being present. A visceral change, a falling-away of obstacles, an arising of inner strength.”
-Laura Davies Foley

“Foundations was a journey deep into myself in which I learned more about both my strengths and vulnerabilities. And, as I better understood myself, I had multiple insights into how to be of service for my patients, also working on deepening my relationships with my family and friends. Foundations was a life changing experience and I highly recommend the program.”

Dr. Fernando Kogen Kawai, MD


Foundations in Contemplative Care 2017, Graduating Class

Program Components

•Classes take place the first Friday and Saturday of each month from 10:00AM – 4:30PM September 2019-May 2020

•Additionally there is a required four-day residential Contemplative Care retreat October 24 – 27, 2019 at the Garrison Institute in Garrison, NY. Please note that this retreat is included in the tuition.

•Participants are required to complete 100 clinical hours of contemplative care work at a designated hospital, hospice, or residence during the nine-month program.

•Non-local students complete clinical hours where geographically convenient and are responsible for securing their own clinical placements.

•Participants are also required to participate in monthly (eight in total) one-on-one supervision sessions with a mentor who will be assigned upon acceptance. Supervision is provided as an integral layer of support for your contemplative care work.

•In preparation for each class, students are given reading and writing assignments.

•Participants have monthly meetings with peers outside of class, virtually or in-person.

•There are mid-term and final evaluations, evaluating both your own participation as well as providing feedback for the training program. Your contemplative care work is also evaluated by your clinical site.

•All assignments and evaluations are required and serve participants’ learning processes; they are not formally graded unless you are taking the course for graduate-level credit.

•During the final weekend, each student presents a final project of their own interest related to Contemplative Care and their clinical work

Areas of Study, to include:

•Practicing greater intimacy in interpersonal relationships, active listening, spiritual support, verbal and nonverbal communication, and moment-by-moment awareness.

•Learning how contemplative practice can support caring for those who are experiencing critical life transitions, including illness, dying, grief and loss.

•Exploring healthy boundaries and the ethics of conduct and personal safety in care work.

•Practicing creating and facilitating rituals and memorials as a contemplative care partner.

•Learning how to support others who do care work- including healthcare staff and family caregivers- in their own resiliency.


Classes will be held at the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care in New York City:  119 W. 23rd Street, #401 (between 6th and 7th Avenues).

2019/20  Training Dates:

Classes meet from 10am-4:30pm.

Friday, Sept. 6th & Saturday, Sept. 7th, 2019

Friday, Oct. 4th & Saturday, Oct. 5th, 2019

CONTEMPLATIVE CARE RETREAT: Thursday, Oct. 24th – Sunday, Oct. 27th, 2019

Friday, Nov. 1nd & Saturday, Nov. 2rd, 2019

Friday, December 6th & Saturday, Dec. 7th, 2019

Friday,  Jan. 10th & Saturday, Jan. 11th, 2020

SESSHIN/SILENT RETREAT (optional): Thursday, Jan. 16th thru Sunday, Jan. 19th, 2020

Friday, Feb. 7th & Saturday, Feb. 8th, 2020

Friday, March 13th & Saturday, March 14th, 2020

Friday, April 3rd & Saturday, April 4th, 2020

Friday, May 1st & Saturday, May 2nd, 2020

Enrollment Requirements

The training program is designed for people who have a Buddhist or contemplative practice. With this in mind, the requirements for entering the program are the following:

•Regular and committed Buddhist or other contemplative/spiritual practice and study for at least six month

•Silent retreat experience

Application Components:

•Letter of recommendation from a Buddhist teacher or someone who knows your contemplative/spiritual practice

•An in-person interview (non-local applicants are required to come to NYZCCC to interview)

•Background check conducted by NYZCCC

•Your current resume

Graduate Credits

This is a graduate-level training that includes several self-directed and peer group learning components. It does not certify you to become a chaplain. However, successful completion of the Foundations Program does make you eligible to apply for our Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) training program. Also, once you are accepted to the Foundations Program, you have the option to register through our partner institution, New York Theological Seminary, to receive eight graduate credits for this program. There is an additional charge paid to NYTS for these credits. To learn more about NYTS and our relationship with them, please go here.

Continuing Education Credits

Social Workers

New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care, Inc., SW CPE is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #0192. The Foundations program is approved for 120 contact hours.


NYZCCC is an Approved Provider of continuing nursing education by the Northeast Multi-State Division, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation. The Foundations program is approved for 120 contact hours.

Learning Objectives:

Using the Buddhist precepts as a springboard for discussion and activity, students of The Foundations in Contemplative Care Program will learn 1) to perceive the suffering around them, 2) bring interpretative rigor to what they perceive, 3) see events from multiple points of view and be moved to compassionate action through the principles of bearing witness and not knowing. These skills will be acquired within the restrictions (time, costs, etc.) of the current environment for health care workers.

Speaker Disclosure Statement:

New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care’s staff and teaching faculty have no conflict of interest relative to the Foundations Program.

For more information regarding contact hours, please call the NYZCCC office at 212-677-1087.

Admissions & Tuition

•Space is limited. Applications will be reviewed as they are received.

•Tuition for the nine-month program is $3,950 (payable by check or credit card). Tuition includes the cost of a triple room and board at the Contemplative Care Retreat at The Garrison Institute in October. You may pay a modest supplemental fee if you would like a double or single room at the retreat.

•The first non-refundable payment of $2,000 is due 2-3 weeks after students are accepted to the program.

•The balance of payment of $1,950 is due on Friday, August 23, 2019 (two weeks before class begins).

•If a student withdraws before Sept. 6, 2019 (the day Foundations begins), student receives a 25% refund of the second payment.

•If a student voluntarily leaves or is asked to leave the Foundations program after it begins (Sept. 6, 2019), tuition will not be refunded.

•A very limited amount of financial aid is available each year. Please write Susan Kline, the Education Administrator for further information:

•Payment plans are available for those who require them. Please write Susan Kline, the Education Administrator for further information:

•The non-refundable application fee is $75 to cover administrative oversight.

Core Faculty

  • Sensei Robert Chodo Campbell

    Sensei Robert Chodo Campbell co-founded the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care. The organization delivers contemplative approaches to care through education, direct service, and meditation practice. In order to bring the work to a broader audience, he co-developed the Foundations in Contemplative Care Training Program. Chodo is part of the core faculty for the Buddhist Track in the Master in Pastoral Care and Counseling at NYZCCC’s education partner, New York Theological Seminary. He teaches in the University of Arizona Medical School’s Center for Integrative Medicine’s Integrative Medicine Fellowship.
    Chodo is a dynamic, earthy, and visionary leader and teacher, Chodo has traveled extensively in the U.S teaching in various institutions as well as bearing witness to the suffering of HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe and South Africa. His public programs have introduced thousands to the practices of mindful and compassionate care of the living and dying. 30,000 people listen to his podcasts each year. His passion lies in bereavement counseling and advocating for change in the way our healthcare institutions work with the dying. His work has been featured in the New York Times, PBS, Tricycle, Parabola and other media outlets. He is a recognized Soto Zen Teacher with the American Zen Teachers Association, White Plum Asanga, and Soto Zen Buddhist Association.

  • Sensei Koshin Paley Ellison, MFA, LMSW, DMIN

    Sensei Koshin Paley Ellison, MFA, LMSW, DMIN, co-founded the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care, the first Zen-based organization to offer fully accredited ACPE clinical chaplaincy training in America. NYZCCC delivers contemplative approaches to care through education, direct service, and meditation practice. Paley Ellison is the academic advisor for the Buddhist students in the Master in Pastoral Care and Counseling program at NYZCCC’s education partner, New York Theological Seminary. He has served as the co-director of Contemplative Care Services for the Department of Integrative Medicine and as the chaplaincy supervisor for the Pain and Palliative Care Department at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center, where he also served on the Medical Ethics Committee. He is currently on the faculty of the University of Arizona Medical School’s Center for Integrative Medicine’s Integrative Medicine Fellowship, and he is a visiting professor at the McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics, of the University of Texas Health Science Center of Houston Medical School. Paley Ellison is a dynamic, original, and visionary leader and teacher. Koshin is the author of Wholehearted: Slow Down, Help Out, Wake Up (Wisdom Publications, 2019). He is also the co-editor of Awake at the Bedside: Contemplative Teachings on Palliative and End of Life Care (Wisdom Publications, 2016). His work has been featured in the New York Times, PBS, Tricycle and others. Through his six years of training at the Jungian Psychoanalytic Association as well as clinical contemplative training at both Mount Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center and NewYork Presbyterian Medical Center which culminated in his role as an ACPE Certified Educator, chaplain, and Jungian psychotherapist. He began his formal Zen training in 1987, and he is a recognized Soto Zen Teacher by the American Zen Teachers Association, White Plum Asanga, and Soto Zen Buddhist Association. He serves on the Board of Directors at the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care and Barre Center for Buddhist Studies.  


  • Eishin Alex Beth Schapiro

    Eishin has a B.A. in Philosophy from The City University of New York and is a Master’s student in Pastoral Care and Counseling at New York Theological Seminary and NYZCCC. Eishin also studies at Gamliel Institute and is dedicated to exploring the lineage of Zen-Jewish teachers, as well as linking contemplative care & healing justice practices. Buddhist sitting has been practiced for three generations in her family. Eishin is a formal Zen student of Sensei Koshin Paley Ellison, and lives in Washington Heights with their partner, Daniel.

  • Deborah Jyoshin Stewart, MA

    Deborah Jyoshin Stewart, a life-long New Yorker, first came to the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care to practice zazen with Senseis Koshin Paley Ellison and Robert Chodo Campbell. In the midst of a life of service to public schools, public policy, and non-profit organizations, she found inspiration in the Zen Center’s practice of contemplative care. Deborah completed the Foundations in Contemplative Care program serving patients and staff at Lenox Hill Hospital. She is currently a student in the Zen Center’s Clinical Pastoral Education, serving as a contemplative chaplain intern at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx, and formally studies Zen Buddhism with her teacher, Sensei Koshin. She is co-steward of the NY Metro Circle of Zen Peacemakers and is a board member of the Greyston Foundation and the Hunts Point Alliance for Children. She received an MA in Public Policy Analysis from the University of Pennsylvania. She lives in Manhattan with her husband, Jim Mintz, and always has a home for their children, Hannah and Jack.

Visiting Teachers

  • Allison Avery, MA

    Allison F. Avery has been in the diversity field and worked with marginalized populations for over two decades. She is currently the Director of Diversity and Inclusion at New York University School of Medicine. In this role, she is charged with overseeing and directing The Office of Diversity Affairs, the scope of which includes: developing and implementing institutional diversity and inclusion initiatives across the educational pipeline, designing and delivering cultural competency, health disparity and critical reflection curriculum, engaging in recruitment and retention efforts focused on demographic populations under-represented in medicine and managing health professions pipeline programming. Her subject matter expertise is unconscious bias, ethno-cultural empathy, organizational and analytical psychology. In addition to her role at NYU School of Medicine, Ms. Avery is a senior Psychoanalytic Candidate with the Jungian Psychoanalytic Association (JPA) and has a private practice in New York City. Previously, Ms. Avery served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco addressing rural health disparities, women’s health issues and gender inequality. She received her Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology from New York University and her Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Baldwin-Wallace College. Ms. Avery has worked in organizational development in long-term care facilities and led a city-wide mental health and anti-stigma campaign focused on gero-psychology with the Mental Health Association of New York City. She facilitated a range of workshops, including: Fostering Understanding through Reminiscence and Life Narrative, and Triple Invisibility: The Intersection of Race, Gender, and Age. Ms. Avery has directed a myriad of community outreach and volunteer efforts, including advocacy for the dually diagnosed homeless population to youth programs on Lakota Sioux reservations.

  • Mark Doty

    Mark Doty‘s Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems, won the National Book Award for Poetry in 2008. His eight books of poems include School of the Arts, Source, and My Alexandria. He has also published four volumes of nonfiction prose: Still Life with Oysters and Lemon, Heaven’s Coast, Firebird and Dog Years, which was a New York Times bestseller in 2007. Doty’s work has been honored by the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, a Whiting Writers Award, two Lambda Literary Awards and the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for First Nonfiction. He is the only American poet to have received the T.S. Eliot Prize in the U.K., and has received fellowships from the Guggenheim, Ingram Merrill and Lila Wallace/Readers Digest Foundations, and from the National Endowment for the Arts. Doty lives in New York City and on the east end of Long Island.

  • Marie Howe

    Marie Howe was born in 1950 and received her MFA from Columbia University in 1983. Her debut volume, The Good Thief, was selected by Margaret Atwood as winner of the 1987 Open Competition of the National Poetry Series, published in 1988 by Persea Books. Since then, she has published two more collections, What the Living Do (W. W. Norton, 1998) and The Kingdom of the Ordinary (2008). In 1995, she edited (with Michael Klein) the anthology In the Company of My Solitude: American Writing from the AIDS Pandemic. About her work, the poet Stanley Kunitz has said, "Marie Howe's poetry is luminous, intense, and eloquent, rooted in an abundant inner life." Her awards include a fellowship at the Bunting Institute, as well as a Guggenheim Fellowship and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. She has served on the faculty of several schools, including Tufts University and Dartmouth College. She currently teaches at Sarah Lawrence, New York University, and Columbia University in New York City, where she lives with her daughter. In August 2012 she was named the State Poet Laureate of New York State.

  • Josh Korda

    Josh Korda has been studying the dhamma since 1995 and received his initial teacher training with Noah Levine. He gives regular talks at DharmaPunx New York, as well as other sanghas in New York City. Over the years Josh has had the honor to sit with and learn from a variety of respected practitioners such as Ajahns Geoff, Brahm, Vajiro and Sucitto, to name a few. Josh lives in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY.

  • Diane E. Meier, MD

    Dr. Diane E. Meier is Director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC), a national organization devoted to increasing the number and quality of palliative care programs in the United States. Under her leadership the number of palliative care programs in U.S. hospitals has more than tripled in the last 10 years. She is also Vice-chair for Public Policy and Professor of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine; and Gaisman Professor of Medical Ethics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. In 2009-2010, she was a Health and Aging Policy Fellow in Washington, DC. Awards include a MacArthur Foundation ‘genius award’ Fellowship in 2008; HealthLeaders recognition as one of 20 Americans who make health care better in 2010; the American Cancer Society’s 2012 Medal of Honor for Cancer Control in recognition of her pioneering leadership of the effort to bring palliative care into mainstream medicine; and the American Geriatrics Society Edward Henderson State-of-the-Art Lecture Award in 2013.

  • Sharon Salzberg

    Sharon Salzberg is cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Barre, Massachusetts. She is one of America’s leading spiritual teachers and authors, and has been a student of Buddhism since 1971, leading meditation retreats worldwide since 1974. Sharon’s latest book is The Force of Kindness, published by Sounds True. She is also the author of Faith: Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience, published by Riverhead Books; Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness and A Heart as Wide as the World, both published by Shambhala Publications; and co-author with Joseph Goldstein of Insight Meditation, a Step-by-Step Course on How to Meditate (audio), from Sounds True. For more information about Sharon, please visit:

  • Sebene Selassie

    Sebene Selassie is a meditation teacher and certified Integral Coach®. She has been studying Buddhism since majoring in Comparative Religious Studies as an undergrad at McGill University. For over 20 years she worked with children, youth, and families nationally and internationally for small and large not–for–profits. Her work has taken her everywhere from the Tenderloin in San Francisco to refugee camps in Guinea, West Africa. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Barre Center for Buddhist Studies. Sebene is a breast cancer survivor.

  • Robert Schiller, MD, ABFP

    Robert (Red) Schiller is Senior Vice President, Clinical Affairs; Chair, Graduate Medical Education; Chair, Alfred and Gail Engelberg Department of Family Medicine at Mount Sinai/Beth Israel. He attended the New York University School of Medicine. He completed his residency in family medicine at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, where he also completed a one-year fellowship in family medicine. He has a professional interest in homeopathy, acupuncture, and other alternative therapies that complement conventional medical care, as well as a strong interest in the integration of alternative medicine into primary care training. Dr. Schiller is the recipient of several awards including the Park-Davis Award for Teaching Medicine. Shiller is know for his leadership and innovation as a physician and administrator, serves on NYZCCC’s Advisory Board, and has worked closely with Koshin and Chodo on the upcoming Symposium as well as on other projects.

You can access the application form here.

Application deadline is Friday, June 7, 2019. After that date, applications will be accepted on a rolling basis as space permits.

Please return a completed application, application fee, and letter of personal reference to the Center. We will review your materials and if appropriate, contact you about setting up an in-person interview here in New York City. (Please note that we do not conduct interviews by telephone/Skype.) After the interview, you will be notified regarding your acceptance.

In addition to practitioners from all streams of Buddhism, the Center welcomes applications from individuals of various faiths who have an ongoing personal contemplative practice (e.g., meditation, centering prayer, etc.) and who share our commitment of exploring the intersection of contemplative practice, caregiving, and social action.

For most months, training days are on both Fridays and Saturdays (from approximately 10:00 – 4:30).  For a detailed schedule please click on the “Dates” tab above.

At New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care: 119 W. 23rd Street, #401, New York, NY (between 6th and 7th Avenues)

The tuition for the course is $3,950 (plus a processing fee if paying by credit card). Limited financial aid is available. You may also want to explore the option of having either an organization or friends and family sponsor you.

Participants commit to attending eight training weekends and completing 100 hours of volunteer caregiving work by the time of the last class in May. In addition, participants commit to logging in their clinical hours, attending a four-day Contemplative Care Retreat in the fall, completing all reading and written assignments, and meeting with a mentor one-on-one eight times during the training.

Participants may serve as a volunteer caregiver at hospitals, hospices, and other health centers. Those in the New York City metro area are placed either at Isabella Geriatric Center, Brooklyn Hospital, Visiting Nurse Service Hospice of New York or Lenox Hill Hospital. Those who live outside of the New York City metropolitan area are responsible for finding a clinical site for volunteering near to where they live.

No. This is an introductory training program. Each of us has the capacity to embrace the suffering of another person and the ability to provide compassionate care to another.

This is a graduate-level training that includes several self-directed learning components. It does not certify you to become a chaplain. However, successful completion of the Foundations Program does make you eligible to apply for our Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) training program. Also, once you are accepted to the Foundations Program, you have the option to register through our partner institution, New York Theological Seminary, to receive eight graduate seminary credits for this program. In addition to the tuition paid to NYZCCC for the program, there is an additional charge, paid to NYTS if you want to receive credit.