Religion and Medicine: Should They Mix?


Friday, January 18, 2019, 6:30pm to 8:30pm


TMEC Amphitheater, Harvard Medical School, Tosteson Medical Education Center

Event Description
There are many reasons for concern about physicians/healthcare providers bringing their religious beliefs into clinical practice. The power dynamic between physicians and patients can lead to unintended consequences, and some might say that since most physicians are not trained to talk about these issues, they should leave them to hospital chaplains. There is also the issue of time: clinicians have too much to do, so why add one more thing to their plate?

On the other hand, many would acknowledge that religion/spirituality form an integral part of the lives of many patients and have profound implications on their health. A growing number of empirical studies suggest a relationship between religion and its impact on health and patient care. Why not include a spiritual history in addition to other clinical histories?

The forum will feature dialogue between four speakers with differing views on the issue. Tia Powell (Director of Montefiore Einstein Center for Bioethics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine), Richard Sloan (Professor of Behavioral Medicine/Psychiatry, Columbia University), Lydia Dugdale (Associate Professor Term; Associate Director, Program for Biomedical Ethics; Co-Director, Yale Program for Medicine, Spirituality, and Religion), Tyler VanderWeele (Professor of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health), and Howard Koh (Professor of the Practice of Public Health Leadership, Harvard University).