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Religion as a Social Determinant of Public Health
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Frequently in partnership, but sometimes at odds, religious institutions and public health institutions work to improve the well-being of their communities. There is an increasing awareness among public health professionals and the general public that the social conditions of poverty, lack of education, income inequality, poor working conditions, or experiences of discrimination play a dominant role in determining health status. But this broad view of the social determinants of health has, until now, largely ignored the role of religious practices and institutions in shaping the life conditions of billions around the globe. In Religion as a Social Determinant of Public Health, leading scholars in the social sciences, public health, and religion address this omission by examining the embodied sacred practices of the world's religions, the history of alignment and tension between religious and public health institutions, the research on the health impact of religious practice throughout the life course, and the role of religious institutions in health and development efforts around the globe. In addition, the volume explores religion's role in the ongoing epidemics of HIV/AIDS and Alzheimer's disease, as well as preparations for an influenza pandemic. Together, these essays help complete the picture of the social determinants of health by including religion, which has until now been an invisible determinant. Some health-determining influence flows through people's participation in religious practices and affiliation with mosques, synagogues, and churches. Some of it flows through lifestyle factors associated with religious observance. Some comes from relationships between religious institutions and institutions of public health and medical care. Some comes from the role religious institutions play in their communities, and in providing help for those in need and leveraging social capital. A groundbreaking work, Religion as a Social Determinant of Public Health explores the complex, multifaceted role of faith traditions and public health in throughout history, today, in in the future.
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Table of Contents

Foreword ; Preface: Religious Literacy is a Twenty-First-Century Skill - Ellen Idler and Laurie Patton ; Chapter 1. Religion: The Invisible Social Determinant - Ellen Idler ; Part I. Public Health in the Practices of the World's Faith Traditions ; Introduction ; Daily Religious Practices ; Chapter 2. Refuge Meditation in Contemporary Buddhism - Geshe Lobsang Tenzin Negi and Brendan Ozawa-de Silva ; Chapter 3. Taiji (T'ai-chi) in Taoism - Eric Reinders ; Chapter 4. Veiling in Islam: A Western Feminist Outsider's Perspective - Kathryn M. Yount ; Chapter 5. Vegetarianism in Seventh-day Adventism - George H. Grant and Jose Montenegro ; Weekly Religious Practices ; Chapter 6. The Eucharist in Roman Catholicism - Phillip M. Thompson ; Chapter 7. Congregational Hymn Singing in Mainline Protestantism - Don E. Saliers ; Annual Religious Practices ; Chapter 8. Hatsumode, or Visitation of Shinto Shrines: Religion and Culture in the Japanese Context - Chikako Ozawa-da Silva ; Chapter 9. Fasting in Islam - Abdullahi An-Na'im ; One-Time Religious Practices ; Chapter 10. Circumcision in Judaism: The Sign of the Covenant - Don Seeman ; Chapter 11. Puberty Rites in African Religious Traditions: Kloyo Peemi - Emmanuel Yartekwei Amugi Lartey ; Chapter 12. Baptism by Immersion in Latin American Evangelical Pentecostalism: The Santa Cruz Case - L. Wesley de Souza ; Chapter 13. Cremation Rites in Hinduism - Bhagirath Majmudar ; Part II. Religion in the History of Public Health ; Introduction ; Chapter 14. Christian Commitment to Public Well-Being: John Wesley's "Sensible Regimen" and "Primitive Physick" - Karen D. Scheib ; Chapter 15. US Public Health Reform Movements and the Social Gospel - John Blevins ; Chapter 16. Anthony Comstock: A Religious Fundamentalist's Negative Impact on Reproductive Health - Lynn Hogue and Carol Hogue ; Part III. Religion and Public Health across the Life Course ; Introduction ; Chapter 17. Religion and Reproductive Health - Laurie M. Gaydos and Patricia Z. Page ; Chapter 18. Religion and Physical Health from Childhood to Old Age - Ellen Idler ; Chapter 19. Religion, Spirituality, and Mental Health: Toward a Preventive Model Based on the Cultivation of Basic Human Values - Brendan Ozawa-de Silva ; Part IV. Religion and Public Health across the Globe ; Introduction ; Chapter 20. Religion and Global Public Health - Peter J. Brown ; Chapter 21. The Christian Medical Commission and the World Health Organization - Matthew Bersagel Braley ; Chapter 22. Ingenious Institutions: Religious Origins of Health and Development Organizations - Ellen Idler ; Chapter 23. Mapping Religious Resources for Health: The African Religious Health Assets Programme - James R. Cochrane, Deborah McFarland, and Gary R. Gunderson ; Part V. Religion and Three Public Health Challenges of Our Time ; Introduction ; Chapter 24. HIV/AIDS - Safiya George Dalmida and Sandra Thurman ; Chapter 25. Influenza Pandemic - Mimi Kiser and Scott Santibanez ; Chapter 26. Alzheimer's Disease and Dementias - Kenneth Hepburn and Theodore Johnson ; Conclusion: Religion's Role as a Social Determinant of Twenty-First-Century Health: ; Perspectives from the Disciplines - Paul Wolpe, Walter Burnett, and Ellen Idler ; Contributors ; Index

About the Author

Ellen Idler, Director of the Religion and Public Health Collaborative at Emory University, is Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Sociology, and holds a joint appointment in Epidemiology in the Rollins School of Public Health. She is a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America, and the author of Cohesiveness and Coherence: Religion and the Health of the Elderly and The Hidden Health Care System.

Reviews

This is a wonderful expansion of our understanding of religion in promoting health. Health is influenced by philosophy, skills, and knowledge, and for the majority of people philosophy is determined by religious beliefs, making religion one of the major determinants of health. This volume is a major addition to the understanding of the 'theology of health' and one of the most detailed explorations of the relationship of religion and health ever attempted. * Bill Foege, Senior Fellow in the Global Health Program, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation *

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