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May 24, 1995

Should Physicians Prescribe Prayer for Health? Spiritual Aspects of Well-being Considered

JAMA. 1995;273(20):1561-1562. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520440013005

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SHOULD PHYSICIANS write "prayer" or "more frequent participation in religious observances" when prescribing for their patients? Some physicians, chaplains, pastoral workers, and sociologists would answer affirmatively.

"There is at work an integration of medicine with religion, of spirituality with medical practice, the twin guardians of healing through the ages," said Dale Matthews, MD, associate professor of medicine, Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, DC, at a meeting presented as "the first conference on Spiritual Dimensions in Clinical Research."

The meeting, meant to "explore the current body of knowledge and emerging trends in the area of spirituality and health," was held in Leesburg, Va, by the National Institute for Healthcare Research, a private organization devoted to examining the role of religious commitment in improving patient care and well-being. The agenda concentrated on three general areas: alcohol and other drug abuse, mental health, and physical health. Conferees reviewed the current status of

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