Staff Biographies

Staff Biographies

Columbia University Irving Medical Center

Joel Nightingale Berning

Joel Berning

Joel Nightingale Berning is a Manager in the Department of Spiritual Care and Chaplaincy at NewYork-Presbyterian, where he has been a chaplain since 2010. He is responsible for spiritual care at NYP/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, NYP Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, NYP Allen Hospital, NYP Westchester, and NYP Hudson Valley Hospital. His undergraduate degree is from Pomona College, his M.Div. is from Union Theological Seminary, his board certification is by the Association of Professional Chaplains, and he is a Certified Educator of ACPE: The Standard for Spiritual Care & Education. His research focuses on overcoming communication barriers to spiritual care.

Fr. Antonio Almonte

Fr. Antonio Almonte

Fr. Antonio Almonte is a priest ordained for the Archdiocese of New York in 1997. He was born and raised in the Washington Heights area. In May 1991 he received a Bachelor of Arts from Manhattan College, in May 1993 an Associate degree in Philosophy from St. John’s University, and in May 1997, a Bachelor of Arts in Sacred Theology and a Master in Divinity from St. Joseph Seminary. “At present, I have been a priest for 25 years and am trying to become a certified Catholic chaplain. I completed 4 units of CPE at Northwell/Lenox Hill Hospital, January 2020–June 2021. I have been a pastor at St. Peter’s Church (91 Ludlow St.; Yonkers, New York) 2003–2007 and at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs (91 Arden St.; New York, New York) 2007–2018. I was in an assistant administrative role at Incarnation Parish 1997–2002 and St. Luke’s parish 2002–2003 in the Bronx. At present, I am one of the Roman Catholic Priests at NYP/Columbia University Irving Medical Center. Before coming to NYP, I was at Northwell/Lenox Hill Hospital as a chaplain, November 2019–April 2022. While there, I performed the duties of a Catholic priest in the entire building and participated extensively in the care of Covid patients and staff from March 2020 to May of 2022”.

Alexandra Carr

Alexandra Carr

Alexandra Carr is a per diem chaplain at NYP/Columbia University Irving Medical Center. She received her bachelor's degree in psychology from Barnard college with a focus on evolutionary psychology and gender and sexuality studies in 2011. She is interested in serving patients who might draw from nontraditional sources of spiritual strength that can be difficult to access in a hospital environment.

Soren Glassing

Soren Glassing

Soren Glassing is an ordained Zen Buddhist monk and Staff Chaplain at NYP/Columbia University Irving Medical Center. He has been practicing Buddhism since 1985, both in Japan and America was the head monk and co-director of the Zen Studies Society in New York City.

He works primarily on the Palliative Care team, and specializes in end of life, working on a small hospice unit in the hospital (Palliative Care Unit). He also works on the psychiatric unit where he leads meditation and spirituality groups both there and throughout the hospital. Soren teaches spirituality in the healthcare setting to new medical students, mentors residents and fellows, and teaches clinicians ways to reduce stress and burnout on the job.

Soren has presented workshops on a national level including subjects ranging from Buddhism, working with the dying, and how to bring the contemplative and visual arts into clinical work. He has been highlighted by the Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare, and Intima, A Journal of Narrative Medicine for his art during Covid. He was also selected by the Washington University

Chaplain Linda S. Golding

Chaplain Linda S. Golding

Chaplain Linda S. Golding earned her Masters in Jewish Studies and the Certificate in Pastoral Care and Counseling from the Jewish Theological Seminary and is a Board Certified Chaplain through the Association of Professional Chaplains.

Following a substantial career working with classical music composers, Golding trained as a chaplain and has served as the Coordinator of the Department of Spiritual Care and Chaplaincy at NYP/Columbia University Irving Medical Center since 2010. She is the chaplain member of the hospital’s Ethics Committee and Organ Donor Council; leads didactics on Ambiguous Loss, Ethics and Chaplaincy, and Pastoral Care to Non-Responsive Patients; serves as a preceptor for medical student clerkships; leads regular support groups for all hospital staff. Awards include 2020-21 REACH Fellowship, 2022 the Jewish Theological Seminary Center for Pastoral Education Chaplain Leader, and the 2023 CUIMC’s Friend of Nursing. Golding’s research interests include the impact of spirituality on patients with chronic pain; caregiver compassion fatigue; and pastoral care with non-responsive patients. She regularly presents workshops and webinars; and is on faculty at Jewish Theological Seminary, Union Theological Seminary, the Columbia School of Nursing, the Bioethics program at Columbia University.

Chaplain Jasmine Gómez

Chaplain Jasmine Gómez

Chaplain Jasmine Gómez is a bilingual chaplain at NYP/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, largely serving Milstein's cardiac units and the Spanish-speaking population. Chaplain Gómez earned her Master’s in Pastoral Care and Counseling at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education. She holds a BA in History from Le Moyne College and a certificate in Event Planning from the City University of New York. Influenced by Catholic Social Teaching and Ignatian Spirituality, Chaplain Gómez’s approach to chaplaincy is deeply rooted in empathy, active listening, and fostering a safe space for individuals to explore their beliefs, find solace and resilience. She has served as a Spiritual Mentor for the incarcerated and has experience working in the healthcare and child welfare systems in addition to the Archdiocese of New York. Chaplain Gómez completed her Chaplain Residency in 2023 at NYP Brooklyn Methodist Hospital and will soon be certified with the National Association of Catholic Chaplains. Chaplaincy is one of the greatest honors of her life, and she does it ad majorem Dei gloriam (for the greater glory of God).

Father Arlen Harris

Father Arlen Harris

Father Arlen Harris, O.F.M., Cap., is a perpetually professed member of the Order of Friars Minor, Capuchin, a Franciscan religious community within the Roman Catholic Church. He is also a Roman Catholic priest. He serves as a chaplain primarily at NYP/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, but also assists with the spiritual care of patients and staff members at NYP Allen Hospital and at NYP Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York, as needed. Father Arlen is a member of the National Association of Catholic Chaplains (NACC). He has completed four units of Clinical Pastoral Education (C.P.E.), including three units at New York Presbyterian (2016 – 2018).

James Jean

James Jean is an ordained bishop with the "Church of God," holding a Master of Divinity from the Pentecostal Theological Seminary (PTS). He is pursuing a second Masters degree in, Clinical Mental Health Counseling (2024) and is engaged in coursework toward achieving a Ph.D. in Practical Theology. James is an advocate for utilizing chaplaincy to bridge the gap between spirituality and counseling to provide a comprehensive, (w)holistic, person-centered approach to care.

Rabbi Ralph Kreger

Ralph Kreger

Rabbi Ralph Kreger is a board certified chaplain at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia. He was ordained at Mirrer Yeshiva Rabbinical Seminary in Brooklyn, New York. His interests include Jewish medical ethics.

Reverend Amos Martin, MDiv, BCC

Reverend Amos Martin, MDiv, BCC

Chaplain Martin is a board-certified Chaplain with the Association of Professional Chaplains and an ordained minister. He received his bachelor’s degree in theology from Gospel for Asia Biblical Seminary and his master’s degree in divinity from Hindustan Bible Institute and College, both located in India. He was introduced to chaplaincy in the United States and completed his clinical chaplaincy training at three different hospitals. (St John’s Hospital, Far Rockaway, Calvary Hospital, Bronx and Queens Hospital Center, Queens). He started his chaplaincy career as a Hospice Chaplain at Parker Jewish Institute, New Hyde Park. After three years of being a Hospice Chaplain, became a staff chaplain at St Francis Hospital, Manhasset. Rev Martin has provided support and spiritual guidance to patients and families in home, assisted living, long-term care, and hospital settings.

Rabbanit Alissa Thomas-Newborn

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Rabbanit Alissa Thomas-Newborn is a Board-Certified Chaplain at NYP/Columbia University Irving Medical Center. She has specialties in Palliative Care, Critical Care, and Emergency Psychiatric Care. She is the president of NAJC (Neshama: Association of Jewish Chaplains). Rabbanit Alissa is also a member of the clergy at Congregation Netivot Shalom in Teaneck, NJ. A writer and speaker, she received her ordination from Yeshivat Maharat and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Brandeis University with a degree in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and Classical Studies Archaeology and Ancient History. She lives in Teaneck, NJ with her husband Akiva and daughter Ella.

Sister Monica Okon

Sister Monica Okon

Sister Monica Okon is a per diem chaplain at NYP/Columbia University Irving Medical Center and has been part of NYP since 2017. Sister Monica completed 5 units of CPE from NYP Queens, NYP/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, and NYP Brooklyn Methodist Hospital. She is a Board-Certified Chaplain (BCC) with the National Catholic Chaplains (NACC), since 2020. Sister Monica is happy to serve wherever there is need for spiritual support to patients, families, and staff.

JyākuEn Sherrilynn Posey

JyākuEn Sherrilynn Posey

Sherrilynn Posey lives in New York City and has worked as a watchmaker in the luxury timepiece field since 1996. After 2 years of study at One Spirit Interfaith Seminary she was ordained an Interfaith Minister in 2008 and started meditating at Insight. From 2010 to 2015 she studied Buddhist Chaplaincy/Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) at New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care. She also studied Interfaith Chaplaincy/CPE from 2015 – 2016 at NYP/Columbia University Irving Medical Center. Sherrilynn has worked as a Per Diem Buddhist Chaplain at NYP/Columbia University Irving Medical Center since 2012. She is a formal student of Roshi Enkyo O’Hara of Village Zendo – True Expression Temple in NYC. As a member of Village Zendo she received Jukai (a ceremony of taking refuge and received the name JyākuEn) in 2016 and was ordained as a Buddhist Chaplain in (in the Soto Zen tradition) in 2021.

Rachel Rim

Rachel Rim

Rachel Rim is a Staff Chaplain at NYP/Columbia University Irving Medical Center and at NYP Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, concentrating in pediatric palliative care. She earned her Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary, where she also got her first encounter with chaplaincy working as an intern at Trenton Psychiatric Hospital. Drawn to the chaplaincy model of a "ministry of presence" and the theological and spiritual openness of multifaith spiritual care, Rachel continued her chaplaincy training at New-York Presbyterian, completing her residency at NYP/Columbia University Irving Medical Center and her palliative care fellowship at NYP/Weill Cornell Medical Center. She currently serves as a Staff Chaplain at NYP Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, where she finds particular joy in unearthing what brings her patients' a sense of delight and wholeness. 

Rachel grew up in the Korean-American immigrant church and now finds her faith community in the Episcopal tradition. She experiences the sacred in the hospitality of her patients' who create space for her to join them in the story of their illness and resilience. She also finds the sacred in her daily rhythms of cooking, running, writing, and brewing a good cup of coffee. Reflecting on her life inside the hospital and out, she often returns to this quote by the author Norman MacLean: "All good things come by grace, and grace comes by art, and art does not come easy."

The Rev. Carolynn Azaria Ulmer

Rev. Carolynn Azaria Ulmer

The Rev. Carolynn Azaria Ulmer is an Interfaith/Interspiritual Minister and Chaplain at NYP/Columbia University Irving Medical Center. She serves as a per diem chaplain. Chaplain Azaria was ordained at One Spirit Seminary in New York City. She earned her bachelor’s degree from The State University of New York-Empire University and graduated cum laude. She is completing a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary and journeying to Board Certification.

Chaplain Azaria is proud of her Caribbean heritage and claims two Islands as her native lands: Grenada and Trinidad and Tobago. For over 20 years, her work as a certified International Federation Coach and somatic practitioner has been to create spaces for healing, liberation, and community. Focusing on BIPOC but not limited to all people. Her work has been featured in the Huffington Post, and she has spoken on stages like The Kennedy Center and Google. She finds joy in the simple things like taking walks with her children in the many parks in New York City.

Sarah Emine Unal

Sarah Emine Unal

Sarah Emine Unal is a Staff Chaplain at NYP/Columbia University Irving Medical Center. Before this role, she was a chaplain resident at Penn Medicine Princeton Health. She finished her undergraduate degree in Sakarya University Faculty of Theology in Turkey. She got her MDiv Degree in Hartford International University (Hartford Seminary) in Connecticut. She is a candidate for Board Certified Certification by the Association of Professional Chaplains. Sarah has special interest in mental health and the connection between mental health and spirituality.