Sloan explores links between religion, spirituality and health

Richard P. Sloan, professor of behavioral medicine in psychiatry at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital at the Columbia University Medical Center, will respond to the question, “Is Religion Good for Your Health?” at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26, in Graham Chapel. Sloan’s talk is free and open to the public.

In his 2006 book, “Blind Faith: The Unholy Alliance of Religion and Medicine,” Sloan makes compelling arguments for separating faith-based beliefs from a science-based approach to medicine.

He has explored purported links between religion, spirituality, and health as well as examined the empirical basis of the claim that religious activity promotes health. From his research, Sloan has identified significant ethical, practical and theological problems associated with integrating religion into standard medical procedures.

Sloan’s primary work focuses on identifying the autonomic nervous system mechanisms linking psychological risk factors such as depression, hostility and anxiety, to heart disease.

He earned both his master’s and doctoral degrees at New School for Social Research. He also serves as chief of the Division of Behavioral Medicine at the New York State Psychiatric Institute.