Interconnections between the faith-based and medical sectors are multifaceted and have existed for centuries, including partnerships that have evolved over the past several decades in the U.S. This talk outlines ten points of intersection that have engaged medical and public health professionals and institutions across specialties, focusing especially on primary care, global health, and community-based outreach to underserved populations. In a time of healthcare resource scarcity, such partnerships—involving religious congregations, denominations, and communal and philanthropic agencies—are useful complements to the work of private-sector medical care providers and of federal, state, and local public health institutions in their efforts to protect and maintain the health of the population. At the same time, ethical and political challenges and obstacles remain, mostly related to negotiating the complex and contentious relations between these two sectors.
Dr. Jeff Levin, an epidemiologist by training, holds a distinguished chair at Baylor University, where he is University Professor of Epidemiology and Population Health, Professor of Medical Humanities, and Director of the Program on Religion and Population Health at the Institute for Studies of Religion. Dr. Levin holds an A.B. in religion and in sociology from Duke University, an M.P.H. from the University of North Carolina School of Public Health, and a Ph.D. in Preventive Medicine and Community Health from the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Texas Medical Branch. Dr. Levin has authored over 200 scholarly publications, mostly on the instrumental functions of religion for physical and mental health, general well-being, and aging, and has written or edited 11 books.