Spirituality, Health, and Health Disparities Symposium: Challenges and Opportunities for the Field (2014)

Date: 

Thursday, December 4, 2014, 8:00am to 5:00pm

Location: 

Joseph B. Martin Conference Center (77 Avenue Louis Pasteur, Boston)

This transdisciplinary symposium engaged post-docs and faculty from diverse disciplines to address the role of spirituality and religion in health and health disparities. Panels addressed challenges in measuring spirituality; biological pathways through which spirituality may operate to affect the etiology of disease; and the effect of spirituality across diverse communities on patients’ healthcare decision-making, treatment, and outcomes. This symposium laid the groundwork for future research collaborations across Harvard Catalyst institutions and across disciplines.

Click on the links in the agenda, below, to view VIDEO from the day.


7:30 – 8:00am
Networking Breakfast

8:00 – 8:15am
Welcome and Opening Remarks
Alexandra E. Shields, PhD
Director, Harvard/MGH Center on Genomics, Vulnerable Populations, and Health Disparities;
Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital;
Co-Director, Harvard Catalyst Health Disparities Research Program Associate Member, Broad Institute

8:15 – 9:15am
PANEL I: Defining Spiritual Experience: What is the Transformative Experience we are Trying to Measure? 
Diana Eck, PhD (Moderator)
Professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies;
Frederic Wertham Professor of Law and Psychiatry in Society, Harvard University

A Presence that Disturbs
Sr. Marie Chin, RSM
Coordinator/Administrator, Jamaica Region of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas;
Director of Formation, Jamaica Region of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas;
Vicar for Religious, Archdiocese of Kingston, Jamaica

From a Career in Medicine to a Ministry of Healing: Lessons Learned Along the Way
Rev. Gloria White-Hammond, MD
Co-Pastor of Bethel AME Church, Boston, MA; Executive Director of My Sister’s Keeper;
Retired Pediatrician from the South End Community Health Center

Healing & Wellbeing: A Buddhist Perspective
Ven. Tenzin Priyadarshi, PhD
Founding Director of The Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values, Massachusetts Institute of Technology;
Founding Director and President of the Prajnopaya Institute and Foundation

9:15 – 10:15am
PANEL II: What are the Greatest Challenges in Trying to Capture that TransformativeExperience in Self-Reported Survey Questions?
Kenneth I. Pargament, PhD (Moderator)
Professor of Psychology, Bowling Green State University;
Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry, Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Baylor College of Medicine

Measuring Spiritual Constructs in Studies of Health: Exploring the Role of God-Mediated Control
Neal Krause, PhD
Marshall H. Becker Collegiate Professor, Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health, University of Michigan

Measuring Religiosity
Harold G. Koenig, MD, MHSc
Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences and Associate Professor of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center

Measuring Ordinary Spiritual Experience in Diverse Populations using the Daily Spiritual ExperienceScale (DSES)
Lynn Underwood, PhD
President, Research Integration; Honorary Fellow, University of Liverpool;
Former Vice President, Fetzer Institute

Spiritual Struggle
Kenneth I. Pargament, PhD
Professor of Psychology, Bowling Green State University;
Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry, Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Baylor College of Medicine

10:15 - 10:35am
Discussion with Panels 1 and 2
Diana Eck & Alexandra E. Shields (Moderators)

10:35 - 10:45am 
Coffee Break

10:45am – 12:15pm
PANEL III: Spirituality and Measurable Disease Risk
Michelle A. Williams, ScD (Moderator)
Stephen B. Kay Family Professor of Public Health & Chair, Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health; Director, Harvard Catalyst Health Disparities Research Program

Spirituality in the Age of Epigenomics
Andrea Baccarelli, MD, PhD, MPH
Mark and Catherine Winkler Associate Professor of Environmental Epigenetics, Harvard School of Public Health

Gene Expression in the Inflammatory Pathway Elicited by Mindfulness Interventions
Towia Libermann, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School;
Director, Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Center Cancer Proteomics Core;
Director, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Genomics, Proteomics, Bioinformatics and Systems Biology Center

Spiritual Well-being, Religious Activity, and Cardiometabolic Risk: Results from the HispanicCommunity Health Study/Study of Latinos Sociocultural Ancillary Study
Carrie Brintz
Fifth-year doctoral student, Clinical Health Psychology, University of Miami

Mechanisms Linking Religion and Health: Exploring the Social Side of Religious Life
Neal Krause, PhD
Marshall H. Becker Collegiate Professor, Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health, University of Michigan

Panel III Discussion Session 

12:15 – 1:00pm
Networking Lunch

1:00 – 1:45pm
PANEL IV: Judging the Value of Spirituality Measures: Principal Investigators’ Perspectives
Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, PhD (Moderator)
Distinguished University Professor Emerita, Department of Epidemiology & Population Health,
Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva University;
Dorothy and William Manealoff Foundation and Molly Rosen Chair in Social Medicine Emerita;
Principal Investigator, Women's Health Initiative

Southern Community Cohort Study (SCCS)
Lisa B. Signorello, ScD
Senior Biomedical Scientist, Deputy Director, Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program,
National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Health

Black Women’s Health Study (BWHS)
Lynn Rosenberg, ScD
Professor of Epidemiology, Boston University School of Public Health;
Associate Director of the Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University

Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL)
Frank Penedo, PhD
Roswell Park Professor, Department of Medical Social Sciences, Northwestern University;
Psychosocial Investigator, HCHS/SOL; MPI, SOL Sociocultural Ancillary Study;
Leader, Cancer Control and Survivorship Research Program;
Director, Cancer Survivorship Institute, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center

Jackson Heart Study (JHS)
Herman Taylor, MD
Professor of Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine;
Director and Endowed Professor, Cardiovascular Research Institute, Morehouse School of Medicine

1:45 – 3:15pm
PANEL V: Religion, Spirituality, and Patients’ Healthcare Decision-Making
David Williams, PhD, MPH (Moderator)
Florence Sprague Norman and Laura SmartNorman Professor of Public Health, Harvard School of Public Health

Adolescent Substance Use: Equal Opportunity Disorders with Spiritual Solutions
John Knight, MD
Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School;
Associate Director for Medical Education, Harvard Medical School Division on Addiction;
Director and founder, Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research, Boston Children's Hospital

Narratives of Spirituality among African American Smokers: Implications for Pharmacotherapy Use
Alexandra E. Shields, PhD
Director, Harvard/MGH Center on Genomics, Vulnerable Populations, and Health Disparities;
Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital;
Co-Director, Harvard Catalyst Health Disparities Research Program

Religious Beliefs and Stage at Presentation in a Bi-Racial Sample of Patients Newly Diagnosed with Colon Cancer
George Fitchett, DMin, PhD
Professor and Director of Research, Department of Religion, Health, and Human Values, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois;
Certified chaplain and pastoral supervisor

Spirituality and Disparities in End of Life Medical Decision-Making and Care
Tracy Balboni, MD, MPH
Associate Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, Harvard Medical School;
Associate Physician, Radiation Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Panel V Discussion Session

3:15 – 4:30pm
Developing a Future Research Agenda (Break-Out Groups and Report Back)

4:30 – 5:00pm
Building Research on Spirituality, Health, and Health Disparities Across Cohorts: Demonstration of R|S Atlas Database & Announcement of Pilot Program
Alexandra E. Shields, PhD

 

This Symposium was sponsored by:

With generous support from: