Religion, Medicine, and Global Health

The research module in Religion, Medicine and Global Health aims to understand the the relationship between health and religion in a wide range of geographic settings and to identify ways in which religion impacts the making of global health policies and the delivery of health care around the world.

We recognize religion, spirituality, and health to be broad constructs best understood through a myriad of phenomena and human experiences, where religion and religious experiences may impact the meaning and the value placed on health or prescribe particular ways to pursue it, and health may also influence the ways in which  religious and spiritual beliefs and practices are defined and  performed.   

The module aims to re-introduce major questions related to the role of religion in the making of health care policy into the fields of Science, Technology and Society, and Global Health and in the study of the history of global health and medicine. We also focus on the role of religion and spirituality in medicine, either by informing health care policies or delivery, or by influencing individual or group experiences of health and illness. Bioethics is another important area of inquiry that falls under this research program. We are developing research projects that address some of the more pressing issues in global bioethics, such as organ transplantation stem-cell research, and compliance in doctor-patient relationships.

Topics in this module include

  • Role of Faith-Based Organizations (FBOs) in healthcare delivery
  • Religion, law and health choices                                                          
  • Perceptions and meanings of miracles                                                 
  • Religious rituals and healthcare outcome (see also in Ritual Studies)     
  • Science, Religion and Hospitals                                                          
  • Life, Death and Dying
  • Placebo, testing and the making of medical truth                                  
  • Religion and global health policies (see also postcolonial studies)      
  • Universality and Locality in medical practice (see also postcolonial studies)                                       
  • Bioethics 

To learn how you can become involved, please email us at srcp@hds.harvard.edu