CPE Faculty and Advisory Group

Clinical Pastoral Education Faculty

Allison Kestenbaum, CPE Educator and Program Supervisor

Allison Kestenbaum developed and supervises the Clinical Pastoral Education program and serves as palliative care chaplain for the Howell Palliative Care Service at UC San Diego Health.

Allison conducts research about spiritual and palliative care and education. She was the first chaplain to receive a Cambia Health Foundation Sojourns Scholars Leadership Program Award (2018). 

Before joining UC San Diego Health, Allison served as director of programs and taught pastoral care to clergy members of all backgrounds at the Center for Pastoral Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City. Prior to that, she was a chaplain supervisor at UCSF Health, where she completed her chaplaincy and supervisory training.

She earned her MA in Judaic Studies and MPA in Non-profit Management and Public Policy from New York University. Allison is a board-certified chaplain (NAJC and APC) and a certified pastoral educator (ACPE).

Professional Advisory Group (PAG)

The Professional Advisory Group (PAG) is made up of interdisciplinary professionals from UC San Diego Health and the surrounding community. Members are knowledgeable about CPE, spiritual care, palliative care, hospice, clinical education and other related areas.

They meet at regular intervals, at least quarterly, to provide advice and consultation on CPE program planning, development and program evaluation.

The PAG's purpose is to:

  • Support and provide guidance to the CPE program faculty, Department of Volunteer and Spiritual Care Services and to the Doris A. Howell Service related to the CPE program and provision of spiritual care.
  • Seek ways to improve the ways to improve the quality of the spiritual and emotional care provided to patients, loved ones and staff at UC San Diego Health.
  • Facilitate communication and cooperation between the health system and the community, especially the community's religious leaders, and represent the concerns of community leaders to the health system as needed.
  • Help identify support for the CPE program's financial needs.
  • Be available to CPE students for didactics, consultation, support and guidance.
  • Assist with recruitment and interviews.
  • Participate on a subcommittee:
    Accreditation: To provide CPE program evaluation through conducting exit interviews for existing students, reviewing students' written feedback about the program, and actively participating in the ACPE Accreditation self-study process.
    Clinical Mentorship & Supervision: To formulate protocols and training for clinical supervision, based on best practices from spiritual and other clinical disciplines and the unique context of UC San Diego Health.
    Curriculum: To advise CPE faculty about curriculum, including didactics, faculty and educational modalities. 

Professional Advisory Group Members

Layah Steinberg, MA – Co-chair
UC San Diego Health
Director of Experience Operations, Office of Experience Transformation

William Mitchell, MD – Co-chair
UC San Diego Health
Medical Oncologist, Associate Professor of Medicine, Founding Director Emeritus, Doris A. Howell Palliative Care

Allison Kestenbaum, MA, MPA, BCC, ACPE – CPE Educator
UC San Diego Health
Supervisor of Spiritual Care Services and Clinical Pastoral Education

Toluwalasé "Lasé" A. Ajayi, MD FAAP
UC San Diego Health
Digital Health Equity Lead, Jacobs Center for Innovation
Associate Physician, Medicine & Pediatrics

Gary Buckholz, MD, HMDC, FAAHPM
UC San Diego Health
Fellowship Co-Director and Clinical Professor, Doris A. Howell Palliative Care
Center for Compassionate Communication
Sanford Institute for Empathy and Compassion

Arlene Cramer, FNP, AHPCN
Insight Buddhist Medication Community
UC San Diego Health Palliative Care (Retired)

Rabbi Ralph Dalin
Jewish Community Chaplain, Jewish Federation of San Diego County
Rabbinic Director, Ohr Ami – The Jewish Hospice Program of LightBridge Hospice and Palliative Care

Kyle P. Edmonds, MD, FAAHPM
UC San Diego Health
Director, Howell Palliative Care Services
Assistant Professor of Medicine

John Gillman, BCC, PhD, ACPE Certified Educator
University of San Diego, The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego

Katie Hamelin, MA, LMFT, CCLS
UC San Diego Health
Child Life Program Manager
SOAR Coordinator

Fr. Clement Ioraliam
Chaplain, Scripps Green
Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego
UC San Diego Health CPE Program Alumnus

Ben Janzen, Dr. Theol. PhD
VITAS, Bereavement Services Manager

Noriko Kawai
Chaplain/Bereavement Coordinator at Sojourn Hospice and Palliative Care
Minister's Assistant at Buddhist Temple of San Diego

Rev. Michelle Kirby, BCC, ACPE Certified Educator
VA-DoD CPE Center
Paul T. Mugane, MDiv
Clinical Chaplain
Sharp Grossmont Hospital

Laura Martin-Spencer
Director of Pastoral Formation
Program of Priestly Formation
Diocese of San Diego

Ayelet Ruppin-Pham, MN, RN PHNA-BC
Patient Education Specialist

Karolina Soriano, LCSW
UC San Diego Health Palliative Care

Rev. Mark Weber, MDiv, BCC
Coordinator of Chaplaincy Services
Scripps, Spiritual Care Services