Harold Koenig, M.D., MHSc.
Rev. Debra Hickman and Lisa Cooper, M.D.
On Thursday, October 16, more than 250 health professionals, clergy, community leaders and members of faith communities gathered at The Johns Hopkins Hospital for the 3rd Annual William S. Perper Symposium. This year’s theme, “Where Faith and Health Connect,” focused on the relationship between spirituality and health, and how it impacts health outcomes. Keynote speaker Harold Koenig, M.D., MHSc., (pictured at left), presented “Medicine, Religion and Health,” where he stated, “Many people when they get sick turn to religion for comfort. To make sense of things. To deal with the loss of control that illness causes.” He told the audience that health care professionals are ignoring what is essential to patients’ lives when they become sick (religion) and urged them to consider this when they care for patients. Rev. Debra Hickman and Lisa Cooper, M.D., (pictured at right), concluded the symposium with their presentation, “Faith at Work in the Community.” Sharing their own personal experiences, Rev. Hickman and Dr. Cooper discussed the historical role of faith in health, and how faith communities and health care organizations can work together to enhance health equity and population health. Said Dr. Cooper, “It is really important in our work to listen, learn and recognize the unique strengths and expertise community members bring to solving health problems.” View photos from the event or watch the presentations in their entirety.
Harold G. Koenig, M.D., M.H.Sc.
Dr. Koenig completed his undergraduate education at Stanford University, his medical school training at the University of California at San Francisco, and his geriatric medicine, psychiatry, and biostatistics training at Duke University Medical Center. He is board certified in general psychiatry, and formerly board certified in geriatric psychiatry, geriatric medicine, and family medicine. He serves on the faculty at Duke as Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Associate Professor of Medicine, and is on the faculty at King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, as a Distinguished Adjunct Professor.
Dr. Koenig is founder and former director of Duke University’s Center for the Study of Religion, Spirituality and Health, and is now Director of Duke’s current Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health. He has published extensively in the fields of mental health, geriatrics, and religion, with nearly 400 scientific peer-reviewed articles and book chapters and 40 books in print or in preparation. He is the former editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine, and is on the editorial boards of many professional journals. His research on religion, health and ethical issues in medicine has been featured on over 50 national and international TV news programs (including The Today Show, ABC’s World News Tonight, and several times on Good Morning America), over 100 national or international radio programs (including multiple NPR and BBC interviews), hundreds of national and international newspapers or magazines (including cover stories for Reader's Digest, Parade Magazine, and Newsweek), and is considered one of the world’s top experts on religion and health. Dr. Koenig has given testimony before the U.S. Senate (September 1998) and the U.S. House of Representatives (September 2008) concerning the effects of religious involvement on public health, and has been interviewed by James Dobson on Focus on the Family and by Robert Schuller in the Crystal Cathedral on the Hour of Power. Dr. Koenig has been nominated twice for the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion. He is the recipient of the 2012 Oskar Pfister Award from the American Psychiatric Association.
His latest books include The Handbook of Religion and Health, 2nd edition (Oxford University Press, 2012); his autobiography, The Healing Connection (2004); Faith and Mental Health (2005); In the Wake of Disaster (2007); Spirituality in Patient Care, 2nd edition (2007); Medicine, Religion and Health (2008), Religion and Spirituality in Psychiatry (2009, Cambridge University Press), and Spirituality and Health Research: Methods, Measurement, Statistics, and Resources (2011). Dr. Koenig travels widely to give workshops, seminars, and keynote presentations in the United States and around the world.
Lisa A. Cooper, M.D., MPH
Dr. Cooper is the James F. Fries Professor of Medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She is also a core faculty member of the Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research. She has joint appointments in the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing and Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Cooper received her BA from Emory University, her MD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and her MPH from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
The author of over 130 research articles and several book chapters, and the principal investigator of 14 research grants from the National Institutes of Health and several private foundations, Dr. Cooper is an internationally recognized expert on the effectiveness of patient-centered interventions (e.g., physician communication skills and cultural competence training, patient shared decision-making and self-management skills training) for improving health outcomes and overcoming racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare. Dr. Cooper has received numerous awards, including election to the American Society for Clinical Investigation, Delta Omega Public Health Honorary Society, and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. In 2007, Dr. Cooper was a recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship "Genius" Grant.
Dr. Cooper has served on the boards of several community organizations and institutions, including Howard County General Hospital in Columbia, Maryland and the Liberia Renaissance Foundation and Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington D.C. She has received awards for community partnership and advocacy in Baltimore from the Mental Health Association of Maryland; Bethel AME Church; Associated Black Charities; the National Coalition of 100 Black Women; and Monumental Medical Society. Dr. Cooper has testified at U.S. Congressional hearings regarding health disparities, diversity in the healthcare workforce, cultural competency training of health professionals, and funding for biomedical research.
Rev. Debra Hickman, M.Div.
The Rev. Debra Hickman is co-founder and CEO of Sisters Together And Reaching, Inc. (STAR), a faith- and community-based non-profit organization that advocates for and optimizes health and wellness for underserved and at-risk minority communities in a holistic, faith-centered environment. She also serves as assistant to the pastor at City Temple of Baltimore; community co-chair of Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute’s Community-University Coordinating Council; and community co-chair for the Baltimore City Health Department’s “Healthy Baltimore 2015” Health Improvement Plan.
Rev. Hickman recently concluded service as an appointee on the Baltimore City Mayor’s HIV Commission; was a two-time appointee of the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Health Resources Service Administration Advisory Council; and served as co-chair of both the Maryland Community Planning Group and the University of Maryland HIV Vaccine Trials Network for the Institute of Human Virology.
Rev. Hickman earned a master of divinity degree from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University. Prior to receiving her master’s degree, she served as a licensed practical nurse and provided services and prevention education to the HIV/AIDS community.
Rev. Hickman is an alumna of the Greater Baltimore Leadership Committee and a graduate of the University of Maryland’s Public Policy Conflict Resolution Fellows program. She is a consultant for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Rev. Hickman is a founding member and former treasurer for the National Black Women’s HIV/AIDS Network (NBWHAN). She currently serves on the advisory board of My Brother’s Keeper in Jackson, Mississippi, and the Center for AIDS Research.