Irwin Gelman, PhD, a cantor at Congregation Beth Abraham, speaks to medical students about spiritiuality in his role as a member of a panel of area faith leaders and representatives.
David M. Holmes, MD, director of the Jacobs School’s Global Medicine Program, speaks to students during the Spirituality in Medicine seminar.
Members of the seminar’s panel, which represents 14 different faiths, take turns sharing their thoughts on spirituality with the medical students.
Third-year medical students break up into small group discussions to talk about various aspects of spirituality in health care during the seminar in the Sol Messinger, MD ’57 Active Learning Center in the Jacobs School building.
Published January 6, 2020
Third-year medical students took part in a seminar designed to enhance their awareness and understanding of different types of spirituality.
The Network of Religious Communities facilitates proactive collaboration among Buffalo and Western New York religious communities: denominations, congregations and religious organizations. Its executive director, the Rev. Dr. G. Stanford Bratton, works with Jacobs School leaders to organize the seminar each year.
The seminar was part of a two-week, required intersession course directed by Daniel W. Sheehan, MD, PhD, associate dean for medical curriculum.
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.
At the seminar, students had the opportunity to talk to Buffalo-area faith leaders and representatives from a variety of religious and spiritual traditions.
Despite increased use of technology in health care, 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,” says David M. Holmes, MD, director of the Global Medicine Program in the Department of Family Medicine.
Spirituality can affect longevity, mental health and life satisfaction, medical decision-making and chronic pain. It can also improve the doctor-patient relationship.
The seminar focused on teaching students to be able to:
According to a 2015 report from the National Institutes 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.”
Community leaders from the following faiths participated:
The two-day seminar was conducted Dec. 17 and 18 in the Sol Messinger, MD ’57 Active Learning Center on the first floor of the Jacobs School building. Half the class attended the first day and the other half attended the second day.