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American Public Health Association
133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition
December 10-14, 2005
Philadelphia, PA
APHA 2005
4012.0: Tuesday, December 13, 2005 - 9:15 AM

Abstract #117954

Measuring success: The ethics of faith-based health collaborations

Peter P. Moschovis, Univ. of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, Univ. of Ill at Chicago SPH, 6127 N. Leader Ave., Chicago, IL 60646, 773-575-4114, peterm@uchicago.edu

In the past decade, a growing interest in the delivery of health interventions through faith-based organizations has prompted extensive research and program development in this area. New federally-funded programs provide incentives for religious organizations to explore health service ministries ("faith-based programs"). At the same time, many public health workers have attempted to harness the social capital of faith communities to accomplish their own goals ("faith-placed programs"). This intersection of faith communities with the health professions highlights several potential areas of tension in measuring success, given the very different intrinsic goals of these two partners. In this paper, I explore these tensions and present a model for constructive collaboration.

After reviewing the motivation for faith-based health programs, I highlight several of the core values of the two traditions. While the measure of a faith community's success is the redemption of the soul, public health's goal is the health of a population. Stemming from these perspectives, two extreme views might emerge: the strict separationist, in which the well-being of the body and soul are seen as entirely dissimilar goals; and the utilitarian/instrumentalist, where faith and its institutions are treated solely as instruments for attaining health.

I briefly describe some practical scenarios where these tensions might arise, and then present a model for addressing these concerns, one that rejects both separationism and instrumentalism in favor of an ethic of mutual respect, learning, and humility. Under this new paradigm, a successful program preserves the integrity of both institutions, truly benefiting the community it serves.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, the participant should be able to

Keywords: Faith Community, Ethics

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

I wish to disclose that I have NO financial interests or other relationship with the manufactures of commercial products, suppliers of commercial services or commercial supporters.

Faith And Health Practices In Institutional Settings: Evaluation And Accountability

The 133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition (December 10-14, 2005) of APHA