April 1, 2015 – Dr. Tina Harris

Date: April 1

Time: 12:15-1:15

Location: Tate Reception Hall

Speaker: Dr. Tina Harris, UGA Professor of Communication Studies

Topic: A Religious Framework as a Lens for Understanding the Intersection of Genetics, Health, and Disease 

Details: At times research and faith intersect. Dr. Harris has done a study where such an intersection of faith and her research has occurred. This talk will focus on some of her findings. Below is an abstract of the talk.

Religious frameworks and beliefs play a critical role in how many people choose to manage many life issues. To that end, people use their belief systems to make sense of the relationship between genes and disease. The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which this is true across racial groups. Our findings found minimal differences between racial groups; however, there were two observable patterns that are worthy of discussion. First, because participants were from the South, it was not surprising that Blacks and Whites ascribe to a religious belief system to make sense of their lived experiences. This pattern is reflective of the religious culture that is an integral part of the South and our identity as a nation. A second noteworthy finding is participants believe a relationship exists between health status, genes, and religious behaviors and also recognize that positive health behaviors must also be adopted as a means for staving off disease. In some cases, however, there was a belief that health issues could dissolve or disappear as a result of certain religious behaviors such as prayer.


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