Media Advisory: Jacobs School to host religious leaders for seminar on spirituality and health

Release Date: December 13, 2019

“Medical research has demonstrated that faith and religious practices often have positive effects on one’s health and well-being. ”
David Holmes, MD, director, Global Medicine Program
University at Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The link between spiritual and physical or mental health is as old as medicine itself. Not only can spirituality be an element in the way patients face chronic illness, it can affect well-being across the life span.

To help enhance medical students’ awareness and understanding of different types of spirituality, the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo, in partnership with the Network of Religious Communities, will sponsor a two-day seminar on spirituality in health care Dec. 17-18.

The seminar is part of a two-week, required intersession course for third-year medical students directed by Daniel Sheehan, MD, PhD, associate dean for medical curriculum.

At the seminar, students will have the opportunity to talk to Buffalo-area faith leaders from a variety of religious and spiritual traditions. Half the class will attend the first day, the other half will attend the second day.

Although health care has become increasingly technological, medical schools in the past decade have begun to focus on the patient from a more holistic point of view that takes into account all aspects of his or her existence.

“Medical research has demonstrated that faith and religious practices often have positive effects on one’s health and well-being,” said David Holmes MD, director of the Global Medicine Program in the Department of Family Medicine in the Jacobs School.

Among the factors spirituality can affect are longevity, mental health and life satisfaction, medical decision making and chronic pain. It can also improve the doctor-patient relationship.

According to a 2015 report from the National Institute of Health, awareness and attention to a patient’s cultural identity, including language and religion, can and should be addressed at every stage of life.

The report states that awareness can reduce disparities in health care and enhance clinical care, as it “enables providers to deliver services that are respectful of and responsive to the health beliefs, practices and cultural and linguistic needs of diverse patients.

Where: Active Learning classroom, first floor, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, 955 Main Street, Buffalo, N.Y. 14203

When: 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Dec. 17 and 18

What: “Spirituality in Healthcare Seminar.” Medical students will talk with representatives from different religious denominations to gain perspective on patients’ diverse spiritual beliefs.

Who: Participating faith leaders will include: Dr. Nasir Khan, from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community; Dr. Parisima Kazemi Sobhani, representing Bahá'í ; Ray Ball and Dr. David Williams, representing Buddhism; Ethel Baker from Church of Christ Scientist; Dr. Richard Wright and Dr. Steve Free from Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; Dr. Dilip Sinha, representing Hinduism; Dr. Bayram Arman, representing Islam; and Darryl Ivy, from Jehovah Witness.

Also Rabbi Adam Scheldt, Rabbi Alex Lazarus-Klein and Cantor Irwin Gilman representing Judaism; Michael Martin and Pete Hill from the Native American community; Rev. Jeff Carter, Rev. Amos Acree and Jeffrey Thompson representing Pentecostal (African American) and Protestant Christian; Rev. Michelle Buhite, representing Religious Humanism; Rev. Francis X. Mazur and Dr. Sarah Abdelsyed, representing Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christian; and Leo Singh, representing Sikhism.

On-site contact: David Holmes, MD, director, Global Medicine Program, UB, 716-829-5838

Media Contact Information

Barbara Branning
Media Relations
Tel: 716-645-6969