The Institute for Spirituality and Health

The ISH brings together scholars, healthcare professionals, religious leaders, and the public to learn how spirituality can impact health and healing. The Institute engages in education, research, and direct services. ISH is looking for help in researching and disseminating knowledge in areas of key interest in the intersection of spirituality and well-being.

Program Development:

1. Religious and Spiritual Dimensions of Disorders of Consciousness

ISH is working with TIRR Memorial Hermann to better understand the spiritual and religious dimensions of disorders of consciousness (DOC). Students interested in exploring this area would perform a literature review in order to become acquainted with the field, and would also work with the research team to perform, transcribe, and/or analyze interviews and surveys given to patients’ families with the ultimate goal of shedding more light on a little-studied area within the wider DOC domain.

2. ISH Podcast

ISH is in the early stages of developing a podcast that focuses on a wide array of themes within the field of spirituality and health. Students would work closely with ISH Director of Ethnography & Workplace Chaplaincy, Susana McCollom, to produce content and get it live. This process includes researching potential topics and “guests” to explore/interview, generating scripts and outlines for episodes, scheduling times to record, mixing and producing the content, and finally promoting the podcast to the wider community. This project may also include a media research component, where the student would work to better understand the historical significance of podcasts as new media, which may guide ISH’s understanding of the most effective methods to use.

Open-Ended Research Projects:

3. Spirituality and Health Research Dissemination

A primary goal of the Institute is to educate the public about the links between spirituality and health, but it is not always clear what the most effective avenues for dissemination are. This project focuses on investigating ways for relaying information about important public health issues and then creating examples for distribution. Infographics, videos, articles, visual and creative arts, etc. should be considered as potential media.

4. Blog Series

This project involves in-depth research on topics of interest that are related to ISH’s mission and writing this research up in blog posts to make the findings accessible to the public. Projects culminate with a public program related to the blog series. Past topics have included near death experience, the healing power of music, and the links between spirituality and various medical diagnoses. Students could explore perspectives from art, history, literature, philosophy, and other humanities disciplines.
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