Spiritual Care Services & Information

UCLA Health is dedicated to excellence in patient care, including meeting the spiritual needs of our patients and their families.

Interfaith Chaplains can provide spiritual care and assistance, sacramental ministries, and spiritual support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Chaplains are available for Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital, and the Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA. From 8:30 am to 5 pm, call the Spiritual Care Office at 310-825-7484 to request a visit. After hours ask your nurse to page the On-Call Chaplain at pager #91770 or contact the Page Operator at 310-825-6301 and request that the On-Call Chaplain be paged. The Interfaith Chaplains can also contact a religious leader of a particular faith tradition at your request.

If you need spiritual care services for UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center, please call 424-259-8170. After hours ask your nurse to page the On-Call Chaplain at pager # 90275 or contact the Page Operator at 310-319-4000.

Interfaith Meditation Room/Chapel

An interfaith Meditation Room/Chapel is available for private prayer and meditation 24 hours a day at both locations. It is located in Room 1109 (on the first floor of the hospital just inside the front entrance) at RR-UCLA and in G 300A (on the Ground level of the Central Tower) at UCLA-SM Medical Center.

meditation room/chapel at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center
Meditation Room/Chapel, Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center - Photo by Benny Chan/Fotoworks
meditation room
Interfaith Meditation Room/Chapel in UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica


A Chaplain is available for your Spiritual Care needs

  • To visit all patients
  • To listen
  • To pray, at your request
  • To share in your faith struggles
  • To assist you in seeking inner peace and strength
  • To help answer your spiritual questions
  • To bring you, sacred texts, or holy writings from specific faith traditions
  • To assist you in contacting religious leaders from your faith tradition
  • To help meet your specific faith, religious or spiritual needs

To contact a Chaplain:

Call the Spiritual Care Department
In the hospital - Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center - extension 57484
Outside the hospital - 310-825-7484

In the hospital - UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center - extension 98170
Outside the hospital - 424-259-8170

Spiritual Care Department
UCLA Health
Box 951733
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1733

Spiritual Care services include

  • Regular visits week days from an interfaith Chaplain assigned to your Nursing Unit
  • Visits from an interfaith on-call Chaplain for emergencies and urgent requests 24/7
  • An interdisciplinary healthcare team that includes a Chaplain
  • Texts and holy writings from varied faith traditions
  • Literature for special spiritual care needs
  • Grief and crisis support
  • Liaison with local faith communities to meet your specific needs
  • We are available to people of all faith traditions with various beliefs, as well as those of no religious affiliation. If you have questions or specific requests, please contact us.

In the News

Spiritual Care Staff

ACPE Educators

Rev. Yuko Uesugi is the Director of the Spiritual Care Department. She is an ACPE Certified Educator and an ordained Elder of the United Methodist Church (UMC). She completed the ACPE internship and residency programs at UCLA Westwood and Santa Monica Hospital.  She is a native of Japan, and came to the U.S. in 1996 in order to pursue her theological education. She holds her B.A. in Business Administration from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo, Japan and M.Div. Degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. Rev. Uesugi has chaplaincy experience in cardiology, psychiatry, oncology, and general hospital ministry and management experience of the Spiritual Care Department at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica.

Chaplain Blake Arnall is the Assistant Director of the Spiritual Care Department. He is an ACPE Certified Educator and a commissioned minister with the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). He holds a BFA from Art Center College of Design and a Master of Divinity from the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California. He is a member of the Association of Professional Chaplains (APC) and has been a Board Certified Chaplain since 2007. He completed his ACPE Certified Educator training at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. He has experience providing chaplaincy care to oncology, transplant and psychiatric patients and their family members. He has served on Palliative Care Teams and Ethics Committees for over ten years. Prior to joining UCLA Health, he was the Manager of Pastoral Education at Methodist Hospital of Southern California in Arcadia, California.

Rev. Keith W. Wakefield is the Manager for CPE Programs. He is an ACPE Certified Educator and an Ordained Elder in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. He completed four units of CPE before doing another CPE Residency at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in 2016/17. He completed his ACPE Certified Educator training at the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, Colorado. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theology from Southern Adventist University (2004), a Master of Divinity from the Seventh-Day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University (2013) and earned his “Postgraduate Certificate in Research Methods in Health Practice” from the University of Bath (2023). Keith has chaplaincy experience in Medical Intensive Care Units, burn, surgical-trauma, cardiology, psychiatry, oncology, among other general medicine units. Prior to joining UCLA Health, Keith was a CPE Educator at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland and then at Stanford Health Care, in Palo Alto, California.

Staff Chaplains - Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center

Rev. Chitra Rao is the Oncology Staff Chaplain at the outpatient UCLA Bowyer Oncology Center and on the inpatient Hematology and Stem Cell Transplant Unit at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. She is an Episcopal priest and a board-certified chaplain with APC. Prior to coming to UCLA she served as an oncology staff chaplain for six years on the pediatric and adult patient units at City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, CA and later as a hospice chaplain and bereavement supervisor.  Rev. Rao received a Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary and completed her CPE residency at the University of North Carolina Hospitals, where her chaplaincy experience was concentrated in neonatal, obstetrics and gynecology. Additionally, she earned her Bachelors from MS University of Baroda in India and graduate degrees in Special Education from Long Island University, New York and in Audiology from Montclair State University, New Jersey.

Staff Chaplains - UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center
Rev. Chunho Choi is a Board-Certified Chaplain with the Association of Professional Chaplains. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from California State University Northridge and a Master of Divinity from The King’s University in Van Nuys, CA. Prior to coming to UCLA Health, he was a Staff Chaplain at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital where he primarily worked with patients in palliative care, ICU, ED, and behavioral health unit. Reverend Choi also worked as a Staff Chaplain at City of Hope in Duarte, CA where he provided spiritual support for patients in various service lines including integrated care service, center for excellence program, hematology, and bone marrow transplant. He completed his CPE residency at UCLA Health, Santa Monica and worked as a chaplain in oncology, geriatrics, pediatrics, orthopedics, and surgical/intermediate care. Prior to becoming a chaplain, Reverend Choi worked as a lead pastor in Korean Presbyterian church for numerous years. He is ordained by the Evangelical Church Alliance for professional pastoral ministry.

Rev. Sara Lamar-Sterling, MDiv, BCC, is a Staff Chaplain at UCLA-Santa Monica Medical Center. She is a United Methodist minister, endorsed by the United Methodist Endorsing Agency, and a board certified chaplain with the Association of Professional Chaplains. She received a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York, specializing in Arts and Worship. Sara completed her Clinical Pastoral Education residency at Yale New Haven Hospital. She served as Staff Chaplain at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital for more than four years, providing care in high-risk maternity, labor and birth, post-partum maternity, neonatal and pediatric intensive care units, pediatric medicine, cardiology, neurology, surgery, and oncology. After relocating to Los Angeles in 2019, she gained experience in adult oncology, outpatient palliative care, and advance care planning facilitation at MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center. Before her hospital chaplaincy career, Sara served as a local pastor for 11 years in New York and Connecticut.

Rabbi Dena Trugman is a Palliative Care Chaplain at UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center. She received ordination and a Master’s degree in Jewish Studies from the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College in Newton, MA, and she holds dual undergraduate degrees in History and English from Northwestern University. Prior to joining UCLA Health, Rabbi Trugman was a staff chaplain at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, where she primarily served patients receiving inpatient physical rehabilitation due to traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, amputation, and stroke. She also has significant experience working with oncology, trauma, burn, renal, dementia, cardiac, and critical care patients. Rabbi Trugman completed her training at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and Hebrew SeniorLife, a long-term care facility in the Boston area.

The Spiritual Care Department also includes an Office Administrator.  As part of the Spiritual Care Department's team, CPE interns, residents and staff serve the spiritual and religious needs of the Medical Center's patients, patient-family members, staff and faculty.