Further Background – Student Survey

This page provides additional background information of possible interest to student leaders or others who are circulating our invitation email to graduate students in the 52 US-based Schools and Colleges of Public Health.


Debate currently exists in the Public Health community about whether and how Public Health education should address the substantial knowledge about religious and spiritual (R/S) factors. At present, many students graduate without knowing that findings about spiritual and religious factors have been discussed in articles in numerous scientific journals, such as the Annual Review of Public Health (2000, 2007), as well as in two volumes of Oxford’s Handbook of Religion and Health (2001, 2012).  These publications identified more than 2100 published empirical studies of religion/spirituality and health in the 21st century. Many other health professions have made substantial progress in addressing spiritual/religious factors in curricula – for example, about two thirds of all US medical schools address religious/spiritual factors in coursework. Similarly, recommended core competencies in R/S factors exist in psychiatry, and there is a movement to establish competencies in R/S factors in psychology (Vieten et al, 2013). We are a group of 10 concerned public health faculty based at UC Berkeley. To carry out this project, we have received funding from the John Templeton Foundation.

Our survey aims to understand whether and how R/S factors have been addressed in your Public Health education. This is a national survey: We are seeking to understand patterns of teaching about R/S factors across all Schools and Colleges of Public Health in the US. We very much hope that your school/college can be represented.

We expect that completing the survey will require between 5 and 10 minutes. It contains 13 questions total. All responses will be anonymous. The survey can only be taken once from each computer (IP address). Those who complete the survey will be directed to this Viewscreen project website (http://viewscreen.berkeley.edu) where they will have an opportunity to register to receive information about survey findings. We are also conducting a parallel survey of leaders (i.e., deans) of US-based Schools and Colleges of Public Health. Findings from both surveys, along with recommendations, will be published in our 2014 report. Questions may be addressed to Professor Doug Oman c/o Viewscreen@berkeley.edu.


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