Institute for Spirituality and Health

Cierra Duckworth: The Role of the Faith Community After Harvey

Hurricane Harvey was a devastatingly intense hurricane which made landfall on August 24, 2017, destroying homes, families, and cities as it tore through southern Texas. The hurricane was the first major storm to make landfall after a 12-year streak, leaving over 40 inches of rain in its path. Thousands of civilians were forced out of their homes due to flooding, disastrous property damage, and fallen infrastructure; they were sent to local community centers and churches, which were operating as shelters during the time of the storm.

Religious and Spiritual Dimensions of Disorders of Consciousness

Patients with traumatic brain injury are sometimes diagnosed with Disorders of Consciousness, which encompass comatose, vegetative, and minimally conscious states. Over the course of the last semester, I interviewed religious practitioners and academics to explore what religious traditions have to say about brain damage and the implications it may have on personhood in a medical context. Using the spatial metaphor of being “in there” to structure these conversations, my goal was to aid interdisciplinary communication and explore the religious significance of disorders of consciousness.