Faith, Health, and Healing in African American Life

Faith, Health, and Healing in African American Life

by Stephanie Y. Mitchem

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Faith, Health, and Healing in African American Life by Stephanie Y. Mitchem

Black Americans are more likely than whites to die of cancer and heart disease, more likely to get diabetes and asthma, and less likely to get preventive care and screening. Some of this greater morbidity results from education, income level, and environment, as well as access to healthcare. Yet, even the traditional medical model does not always allow for a holistic approach that takes into account the body, the mind, the spirit, the family, and the community.

This book offers a better understanding of the varieties of religiously based approaches to healing and altrnative models of healing and health found in black communities in the United States. Contributors address the communal aspects of faith and health and explore the contexts in which individuals make choices about their health, the roles institutions play in shaping these decisions, and the practices individuals engage in when seeking better health or coping with the health they have. By paying attention to the role of faith and spirit, the book offers a fuller sense of the varieities of ways black health and healthcare are perceived and addressed.

Community and religion-based initiatives have emerged as one key way to address the health challenges found in the African American community. In cities such as Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas, and Oakland, residents organize exercise groups, teach one another how to cook with healthy ingredients, and encourage neighbors to get regular checkups. Churches have become key sites for health education, screening, and testing. Another set of responses to the challenge of black health and healthcare in the United States come from those who emphasize the body as a whole—body, mind, soul, and spirit, often drawing on religious traditions such as Islam and African-based religions such as Spiritism, Santeria,Vodun (a.k.a. Voodoo), and Candomblé. Understanding these issues and approaches to care is essential to combating the problems. This unique volume sheds light on areas that are often overlooked.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781573567626
Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date: 08/30/2008
Series: Religion, Health, and Healing Series
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 427 KB

About the Author

Stephanie Y. Mitchem is Associate Professor, University of South Carolina. She is the author of African American Women Tapping Power and Spiritual Wellness, Introducing Womanist Theology, and numerous articles and book chapters.

Emilie M. Townes is Andrew W. Mellon Professor of African-American Religion and Theology, Yale Divinity School. She is the author or editor of several books including Breaking the Fine Rain of Death: African American Health Care and A Womanist Ethic of Care, Embracing the Spirit: Womanist Perspectives on Hope, Salvation, and Transformation, In a Blaze of Glory: Womanist Spirituality as Social Witness and others, as well as journal articles, book chapters, conference papers, and other publications.

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