Examining The Spiritual Determinant Of Health – Interfaith Health and Hope Coalition Prayer Event


by Dennis Archambault

“Social determinants of health”  are factors that impact our ability to achieve health and well-being. The “spiritual determinant” is one seldom mentioned among common determinants like housing, public safety, and fresh food distribution. Yet in the holistic balance of wellness, spirituality plays a key role.

Medical scientists and holistic health proponents have long associated health and spirituality. Steven P. Kliewer, MS DMin, LPC, whose professional vocations are in both ministerial and medicine fields, addresses the spiritual determinant in his work. As executive director of Wallowa Valley Center for Wellness in Oregon, Dr. Kliewer is the author of Creative Use of Diversity in the Local Church, and was the primary author of Healthcare and Spirituality, a basic text for health care providers.

He will speak on “Spirituality as a Social Determinant of health” at the 2015 Interfaith Health & Hope Coalition Prayer Event on Thursday, September 24, at Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church, 2080 W Grand Boulevard, in Detroit. Registration is free, but attendees are asked to register. Call Ron Beford at 810-923-6940 or email rbeford@yahoo.com.

The program will review the classic concept of determinants of health, then explore the implications of spirituality. The program will look at spirituality as a determinant, as well as the protective and risk factors inherent in the spiritual domain. While relevant for professionals, Dr. Kliewer’s comments, and those of the panelists, will be relevant to all who share an interest in spirituality and wellness.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has identified “eight dimensions” of health, according to Dr. Kliewer. “There are emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, the occupational, physical, social, and spiritual dimensions (http://www.samhsa.gov/wellness-initiative/eight-dimensions-wellness)

“These dimensions are now considered as critical as the traditional social determinants of health, and open new opportunities for working with patients in meaningful ways.  So we can now add a new layer of richness to the traditional concept of social determinants, which include economic stability, education, social and community context, health and health care and neighborhood.”

The Interfaith Health & Hope Coalition is comprised of faith leaders and health professionals who promote access to health care and wellness through the health ministries of faith constituencies, as well as promoting the integration of spirituality in the caregiving process. The Coalition sponsors localized “circles of care,” which are based in churches or health systems, but generally connect health resources in communities through faith networks.

Read Dr. Kliewer’s article on Examining The Spiritual Determinant Of Health