An Interfaculty Initiative within Harvard University
The Initiative aims to be a research catalyst for an integrated model of spirituality, public health and patient care, one that fosters collaboration throughout Harvard University, and dialogue with spiritual communities. In light of the separation between body and soul within contemporary healthcare, the Initiative upholds stringent scientific and social-scientific methods of analysis, followed by interdisciplinary teams of empirical researchers, scholars, and theologians, based within a line of inquiry that seeks understanding of spirit, mind, and body. The program is oriented around the question:
How may religion and spirituality in concert with public health and the practice of medicine alleviate illness and promote human well-being?
The initiative endeavors to promote among students and faculty a deepening understanding of spirituality and religion within health, healing, and illness, and lead to ground-breaking innovation to alleviate illness and promote human flourishing.
The program's primary foci include:
- Research: The initiative facilitates empirical research and humanities scholarship in order to understand how religion and spirituality and the experience of health, illness, and healing interface with bedside care, public health, and the healthcare system. Research aims to develop and evaluate models of integrated public health and patient care that take into account spiritual faith and the dynamics of a pluralistic culture.
- Education: The program builds collaborative educational opportunities for students and trainees that weave salient research and scholarship into standard university courses, provide seminars to raise awareness among faculty and students, and create an educational path to grow a cadre of experts for future leadership in the field of religion and health.
- Transformation: The initiative aims to engage contemporary problems and questions at the intersections of religion, spirituality, public health, the medical system, and the practice of medicine. The program both strives to deepen intellectual understanding at these cross-roads and successfully apply new discoveries for the wide benefit of human flourishing.