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A Forum: Role of Faith in Medicine

February 12, 2009

Three experts--the Rev. George Handzo, a chaplain with the HealthCare Chaplaincy of New York City; Dr. Andrew Newberg, a radiologist and psychiatrist at the University of Pennsylvania; and Dr. Richard Sloan, a psychiatrist at Columbia University--discuss the role that belief should play in science.

What role does religion play in health, and health in religion?: Dr. Richard Sloan: Spirituality and religion play a substantial role in helping patients overcome discomfort. But I don't think that it's any business of medicine, and I think it's extremely difficult for science to study. I am greatly supportive of the role of health-care chaplains for patients who have spiritual or religious concerns. But I don't think it's the doctor's job to be involved in that, other than to refer to a professional.

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