International and Global Perspectives on Spirituality, Religion, and Public Health

Liz Grant*, Doug Oman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract / Description of output

To date, most empirical research on religion/spirituality and health, like most other health research, has been conducted in the United States or other western countries. Earlier sections of this volume have explicated the public health releva nce of religion and spirituality with a corresponding western emphasis. But religion and spirituality are very much global phenomena, and their connections to health possess global relevance. To put religion/spirituality and public health issues in global context, this chapter undertakes four tasks. First, we set out the emerging relevance of religion/spirituality to global agencies and organizations such as the World Health Organization and the United Nations. Second, we briefly note conceptual frameworks articulated earlier in this volume that possess global relevance and are corroborated by findings from outside western societies. Third, to offer a ground-level view of how R/S and public health profoundly intersect, we offer six evidence-informed anecdotes or “snapshots” of such intersections: (1) Health assets and the global relevance of salutogenic approaches; (2) Religion as both a problem and a solution with regard to female genital mutilation; (3) Religion as a doorway to understanding multiple worldviews in the Ebola epidemic; (4) The complex interplay of religion and HIV in Africa; (5) Religion as a purveyor of persuasive health information, and a valuable collaborator; (6) Religion and the global need for palliative care. Finally, as a vivid guiding image that highlights some of the commonalities between the aspirations of many religious traditions and public health, we articulate the emerging concept of planetary health.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWhy Religion and Spirituality Matter for Public Health
Subtitle of host publicationEvidence, Implications, and Resources
EditorsDoug Oman
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9783319739663
ISBN (Print)9783319739656, 9783030088934
Publication statusPublished - 25 May 2018

Publication series

NameReligion, Spirituality and Health: A Social Scientific Approach
ISSN (Print)2627-6011
ISSN (Electronic)2627-602X

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Ebola
  • FGM
  • Global health
  • HIV
  • LMIC
  • Palliative care
  • Planetary health
  • Public health
  • Religion
  • Spirituality
  • WHO


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