Amy Hanson (MDiv ‘14) came to Iliff dreaming of a Master’s of Divinity, but what she left with was the Iliff promise: theology with a twist. Amy’s dream to help and to serve has turned into a lifelong engagement with theology, religion, and activism. Her passion for chaplaincy work invites and encourages continuing education about the world around her, navigating what it looks like to serve and learn from her patients.
As a board certified professional chaplain for Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota, Amy works as the primary chaplain for the emergency department and burn center, Regions Hospital, a nationally ranked burn center. Regions Hospital is dedicated to ensuring that the patients who walk through the door receive the best care possible— regardless of their place in life or income. At the hospital, Amy cares for “the most severely injured patients.
Amy’s position as staff chaplain allows her to work towards the mission of the hospital, the best care of the family, and represent one of the missions of Iliff School of Theology, “educating leaders with courageous theological imagination.” When Amy first began to imagine a Divinity degree, Iliff stood out from other theology schools. Amy chose Iliff because of the focus on social justice and peace, as well as the devout work to educate students in interfaith dialogue and world religions.
Amy’s interest in interfaith dialogue and comparative religions extended into the far reaches of her degree. She sought out classes that would stimulate and challenge her preconceived notions of what theology looked like and could look like.
In her current position, Amy uses skills from her World Religions and comparative religions classes on a day to day basis. A large number of the patients that walk with Amy on this journey are Muslim. Amy credits the diverse education at Iliff for equipping her with knowledge about Islam as part of her theology education. Understanding “cultural sensitivity,” Amy says, “is so useful in the setting of interfaith chaplaincy.”
Amy not only works with Muslim patients at Regions, but she is endorsed for chaplaincy by the American Humanist Society. Amy’s involvement with the local humanist chapter engages her in alternative religious discourses outside of theology. Amy’s “Iliff education has made [her] a citizen of the world and inspires [her] to make a difference in all areas of [her] life.”