Much evidence links religious and spiritual (RS) factors to better health. In the 1980s and 1990s, Public Health researchers provided key leadership and evidence that helped fuel the interdisciplinary surge of interest in RS/health relations. But at present, RS factors are neglected in Public Health curricula and research compared to many other health-related fields.
Based at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health (SPH), we will create/disseminate prototypes and models for how to integrate RS factors into Public Health. We will convene a Working Group of 8 committed faculty from the UC Berkeley SPH and two experts from elsewhere in the US to write a report on how to better address RS factors across Public Health curricula/research. The report will address not only Berkeley's SPH, but more generally the overall field of Public Health, as represented by approximately 50 accredited Schools of Public Health in the US.
The report will be published online and presented to the campus community at a widely publicized and media-attended public event with a panel discussion with Working Group members and others. An edited version will appear in a major Public Health journal. Key findings/recommendations will be presented at the 2014 American Public Health Association meeting. Another journal article in a major health journal will offer a more detailed profile of aspects of Berkeley's approach to teaching RS and Public Health that may be of value for others teaching Public Health and related fields.
Based on the Report, the Working Group will prepare an application for a training grant submissible to funders such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) or others (CDC, Pew, Robert Wood Johnson, MacArthur), in order to train a new generation of scholars about this important field.
Other anticipated outcomes include increased recognition of RS in Public Health funding, research, teaching, student papers, and theses.