Oct 152009
Authors: Vince Crespin

Faith and medicine may seem like unlikely companions, but the CSU Health Network is bringing them together as different sides of the same coin this weekend.

Faith and Medicine symposium coordinator Blake Gibson said the purpose of the event is to lend support to those with mental, life threatening and addiction issues, not by means of prescribing a specific religion, but by building on patients beliefs to help them through their illness.

“When people hear a discussion of religion on a public university, typically, a flag is raised,” Gibson said. “What we want people to understand is, we are not endorsing one specific religion. Instead, we are endorsing religion as means to help with the healing process.”

The mission statement for the organization says its goal is to connect with people who have a spiritual background. Through their religious affiliation, the idea is to provide a religious side to their medical process, more so then what would normally be provided, by connecting them with leaders and other members of the same faith.

Saturday’s event, which will be highlighted by speeches and a open panel discussion with Duke University psychiatry and behavioral sciences professor Harold Koening and Reverend Rick Nelson of Central Lutheran Church in Minnesota.

Nelson, who said he has experienced healing through faith from both sides of the bed, said based on his own personal journey through sickness and his experience with sick people during his 30 years in ministry, he believes faith in general is a very powerful thing.

“Religion overall helps us accept things that are beyond us. For me, I didn’t have faith necessarily in medicine, but as a person of faith, I believed in and through the medicine that my faith in God would heal me,” Nelson said.

Since the overarching theme of religion at a public university is enough to cause controversy in itself, Gibson said he was pleased with the results and the help he received in organizing the event.

“Everything ran smoothly, I felt since the university saw we are not advocating for one religion, they were willing to help in the process,” Gibson said.

However, others, including Morgan Dorn, a sophomore business major, were skeptical of the program.

“It sounds great that they want to support people in that way. I just sincerely hope that they are not trying to press religion on people,” Dorn said. “As long as they’re doing that, it sounds OK.”

The symposium takes place Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Lory Student Center Main Ballroom

Organizers of the event said they are expecting the available seats to fill up quickly. To register for the event, those interested can come as early as 8 a.m. the day of to register for the event, or can RSVP online at http://csufaithinmedicine.org.

Sponsors of this event include the CSU President’s Office, the Parent’s Fund, the Diversity Grant and the Associated Students of CSU. Each contributed through different means.

Staff writer Vince Crespin can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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