Robert Joseph Taylor, MSW, Ph.D., is the Sheila Feld Collegiate Professor of Social Work and the Associate Dean for Social Work Research at the University of Michigan. He is a Faculty Associate with the Program for Research on Black Americans at the Institute for Social Research. He is also a faculty associate with the Center for Afro-American and African Studies and affiliated with the Center for Research on Race, Religion and Health at the Institute for Social Research. He is currently on the editorial board of the Journal of Marriage and the Family. Professor Taylor has published extensively in two major areas (informal social support networks and religious participation). His work on the informal networks investigates the role of family, friends, and church members as sources of social support to adult and elderly Black Americans. His work in the Sociology of Religion investigates the demographic correlates of religious participation among black adults and black elderly. He has been Principal Investigator of several grants from the National Institute on Aging which examine the role of religion in the lives of Black and White elderly adults. He has been Co-Principal Investigator with James Jackson on several grants from the National Institute of Mental Health on the correlates of mental health and mental illness among black Americans. He is Co-Principal Investigator for the National Institute on Aging grant, "Church-based Assistance and Older Blacks." He has edited two books Family Life in Black America (1997) and Aging in Black America (1993) with James S. Jackson and Linda M. Chatters.
Linda M. Chatters, Ph.D. holds a joint position as Associate Professor in the Department of Health Behavior & Health Education at the School of Public Health and the School of Social Work. She is also a Faculty Associate with the Program for Research on Black Americans, Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. The major focus of Dr. Chatters' research is the study of adult development and aging as it relates to the mental and physical health status and social functioning of older persons in a variety of social contexts (i.e., the family, church, and community). A particular emphasis of this work has been the investigation of various dimensions of religious involvement among the African American population. She is also interested in assessing the independent contributions of relevant religious, personal, and social status factors on well-being among elderly and non-elderly populations. She is Principal Investigator for the National Institute on Aging grant, "Church-based Assistance and Older Blacks." Dr. Chatters is the author of "Religion and health: Public health research and practice" which appeared in the Annual Review of Public Health (2000).
Jeff Levin, Ph.D., M.P.H., an epidemiologist and former medical school professor, is the pioneering scientist whose research beginning in the 1980s helped to create the field of religion and health. He left a successful academic career in 1997 to devote his full-time efforts to writing, research, and consulting. He was the first scientist to systematically review and critique the empirical literature on the health effects of religious involvement. His research has been funded by several NIH grants, and he also has received funding from private sources, including the American Medical Association and the Institute of Noetic Sciences. Dr. Levin has served as chairman of the NIH Working Group on Quantitative Methods in Alternative Medicine, as president of the International Society for the Study of Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine, and as an editorial board member of several peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, The Gerontologist, Journal of Religious Gerontology, and Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. He has authored over 130 scholarly publications, and over 120 conference presentations and invited lectures and addresses, mostly on the role of religion in physical and mental health and aging. He has published four other books: God, Faith, and Health: Exploring the Spirituality-Healing Connection, Religion in Aging and Health: Theoretical Foundations and Methodological Frontiers, Faith Matters: A Festschrift in Honor of Dr. David B. Larson, and Essentials of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. He is a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America and lives in rural Kansas.