The Church & Global Health: The Body of Christ Ministering to Broken Bodies
The 10th annual Kindschi Faith and Justice symposium will focus on how faith communities can respond effectively to global health challenges.
- How have communities of faith responded to current and past health crises?
- What lessons can we learn from responses around the globe?
- What roles can individuals, institutions, and churches play in current health crises?
The symposium will feature interviews with and lectures from scholars and practitioners working at the intersection of health and religion. Topics will include responses from individuals, institutions, and churches from around the globe to COVID-19, HIV/AIDS, health disparities, and other global health challenges.
Free Online Registration
All events are free and open to the public. Chapel sessions can be viewed at the Houghton College YouTube stream or the Houghton College Chapel Facebook page. Other sessions will be held via Zoom Webinar, and registration must be completed prior to joining.
About the Kindschi Faith and Justice Symposium at Houghton College
The Kindschi Faith and Justice Symposium demonstrates Houghton College’s commitment to prepare graduates to link their faith to critical global issues with thoughtfulness, creativity, and courage rather than fear. It is with gratitude we recognize Dr. P. Douglas Kindschi ’62 and his wife Barbara (Pechuman ’62) Kindschi, who in 2018 created an endowment fund to ensure that a permanent stream of funding will support this annual symposium.
The Kindschi Faith and Justice Symposium has been a passion project of retiring President, Dr. Shirley Mullen. Her tireless efforts to create civil dialogue, cultivate young thinkers in the courageous middle, and promote Houghton’s historic dedication to Wesleyan work in diverse areas of transformative justice have been highlighted through this annual symposium. We are grateful for her vision and leadership.
Join the Symposium
Wednesday, February 10
- 11:20-11:50 a.m. | Chapel with Dr. Jamie Aten and Kent Annan
Responses of US Churches to COVID-19 | Facebook | YouTube
- 3:00-4:00 p.m. | Interview with Dr. Scott Zimmerman ’81
Vocations in the US Public Health Sector | Register for the Zoom Webinar
- 7:00-8:00 p.m. | Interview with Dr. Takesha Leonard
Addressing Social Determinants of Health | Register for the Zoom Webinar
Thursday, February 11
- 3:30-4:30 p.m. | Interview with Francesca Merico
Response of Global Faith Communities to HIV/AIDS | Register for the Zoom Webinar
- 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. | Lecture and Q&A with Dr. John Blevins
The Social Gospel’s Influence on Global Health | Register for the Zoom Webinar
Friday, February 12
- 11:20-11:50 a.m. | Chapel: Rev. Pauline Wanjiru Njiru
Responses of East African Churches to HIV & COVID | Facebook | YouTube
- 3:00-4:00 p.m. | Interview with Daniel Sara Turay
Promoting Healthy Behaviors in Sierra Leone | Register for the Zoom Webinar
- 7:00-8:00 p.m. | Student Networking: Health Careers
Register for the Zoom Webinar
Kent Annan is author of You Welcomed Me (2018), Slow Kingdom Coming (2016), After Shock (2011), and Following Jesus through the Eye of the Needle (2009). He is director of humanitarian and disaster leadership at Wheaton College, where he leads an M.A. program as part of the Humanitarian Disaster Institute.
Kent worked for two years in Western Europe with refugees from the former Yugoslavia, Iran, and Sierra Leone. During his graduate studies at Princeton Seminary he spent three months studying in India. A few days after graduation, he moved to Albania and then Kosovo to work for six months with refugees there. He then moved back to Princeton to work (and for love!). In 2003 he and his wife moved to Haiti for two and a half years, and his work focused on Haiti for fifteen years. This included cofounding the nonprofit Haiti Partners. He previously served on the board of directors of Equitas Group, which focused on child trafficking issues in Haiti and Southeast Asia. He is a senior consultant for Development Associates International, which trains Christian leaders around the world. In 2018 he became Director of Humanitarian & Disaster Leadership at Wheaton College.
Dr. Jamie Aten is a disaster psychologist and disaster ministry expert. He helps others navigate mass, humanitarian, and personal disasters with scientific and spiritual insights. He is the Founder and Executive Director of the Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College.
In 2016, he received the FEMA Community Preparedness Champion Award at the White House. He doesn’t just study disasters—he has survived disasters. Jamie got his start helping others amidst disasters after moving to South Mississippi just six days before Hurricane Katrina struck his community. Eight years later, he was diagnosed with late-stage cancer. Now in remission, Jamie shares his disaster research and cancer story with scientific and spiritual insights, helping others cultivate faith and resilience.
His research has been supported by over $6 million in grant funding. With over 100 scholarly publications, he is co-editor and co-author of 7 academic books, including two American Psychological Association bestsellers.
Rev. Pauline Wanjiru Njiru is a priest in the Anglican church of Kenya working for The World Council of Churches – Ecumenical HIV and AIDS Initiatives and Advocacy (WCC-EHAIA) as the Eastern Africa Regional Coordinator. A PhD candidate at the University of St Paul’s specialising in Mission studies, her areas of expertise include: gender (transformative masculinities and femininities), HIV, working with people on the margins especially grandmothers parenting grandchildren orphaned by AIDS and people living with HIV, spearheading intergenerational safe space conversations and mentoring young people.
Dr. Scott Zimmerman ’81 serves as Director of North Carolina’s State Laboratory of Public Health in Raleigh, NC. Previously, Scott served as the Assistant Commissioner for the Erie County Department of Health and Director of Labs in Buffalo, NY for 19 years.
Scott obtained his Doctorate and Masters from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His doctoral research was conducted at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and focused on immune factors associated with urogenital Mycoplasma hominis infections in pregnant women and pregnancy outcomes. Scott completed a postdoctoral residency program in Clinical and Public Health Microbiology at the Erie County Medical Center and State University of New York at Buffalo from 1989-90. His undergraduate degree in Biology was obtained from Houghton College in 1981.
Scott currently maintains a faculty appointment as Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health. He has been a Principal Investigator on several grant-funded research studies and he serves on the Association of Public Health Laboratories’ Board of Directors. He has authored over 20 peer-reviewed publications.
Dr. John Blevins is an Associate Research Professor at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University (Atlanta USA). Trained in religious and theological studies with an emphasis in pastoral theology, John is the Director of the Interfaith Health Program, an initiative that aims to understand the varied influences of religion on individual and cultural beliefs, perceptions, and practices related to health. John is also affiliate faculty in the Graduate Division of Religion in the Laney Graduate School at Emory. He is actively working on initiatives at the intersection of religion and global health in over a dozen countries around the world. John has authored numerous academic articles on religion and public health and is the author of To Transfer the Empire of the World: Christianity’s Role on United States Global Health and Development Policy. Dr. Blevins holds an M.Div. from Duke University and a Th.D. from Emory University.
Dr. Takesha Leonard is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner with a great interest in community health and decreasing health disparities in the African American population. She practices family medicine at Jericho Road Community Health Center and serves as a part-time Nurse Practitioner for Landmark Health, providing in home health services for the elderly. She holds a doctoral degree in health policy/health administration from D’Youville College and is pursuing a psychiatric Nurse Practitioner certification. Herlong term goal is to improve the scope of the healthcare system in the United States, particularly in low income communities.
Takesha has traveled to Sierra Leone and helped establish the Adamamartha Memorial Community Health Center in the Kono district.
Francesca Merico is HIV campaign coordinator for the World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, which engages faith-based organizations in multiple traditions to end the AIDS epidemic. She coordinates with large international institutions like the United Nations’ UNAIDS program and the US government’s President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). She previously led Caritas Internationalis’ HAART for Children Campaign, which promoted efforts to diagnose and treat mothers and children living with HIV. She has one-of-a-kind experiences at the intersection of religion, public health, and human rights.
Daniel Sara Turay is founder and CEO of the Centre for Positive Attitude and Sustainable Development (CePAD), an organization in Sierra Leone that aims to foster positive attitude change and engages in projects like self-help road construction. Daniel has previously worked for non-governmental organizations and Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Health as a National Coordinator for Community Health Workers. Daniel has facilitated the work of numerous Mayterm trips of Houghton College students. Daniel studied public health in the United Kingdom and has won national awards for his work in health, development, and education.