As noted by our current JTF-funded “On the Viewcreen” project, much evidence links religious and spiritual (R/S) factors to better health. In the late 1990s, research in public health (PH) provided key evidence that helped fuel the interdisciplinary surge of interest in R/S-health relations. But at present, R/S factors are neglected in PH curricula and research compared to many other health-related fields. Our Viewcreen project has been assembling an evidence base and prototypes to redress this problem.
The new “Going National” project builds on the Viewscreen project by supporting direct efforts in five Schools of Public Health (SPHs), identified as hotspots for expanded R/S teaching: Johns Hopkins, University of North Texas, SUNY/Albany, Drexel, and University of Maryland.
Supported by UC Berkeley expertise and Viewscreen findings and outputs, teams at these five SPHs will implement locally-tailored stand-alone R/S-PH courses plus other R/S-related components across PH curricula (resulting teaching materials are Output 1). These diverse R/S-PH designs/experiences will be documented in a widely publicized book (Outputs 2, 3) offering a wealth of complementary/anchoring chapters that document numerous facets of the R/S-PH evidence base, theoretical frameworks, and implications for PH practitioners. Published by a prominent publisher (e.g., Oxford or APHA), the book will serve doubly as a course text for R/S-PH teaching, and as a professional handbook for PH practitioners to understand R/S-health literature from a public health perspective.
Also launched will be a student essay competition (Output 4) and a strategic plan (Output 5) for expanded nationwide attention to R/S-PH issues. Anticipated outcomes include enhanced attention to R/S by faculty, students, & administrators in collaborating SPHs and beyond; and generating tools, networks, and vision for sustaining and intensifying R/S-PH integration going forward into the future.