David B. Larson

David B. Larson, M.D., was a psychiatrist trained at Duke, who founded and directed the National Institute for Healthcare Research and was a leader in the religion and health research field. He died suddenly at the young age of 54 on March 5, 2002. The David B. Larson Memorial Lecture was established in 2003 to honor Dr. Larson’s pioneering work.

David B. Larson Memorial Lecture

The 18th Annual David B. Larson Memorial Lecture will be held Thursday, March 11, 2021. The speaker will be Ellen Idler, Ph.D., Director, Religion and Public Health Collaborative, and Professor, Departments of Sociology and Epidemiology, Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. The title, location and time of the lecture are listed below. All are welcome and no reservation is required.  Contact Dr. Koenig (Harold.Koenig@duke.edu) for more information.



From the Broad Street Pump, to Call the Midwife, to the Ebola Crisis: Partnerships in Religion and Public Health

Thursday, March 11, 2021
5:30 – 6:30PM
Duke University Hospital North, Rm 2001

Presented by

Ellen Idler, Ph.D.

Brief Summary

Much of the research on religion and health has been focused at the individual level.  In clinical research the subjects are patients and the outcomes are measures of mental or physical health.  Even in population-based research, data on religion usually come from respondent reports in surveys, and outcomes also come from follow-ups of individuals.  But there is a whole other level on which action in religion and health is taking place – less recognized, but no less consequential and instructive.  In this lecture we will tell the stories of three such partnerships — two historical, one quite recent — in which religious institutions found common ground with public health authorities to accomplish population health improvements that neither could have achieved alone.



Ellen Idler, Ph.D., is Director of the Religion and Public Health Collaborative and Professor in the Departments of Sociology and Epidemiology at Emory University.  Dr. Idler received her Ph.D. and M.Phil. from Yale University (1985), her B.A. from the College of Wooster (1974, Phi Beta Kappa) and she attended Union Theological Seminary on a Rockefeller Brothers Fellowship.  She taught at Rutgers University from 1985 to 2009, in the Department of Sociology and the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research.  Dr. Idler is a Fellow and the current past chair of the Behavioral and Social Sciences Section of the Gerontological Society of America.  She studies the influence of attitudes, beliefs, and social connections on health, including the effect of self-ratings of health on mortality and disability, and the impact of religious participation on health and the timing of death among the elderly, research supported by National Institute on Aging funding, including a FIRST Award.  She has served on the editorial boards of the American Journal of Sociology, the Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Sociological Forum, the Slovenian Journal of Aging, and Rutgers University Press.

Past Lectures & Pictures