Faith and the Public's Health Open Access

Renahan-White, Anita (2012)

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In the following thesis "Faith and the Public's Health," I detail findings from
research and interviews I conducted from March 2011 through February 2012. I
identified more than 70 stakeholders; conducted 16 interviews (in person and on the
phone); synthesized my notes from stakeholder interviews; attended four meetings; read
books, peer-reviewed journals, and internet articles; and scanned the environment in
order to supplement the content for my thesis.
During the initial phase of my research, I developed the following thesis
statement: "Should there be a connection between faith and the public's health in the City
of Decatur, and if so, what could this relationship look like?" As I attended meetings,
conducted interviews, and reviewed the literature, I discovered numerous examples of
cooperation between the faith and public health communities across the country and
around the world that demonstrate the value of, and need for, this connection. People are
excited and motivated to work at the unique intersection of faith and public health. There
are many success stories. There are barriers to overcome, but these barriers are not
insurmountable. Finally, people continue to hold onto hope and work together with
vision, passion, and zeal. Therefore, my conclusion is, "Yes, there should be a connection
between faith and the public's health in the City of Decatur."
However, the second part of my thesis question still remains, "What could this
relationship between the faith and public health communities look like?" To this end, I
would like to continue my work in order to address this question. I believe it would be
exciting to secure grant funding in order to conduct a feasibility study pertaining to the
creation of a "City of Decatur Faith and Public Health Coalition." In exploring the
opportunity to create this coalition, I would seek to engage the stakeholders listed in my
original thesis proposal: City of Decatur churches, Columbia Theological Seminary,
Decatur City Services, the DeKalb County Health Department, the Housing Authority of
the City of Decatur, Decatur Cooperative Ministry, Decatur Emergency Assistance
Ministry, the United Way, and others as suggested by the stakeholders engaged.

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