Table of Contents

Foreword / James W. Curran.
Preface. Religious literacy is a twenty-first-century skill / Ellen Idler and Laurie Patton.
Religion: the invisible social determinant / Ellen Idler.
Part 1. Public health in the practices of the world's faith traditions..
Refuge meditation in contemporary Buddhism / Geshe Lobsang Tenzin Negi and Brendan Ozawa-de Silva.
Taiji (T̕ai-chi) in Taoism / Eric Reinders.
Veiling in Islam: a Western feminist outsider's perspective / Kathryn M. Yount.
Vegetarianism in Seventh-day Adventism / George H. Grant and Jose Montenegro.
The Eucharist in Roman Cathoilicism / Phillip M. Thompson.
Congregational hymn singing in mainline Protestantism / Don E. Saliers.
Hatsumōde, the visitation of Shinto shrines: religion and culture in the Japanese context / Chikako Ozawa-de Silva.
Fasting in Islam / Abdullahi An-Naʼim.
Circumcision in Judaism: the sign of the covenant / Don Seeman.
Puberty rites in African religious traditions: kloyo peemi / Emmanuel Yartekwei Amugi Lartey.
Baptism by immersion in Latin American Pentecostalism: the Santa Cruz case / L. Wesley de Souza.
Cremation rites in Hinduism: death, after death, and thereafter / Bhagirath Majmudar.
Part 2. Religion in the history of public health..
Christian commitment to public well-being: John Wesley's "sensible regimen" and Primitive physick / Karen D. Scheib.
US public health reform movements and the social gospel / John Blevins.
Anthony Comstock: a religious fundamentalist's negative impact on reproductive health / Lynn Hogue and Carol Hogue.
Part 3. Religion and public health across the life course..
Religion and reproductive health / Laura M. Gaydos and Patricia Z. Page.
Religion and physical health from childhood to old age / Ellen Idler.
Religion, spirituality, and mental health: toward a preventive model based on the cultivation of basic human values / Brendan Ozawa-de Silva.
Part 4. Religion and public health across the globe..
Religion and global health / Peter J. Brown.
The Christian Medical Commission and the World Health Organization / Matthew Bersagel Braley.
Ingenious institutions: religious origins of health and development organizations / Ellen Idler.
Mapping religious resources for health: the African Religious Health Assets Programme / James R. Cochrane, Deborah McFarland, and Gary R. Gunderson.
Part 5. Religion and three public health challenges of our time..
HIV/AIDS / Safiya George Dalmida and Sandra Thurman.
Influenza pandemic / Mimi Kiser and Scott Santibañez.
Alzheimer's disease and dementias / Kenneth Hepburn and Theodore M. Johnson II.
Conclusion: Religion's role as a social determinant of twenty-first-century health: perspectives from the disciplines / Paul Root Wolpe, Walter Burnett, and Ellen Idler. Religious institutions and public health institutions seek to improve the well-being of their communities, many times with aligned interests but occasionally at odds with each other. This book explores for the first time the intersection of these two social institutions. Chapter 1 argues that, while public health professionals and the general public are increasingly aware that social factors such as education, income inequality, and experiences of discrimination powerfully affect population health, there has been little awareness of religion as a social determinant of health. In this work, scholars in the social sciences, medicine, law, nursing, public health, and religion take a global, historical, and life course approach to address this omission. Chapters in Part I describe religious practices of ordinary people in the world's faith traditions that provide daily, weekly, annual, and life course streams of influence on the body, mind, and spirit. Part II describes historical moments when religious institutions became a force in public health, not always for good. Part III argues that the influence of religion on physical and mental health begins before birth and continues throughout the life course. Part IV demonstrates the influence of religion and religious institutions on the health of populations around the globe. Part V looks closely at religion's role in addressing the ongoing epidemic threats of HIV/AIDS, pandemic influenza, and Alzheimer's disease. This multidisciplinary outline of the intersection of two powerful social institutions completes the picture of the social determinants of health by including religion, which has until now been an invisible determinant.