The Institute for Public Health and Faith Collaborations is an initiative of the Interfaith Health Program of Emory University designed to train teams of faith and health leaders to address the most challenging health disparities in their communities. For some, that issue may be mental health; for others, HIV/AIDS; for others, teen pregnancy. To date, seventy-eight teams, 400 leaders, from twenty-four states have strengthened and clarified their commitments to action aimed at tackling and under-girding social, behavioral, and environmental determinants of health. This network of leaders forms a unique reservoir of community-based knowledge and practice. The four-day, leadership intensive that is built on and shaped by this unique wisdom is more than training. It is a transformative learning experience and connection to passionate leaders working for change. It is part of a movement.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made an important investment in working with IHP to support the development of this capacity-building model. Since 2002 we have held nine Institutes graduating almost 400 leaders. The Institute is a model that thrived when alumni teams took the lead in sponsoring regional Institutes – Los Angeles, Chicago, Milwaukee, Memphis, and Pennsylvania. In addition, the State Health Department of Tennessee sponsored a statewide Institute to train twelve teams in all of its non-metro health districts to advance faith and health partnerships. Wheat Ridge Ministries and Methodist Health Care Foundation have sponsored teams by providing scholarships. Beginning in 2009, ten of these 78 sites have joined IHP in work supported by HHS and the CDC to develop model practices in reaching vulnerable, at-risk, and minority populations during pandemic and seasonal influenza preparedness and response efforts. The IHP welcomes partners, sponsors, and supporters interested in engaging a competent network of community-based leaders and or collaborating to replicate the Institute in a select geographic area and focus on particular priority health issues and important health disparity needs.
A Remarkable History
The conceptual development of the Institute was launched in April of 2002 when thirty five diverse religious and health leaders were convened for a two and a half day design meeting at The Carter Center. A curriculum design team from Vanderbilt University with background in health promotion, leadership and organizational development, and education was selected to work with IHP in the development of the curriculum. IHP collaborated with an evaluator from Emory to track teams following their Institute experience to learn about their implementation plans, how the Institute was of benefit to them, and about faith and health collaborations. Many of the teams returned to their communities and
- Recruited more leaders to participate in their partnerships
- Leveraged new resources for faith and health work
- Engaged in policy related work on housing, school issues, and legislation on funding faith-based organizations.
Discover more about the impact of this work in two journal articles that describe the evaluation findings:
- Kegler, M., Hall, S., & Kiser, M. Facilitators, Challenges, and Collaborative Activities in Faith and Health Partnerships to Address Health Disparities. Health Education & Behavior, Vol. 37 (5): October 2010, p. 665-679.
- Kegler, M., Kiser, M., & Hall, S. (2007). Evaluation Findings from the Institute for Public Health and Faith Collaborations. Public Health Reports, 122(6): 793-802.