Dr. Scott Morris Discusses Church's Role in Transforming Health Care
In Beyond Reform: Three Ways to Transform Health Care Without Dividing the Church, Dr. Scott Morris does a wonderful job of succinctly summarizing the reason churches should be involved in health care and three ways to do so. His remarks are a wonderful testimony to the importance of not only churches' role in health care, but the importance of health ministry programs in general.
Regain the Body: Dr. Morris notes that "we believe that no matter what we do to our bodies doctors can use technology to fix them when they break, or when we break them." At NEHM, we often talk about the difference between healing and curing. The medical community is concerned with curing. Churches have a unique ability to address healing (regardless of physical recovery).
Rethink Prevention: Hospitals with church names that no longer belong to denominations? We know a bit about that in the Episcopal Church. Dr. Morris's comments remind me also of testimony from Dr. Harold Koenig:
“There are few places where people of all ages (young, middle-aged, and elderly), all socioeconomic levels, and all ethnic backgrounds congregate on a regular basis as happens in religious communities. This makes religious organizations an ideal route by which to provide health screening, health education, and other disease detection and prevention services.
A few studies have shown that health education programs in churches can affect diet, weight, exercise, and other health behaviors, and this is particularly true for minority communities who often do not have easy access to such information or to preventative healthcare services... The public should also be taught how to talk with their clergy about initiating a health programs within their local religious congregation.”
Reclaim Death: Again, Dr. Morris: "We have allowed a relentless application of technology to prolong life at all costs." How can we as members of the church assist our communities in changing a culture where death is viewed as a failure of the medical community instead of a natural part of our life process?
The essay by Dr. Morris is worth a read in its entirety.
Marge Hanna Zeig, NEHM Diocesan Liaison in the Diocese of Pennsylvania, recently blogged her experience at the Westberg Symposium, an event presented in conjunction with the Church Health Center.