Addressing Health Needs of an Aging Society Through Medical-Religious Partnerships: What Do Clergy and Laity Think?
Purpose: This article reports on the interest within the religious community in a medical-religious partnership model designed to address some of the health challenges communities face as the population continues to age and become more diverse. Design and Methods: A geographically and religiously diverse group of 183 clergy who were attending a continuing education program on theology and preaching were invited to complete a 16-item survey asking about their interest in working with hospitals
... offer health-related programs and activities in their congregations. Another sample, this one consisting of 524 individuals from a religiously diverse group of congregations in Florida, was also asked about their interest in having health programs offered in their congregations. Results: Of the 54% of clergy who completed the surveys, 72% said it was "very important" and 28% said it was "somewhat important" to actively address the health needs of their congregations. Support for specific programs was also strong, with at least 80% reporting it was very likely they would support screenings, preventive interventions, and health-related classes in their congregations. Strong support was also found among the laity surveyed, with 85% expressing interest in faith-based health programs and 45% reporting they would be interested in helping organize and promote such programs. Implications: Health care systems and other organizations interested in addressing health needs of older adults can look to religious institutions for assistance in providing the information and support patients and family members need to prevent or minimize the impact of chronic illnesses.