Spirituality and Religion Within the Culture of Medicine: From Evidence to Practice

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Michael J. Balboni, John R. Peteet
Oxford University Press, 2017 - Medical - 419 pages
Spirituality and Religion Within the Culture of Medicine provides a comprehensive evaluation of the relationship between spirituality, religion, and medicine evaluating current empirical research and academic scholarship.

In Part 1, the book examines the relationship of religion, spirituality, and the practice of medicine by assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the most recent empirical research of religion/spirituality within twelve distinct fields of medicine including pediatrics, psychiatry, internal medicine, surgery, palliative care, and medical ethics. Written by leading clinician researchers in their fields, contributors provide case examples and highlight best practices when engaging religion/spirituality within clinical practice. This is the first collection that assesses how the medical context interacts with patient spirituality recognizing crucial differences between contexts from obstetrics and family medicine, to nursing, to gerontology and the ICU.

Recognizing the interdisciplinary aspects of spirituality, religion, and health, Part 2 of the book turns to academic scholarship outside the field of medicine to consider cultural dimensions that form clinical practice. Social-scientific, practical, and humanity fields include psychology, sociology, anthropology, law, history, philosophy, and theology. This is the first time in a single volume that readers can reflect on these multi-dimensional, complex issues with contributions from leading scholars.

In Part III, the book concludes with a synthesis, identifying the best studies in the field of religion and health, ongoing weaknesses in research, and highlighting what can be confidently believed based on prior studies. The synthesis also considers relations between the empirical literature on religion and health and the theological and religious traditions, discussing places of convergence and tension, as well as remainingopen questions for further reflection and research.

This book will provide trainees and clinicians with an introduction to the field of spirituality, religion, and medicine, and its multi-disciplinary approach will give researchers and scholars in the field a critical and up-to-date analysis.


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1 Introduction
Religion Spirituality and Medical Subspecialities
Scholarly Disciplinary Perspectives
Synthesis and Integration

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About the author (2017)

John R. Peteet is a psychiatrist at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He has authored or co-edited several books and numerous papers on the clinical interface between spirituality/religion and psychiatry and serves as president of the American Psychiatric Association's Caucus on Religion, Spirituality and Psychiatry.

Michael J. Balboni is a theologian and social-scientific researcher at Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He is co-director of the Initiative on Health, Religion, and Spirituality at Harvard University and co-leads the National Conference on Medicine and Religion. His empirical research focuses on describing the spiritual beliefs and practices of patients, clinicians, and religious communities in end-of-life care. His theological work examines religion and spirituality within secular medical contexts, including his forthcoming book with OUP, Hostility to Hospitality, co-written with Tracy Balboni, MD. He is Senior Minister to the Longwood Christian Community, an intentional religious community of healthcare students and professionals in Boston.

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