The roles that religion and faith play in the process
of healing and health care will be the focus of a public conference
at Emory that also marks the culmination of a year’s exploration
of the topic by faculty and students.
“New Perspectives on Health and Healing: Can Science and Religion
Work Together?” will be held April 11–12 in the Dobbs
Center’s Winship Ballroom.
Featured guests include three nationally known doctors who explore
the role of religion and spirituality in healing, including:
• Lori Alvord, surgeon and author of The Scalpel and the
Silver Bear: The First Navajo Woman Surgeon Combines Western Medicine
and Traditional Healing.
• Richard Selzer, surgeon and author of The Doctor Stories
and the Exact Location of the Soul.
• Sherwin Nuland, surgeon, medical historian and author of
How We Die: Reflections on Life’s Final Chapter and
the memoir Lost in America: A Journey with My Father.
Alvord will deliver the opening address, on “Ceremony Medicine:
A Navajo Philosophy of Healing,” at 7:30 p.m., Friday, April
11. The first Navajo woman surgeon, Alvord is an assistant professor
of surgery and associate dean of minority and student affairs at
Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover, N.H.
The conference continues from 9 a.m.–3 p.m. on Saturday, April
12, with panel presentations, lunch with the panelists, table discussions
and a wrapup session.
“As a research university and medical center with a rich mixture
of sciences, professional schools, liberal arts and humanities,
Emory is in a natural position to discuss and explore this topic
of healers and healing,” said biology Instructor Arri Eisen,
director of Emory’s Program in Science and Society, which
is coordinating the conference.
The conference is the capstone of a yearlong investigation of religion,
faith and health that began last fall with a faculty seminar that
drew professors from medicine, the sciences, religion, theology
and history. The study continues this semester with an undergraduate
Eisen, along with Gary Laderman, associate professor of religion,
and P.V. Rao, associate professor of physics, have spearheaded the
effort to bring together different facets of the Emory community
to examine the issue.
During the conference, panelists and participants will discuss several
core ideas that have come out of the seminars, such as the training
of health professionals and how personal religious beliefs affect
their practice; belief and the role it plays (or does not play)
in healing; the history and future of Western medicine; defining
health, illness and healing across cultures, countries and societies;
and the role organized religion plays in achieving good health.
The conference is free and open to the public. For more information
or to register online, visit www.emory.edu/COLLEGE/scienceandsociety/hnh.htm
or contact Ben Miller at 404-712-1182.