News Release: School of Public Health

Apr. 22,  2009

Emory Hosts Religion and Public Health Research Symposium

News Article ImageJames W. Curran, MD, MPH, dean, Rollins School of Public Health, will be among the panelists at the symposium.

The Religion and Public Health Collaborative at Emory University will host a symposium April 30 showcasing faculty and student research at the intersection of religion and health.

The research symposium will be held from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Emory Conference Center located at 1615 Clifton Road in Atlanta. It is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. To RSVP, email

The Religion and Public Health Collaborative research symposium includes more than three dozen poster presentations that represent past and present research conducted by interdisciplinary Emory research teams.

Emory President James W. Wagner, PhD, will present opening remarks, and Provost Earl Lewis, PhD, will lead a panel discussion on religion and public health. The panelists include:

  • James W. Curran, MD, MPH, dean, Rollins School of Public Health:
    Curran is a renowned HIV/AIDS researcher and was part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention research team that responded to initial outbreak of HIV/AIDS in the U.S. in the 1980s.
  • Laurie Patton, PhD, director, Center for Faculty Development and Excellence, and professor of religion:
    Patton's teaching and research focuses on interpretation of early Indian ritual and narrative, comparative mythology, and literary theory in the study of religion.
  • Claire E. Sterk, PhD, senior vice provost for academic affairs, and professor of behavioral science and health education, Rollins School of Public Health:
    Sterk's primary research interests are addiction/mental health and HIV/AIDS, with a focus on women's issues, health disparities, and community-based behavioral interventions.
  • Lisa Tedesco, PhD, dean, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and professor, behavioral science and health education, Rollins School of Public Health:
    Tedesco is working to establish training programs that partner researchers in schools of medicine with those in schools of public health, as well as with a diverse range of other partners.

As part of the Emory Strategic Plan's theme of "Confronting the Human Condition and the Human Experience," the Religion and Public Health Collaborative (RPHC) is a foundational sub-initiative of the Religions and the Human Spirit Initiative. The RPHC is committed to an interdisciplinary and interfaith approach to the exploration of the intersection of religion and public health in two major areas: religion in partnership with the community (as it can improve population health); and religion in tension with public health (in reducing macro-political conflict affecting public health). Its overall goal is to develop innovative and transformative theories and practices that can be shared locally, nationally and globally.

For more information, visit


The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service. Its components include schools of medicine, nursing, and public health; Yerkes National Primate Research Center; the Emory Winship Cancer Institute; and Emory Healthcare, the largest, most comprehensive health system in Georgia. The Woodruff Health Sciences Center has a $2.3 billion budget, 17,000 employees, 2,300 full-time and 1,900 affiliated faculty, 4,300 students and trainees, and a $4.9 billion economic impact on metro Atlanta.

Learn more about Emory’s health sciences:
Twitter: @emoryhealthsci

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