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Celebrating Diverse Faith Traditions

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Celebrating Diverse Faith Traditions

Celebrating Diverse Faith Traditions

The striking thing is how much these traditions have in common. I’ve learned a lot and had wonderful help—doctors, nurses, pharmacists, rabbis and staff members of different faiths willing to be experts.”

—Paula Teague

Date: 01/26/2017

From Easter to Yom Kippur, from Ramadan to the Baha’i festival of Ridvan, members of the Johns Hopkins Medicine community celebrate an array of religious holidays.

To raise awareness, Johns Hopkins Medicine has created the Religious and Cultural Observances Toolkit—a collection of one-page guides to more than two dozen religious holidays that come with email reminders of the dates and a website where the information is stored.

The idea came out of a 2015 meeting of the 42-member Diversity Council at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, says Paula Teague, senior director of spiritual care and chaplaincy for the Johns Hopkins Health System, who volunteered to research and author the guides.

“The striking thing is how much these traditions have in common,” she says. “I’ve learned a lot and had wonderful help—doctors, nurses, pharmacists, rabbis and staff members of different faiths willing to be experts, plus Karen Tong in our marketing department, who made the pages beautiful.”

More than two dozen sets of the holiday guides were distributed in 2015 to Johns Hopkins Bayview staff, and Teague says the response was so positive “the folks at Johns Hopkins Medicine said, ‘Gosh, this would be something for the whole system.’ So we spent a year reworking the toolkit for the whole enterprise and launched with Ramadan in June.” The Religious and Cultural Observances Toolkit is co-sponsored by the Johns Hopkins Medicine Department of Spiritual Care and Chaplaincy and the Johns Hopkins Medicine Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

The idea is to improve patient care and support a diverse staff. The guides even include suggested holiday greetings, which Teague herself has begun to use. “When I said, ‘Ramadan Mubarak’ to one of my Muslim colleagues, her face just lit up. It opens up conversations and conveys a cultural humility people really appreciate.”