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Medical Student Hopes To Promote Social Change Through Interfaith Cooperation

By Dr. Samir Desai

Although research indicates that religious and spiritual beliefs have significant impact on how patients cope with illness, these beliefs are frequently unexplored during the physician-patient encounter. Medical students, residents, and physicians understand the importance of spirituality in the lives of their patients but may be unsure of how or when to address such issues.

Over the past ten years, an increasing number of medical schools have incorporated topics related to spirituality and health into the curriculum. Despite these efforts, many educators and students believe that the time spent is insufficient.

Fortunately, there are students like Aamir Hussain who are trying to fill in these gaps. At the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, Aamir has started the Spirituality and Medicine Interest Group. Through this group, he hopes that his medical student colleagues will be able to discuss how spirituality and religion affect patient care.

In addition, given the religiosity of the United States, I believe it is helpful for all medical students (regardless of their own background) to have some familiarity with conversations related to spirituality in order to better connect with many patients.
— Aamir Hussain

From Council of a Parliament for the World's Religions

Bringing a new student organization into existence is not an easy undertaking, especially for busy medical students. Recently, Aamir's efforts paid off, and he received word that his interest group was approved for university funding. He also received the Germanacos Fellowship, an award bestowed by the Interfaith Youth Core. This fellowship will provide Aamir with a $5000 grant. With this support, Aamir plans to develop a medical discussion series focusing on spirituality/religion and medicine.

Congratulations to Aamir!