Meet our Faith and Health Grant Cohort Leaders
July 19, 2022
Prof. Anthony Dissen
Stockton University – Tenured Instructor of Health Science
Community and Public Health Cohort
I applied [to be a cohort leader] because I heavily subscribe to the servant leadership model. To be a leader is to be of service to others, and that is a central principle of my personal and professional life. I hope to be able to serve, and through this service, learn more about how I can be a more effective guide and resource to others in this field. It has been a real joy to not only learn more about the fantastic professionals and leaders we have in this group but to see the genuine desire amongst every member for everyone else to be successful. So often academia can be plagued with power struggles, so it is beautiful to see everyone involved be so genuinely interested in helping their fellow cohort member. My goal is to provide the support and encouragement needed to help all members of my cohort find great success in their project! All of the cohort members have designed fantastic projects through this grant, and my goal is to be a resource and support system to them as they continue in their work.
Dr. Ashley Love
University of the Incarnate Word – Associate Professor
Campus-Community Engagement Cohort
As a spouse of an active-duty service member, I know that the CALL TO SERVICE can come at any time. …I strive to collaborate with other campuses, organizations, and communities to share the same values of promoting a more inclusive environment for people of many different faiths, cultures, and backgrounds. This was a great opportunity for me to learn how to bridge interprofessional and interfaith efforts in our academic and community work. The world around us is changing rapidly, with new and complex issues facing communities everywhere. I am excited to build a cohort of like-minded individuals who are passionate about interfaith campus-community engagement. I am hoping we can develop a strong foundation of collaboration to engage in intercampus activities in the future to have a greater impact.
We also have opportunities for communities and students to meet others via the use of the internet. As devastating pandemic is, the use of technology was embraced, and the world became closer. We need to help each other through this difficult time and be there for each other. We are all part of one community. I believe that this is an important time when we need to come together as human beings regardless of our background or religion. I am hoping that my cohort will be a place where we can come together to talk about what it means to be engaged in our communities, and how to use our faith as a way of being engaged.
The diversity of talent and the wealth of experience in this group is amazing. We are finding many connections between our work, which leads to many interesting conversations about what we are doing, how it relates to other fields, and how we might collaborate in the future. The willingness to help each other, strong support of each other’s learning and growth, and contribution to informative discussions are unprecedented. I am looking forward to our future meetings and collaborations.
Dr. Mary Nyangweso
Religion and Health in Society Cohort
My passion for the intersection of religion and health made me consider this slot. I am already working on a project on religion and reproductive health. I am using my grant to design and update the syllabus on religion and health which I plan to teach in the Spring of 2023. I saw this as an opportunity to learn more as well as to help direct the discussion.
In the Religion and Health in Society Cohort, members met and agreed to share their projects through presentations for feedback as they develop their work. They also share resources. The meetings have been very fruitful so far in terms of resources and learning about each other’s dimensions of religion in society. The schedule is such that the leader shares updates on resources followed by a presentation and feedback. The highlight has been the enthusiasm with which members are sharing resources and promising to collaborate on their projects. The discussion we had in April on “The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down” by Anne Fadiman served as a great entry point to collaborative discussion on the intersection of religion and health for our group. The discussion was illuminating.
Dr. Maiju Lehmijoki Wetzel
Loyola University Maryland, Director of Pre-Health Programs
Health Equity Cohort
I see leadership as a form of service. I wanted to make myself available to serve my colleagues around the country. I believe that volunteering to serve is a great way to learn more deeply. Our cohort focuses on the pressing topic of health inequalities and need to create health equity that allows all Americans to live in a society that fosters safe communities and creates access to social, medical, and educational resources.
Our cohort explores ways to reduce health disparities through faith-based initiatives. It has been amazing to hear of surprising parallels in each other’s work. For instance, we have two leaders of physician assistant programs who learned of each other’s work in our cohort meeting. I work with Baltimore churches in their work with health, and I was positively surprised to learn that one of our cohort members, who is not from Baltimore, has interest to partner with churches in Baltimore. These types of connections are great to learn about.
Dr. Zachary Wooten
West Chester University of Pennsylvania – Assistant Professor
COVID 19 Cohort
I applied to be a cohort leader to get to know more people within this area of study and learn from the work of incredible educators. I hope to learn more about the far reach of Interfaith America in communities across the country. We are hoping to share resources, collaborate on opportunities, and share stories. I have really enjoyed hearing about the work of other scholars and teachers.
Dr. Helen Lee Turner
Furman University – Professor of Religion
Competencies for Pre-health Cohort
I have a real passion about the importance of the relationship between faith, medicine, and health. I have been working on this concept for a decade and see it as central not only to the lives of people of faith but also for the work of health care providers and the very survival of religious studies programs.
The first goal is a list of things that pre-health career undergraduates should know about religion and its relationship to issues in medicine and views of health. A second goal would be taking that list of competencies and developing a model syllabus with reading suggestions. The variety, intelligence, experience, collegiality, and enthusiasm of the group is inspiring.