Rabbi Dr. Marc A. Gellman, Ph.D.
Senior Rabbi, Temple Beth Torah
Rabbi Dr. Marc A. Gellman, Ph.D. has been active in the intersection of media and religion ever since he paired up with Monsignor Thomas Hartman and formed "The God Squad" over twenty years ago. They have served as religion consultants to "Good Morning America," co-hosted their own cable interview program, appeared on most cable news programs, and lectured widely. They were awarded the George Foster Peabody Award for their HBO special, "How Do You Spell God?" Rabbi Gellman has worked in the field of medical ethics in various capacities and is presently a consultant on the medical ethics curriculum for the Hofstra Medical School (opening fall 2011). He has been a columnist for Newsweek, and writes a nationally syndicated spiritual advice column for Tribune Media Services. Rabbi Gellman earned his Ph.D. in Philosophy from Northwestern University and is the senior rabbi of Temple Beth Torah in Melville, New York.
There are three distinct approaches to the dialogue between religion and medicine, but only one approach that offers a chance for productive dialogue. The first type are those who believe that science and spirituality are non-overlapping magesteria which have little if anything to say to each other about human healing. A second type are those who aggressively seek to deny the validity of either a scientific or spiritual approach. The third group is open to a productive and respectful dialogue and it is best represented by the approach of the medieval Jewish physician/rabbi/philosopher Moses Maimonides. Using his actual writings and the spirit of his inquiry can open up for us all a new way to allow religion and medicine to inform each other about the mystery and hope of human healing.
David O. Moberg, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus of Sociology
David O. Moberg, Ph.D., is Sociology Professor Emeritus at Marquette University. His distinguished career includes military service, academic appointments at Bethel College and Marquette University, Fulbright Lectureships in the Netherlands and West Germany, and part-time appointments in schools of nursing, theology and other agencies in the U.S., Europe, and Palestine. He is a Fellow of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, among other organizations, and has served on editorial boards of several journals. Moberg‚Äôs research and consultation is in the sociology of religion, gerontology, and related fields of investigation. He has published widely in professional journals and semi-popular magazines and wrote the influential Spiritual Well-Being: Background and Issues for the 1971 White House Conference on Aging. Among his books related to spirituality, theology and health are The Church and the Older Person (1962); Spiritual Well-Being: Sociological Perspectives (1979); Wholistic Christianity (1985); Aging and Spirituality (2001); and The Great Reversal, 3rd ed. (2007).
Drawing upon six decades of work related to spirituality research, Professor Moberg will share his reflections and perspectives about its rich and rapidly expanding opportunities, including suggestions related to future studies, clinical practice, and personal life. Mountainous challenges face empirical researchers because of the intangibility and complexity of spirituality, its inter- and trans-disciplinary nature, its linkages with clinical practice in the health and social service professions, and its vital relationships with religion, theology, and the humanities. Future research will increasingly demonstrate the magnitude of spirituality‚Äôs contributions to humanity, clarifying its relevance to societal wellness and especially the holistic health of individuals.
Tracy Balboni, M.D.
Instructor in Radiation Oncology
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Tracy Balboni, M.D., M.P.H., holds degrees from Stanford University, Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. She currently serves as instructor in radiation oncology at Harvard Medical School and is a core researcher in the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Center for Psychooncology and Palliative Care Research. Her primary research interests are located at the intersection of oncology, palliative care, and the role of religion and spirituality in the experience of life-threatening illness. Her research endeavors have included examining religion and spirituality in the experience of advanced cancer as part of the NIH-funded Coping with Cancer study.Dr. Balboni has also received awards fromthe American Society of Clinical Oncology and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality supporting a mixed quantitative-qualitative research protocol evaluating religion and spirituality operating among oncology physicians, nurses, and advanced cancer patients. Her work also includes forging improved dialogue between academic theology, religious communities, and the field of medicine.
Formed in the embrace of religious life and thought, modern medicine owes much of its founding principles to this heritage. However, passage through modernity has yielded an estranged relationship. Scientific medicine now holds primacy to care of the body while religious communities mainly provide care for the soul. Though the complexities of body and spirit are served well by specialization, the lack of integration of spiritual and material care of the human person have led to notable tensions for the care of the sick at the end of life. Recent research examining the relationship of spiritual factors in the experience of advanced illness reveals a complexity that reflects injury imparted by severing the material and spiritual person. These data call for a response from the medical community and from religious communities, responses that should at their core be the same ‚Äì reintegration of the care of the person, body and soul.
Veena Das, Ph.D.
Johns Hopkins University
Veena Das, Ph.D. is Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Anthropology and Professor of Humanities at Johns Hopkins University. She is a founding member of the Institute of Socio-economic Research on Development and Democracy, which conducts research and advocacy on behalf of the urban poor. Author and editor of several books and journal articles, her latest book is Life and Words: Violence and the Descent into the Ordinary, California University Press, 2006. She co-edited, with Arthur Kleinman and others, an influential trilogy on social suffering, violence and recovery. Veena Das is an Honorary Foreign Fellow of theAmerican Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the Academy of Scientists from Developing Countries. She has received several awards, including the Anders Retzius Gold Medal from the Swedish Society ofAnthropology and Geography. Das was awarded an honorary doctorate in Letters Humane from the University of Chicago.
Working in the context of urban poverty and want, I wish to present the experience of illness that puts both the patient and the caregiver in a state of spiritual crisis. The paper examines how the relations between the social and the cosmic generate figures of the non-human that are yet within human experience. Such human-inhuman, natural-supernatural, man-god relations generate a vocabulary through which what I call after Cora Diamond, the difficulty of reality can be addressed. The paper looks at both the forms that caregiving might take and the limits to responsibility on which it might also invite reflection.
Alvin Dueck, Ph.D.
Evelyn and Frank Reed Professor of the Integration of Psychology and Theology
Fuller Theological Seminary
Alvin Dueck, Ph.D., is the Evelyn and Frank Freed professor of the integration of psychology and theology at Fuller. In addition to teaching courses that focus on the dialogue between theology and psychology, he is engaged in research on the role of religion in therapy and congregational health. He is the principal investigator in a research project on the spiritual experience of Christians, Muslims, and Jews funded by the Templeton Foundation. Most recently he is the recipient of a Templeton grant for the advancement of research in psychology of religion in China. Together with Cameron Lee, he has edited a volume of essays entitled Why Psychology Needs Theology: A Radical-Reformation Perspective (2005). He is co-author with Ann Ulanov of The Living God and the Living Psyche (2008). His most recent publication is with Kevin Reimer: A Peaceable Psychology: Christian Therapy in a World of Many Cultures (2009).
This presentation proposes a cross-cultural approach to spirituality, theology and health. Based on the speaker‚Äôs international experience in Guatemala, Africa, and China, a tradition-sensitive model builds on the patient‚Äôs native language and understanding of illness rather than privileging the practitioner or the Western models of healing and pathology. Failure to respect local traditions internationally has lead to the exportation of a universal, secular psychology and the displacement of indigenous psychologies. A more hospitable approach welcomes a diversity of psychologies rather than homogenizing them. Hospitality as a theme is found in the major world religions and is constructed on the radical otherness of the stranger, the one in need of care. The presentation will illustrate with case examples from international settings.
Neal Krause, Ph.D.
Marshall H. Becker Collegiate Professor of Public Health
Senior Research Scientist, Institute of Gerontology
University of Michigan
Neal Krause, Ph.D., is the Marshall H. Becker Collegiate Professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan. His research focuses on the relationship between religion and health in late life. Dr. Krause conducted the first nationwide longitudinal survey that was devoted solely to the study of religion and health among older whites and older blacks. He recently completed a nationwide survey of religion and health among older Mexican Americans. A good deal of the research that has emerged from these studies focuses on how social relationships in religious institutions promote better physical and mental health among older people. Although a good deal of his research involves the beneficial effects of religious involvement, Dr. Krause has also explored the ways in which involvement in religion may have a deleterious effect on health and well-being. Included among these detrimental factors are negative interaction in the church and religious doubt.
The purpose of this presentation is to examine the relationship between humility and health among older people. In the process, the religious foundation of humility will be examined. Three sets of longitudinal analyses will be pieced together so that a wider vantage point for assessing humility can be provided. The first set suggests that increased support from fellow church members is associated with feeling closer to God over time. The second set indicates that feeling closer to God is associated with feeling more humble over time. The third set of analyses reveals that older people who feel more humble tend to rate their health more favorably over time. The data for this presentation comes from a recent nationwide longitudinal survey of older adults.