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NCC chosen for faith-based health care survey

The first nationwide, in-depth, systematic study of health services provided by religious communities is being undertaken by the National Council of Churches USA. The project will survey more than 100,000 congregations to determine the level of health care education, delivery, and advocacy being offered.

The study, made possible by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, will be conducted by the Rev. Dr. Eileen W. Lindner, deputy general secretary of the NCC and head of its Research and Planning Office.

“Much recent discussion has centered around the question of how much health care our faith communities are providing,” said Dr. Lindner, “but there is little quantitative and qualitative data about these valuable health assets. This study will give us the first real snapshot of just what faith-based activities there are in the health care arena.”

“This inventory will provide national church leaders with detailed information about the various health care ministries carried out in diverse types of congregations in faithfulness to Jesus whose own ministry was so often one of healing,” said Lindner.

In addition to Christian congregations, Muslim and Jewish congregations also will be offered the opportunity to collect data from their congregations, adding to what we know about what is being done on health from various religious traditions.

The project will focus on what faith communities are currently doing in the area of health care education, direct service and advocacy around issues of health care. A comprehensive report will be released at the conclusion of the study. It will help faith leaders and health care providers determine, for the first time, what role the religious congregation is playing, or not, in the delivery of health-related services to communities across the country.

Rev. Dr. Robert Edgar, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches, speaking about this project said, “The National Council of Churches has long been an advocate for a quality health care system that is accessible to all Americans. This study enables our member communions to gain a much better understanding of what is being done to begin to build a network of congregations active in health care.”

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health care issues facing our country. As the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For more than 30 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in the lifetime of all Americans. For more information, visit

The National Council of Churches [] is the ecumenical voice of 35 member denominations from Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican, and historic African American and peace churches comprising 45 million Christians in 100,000 congregations.

NCC News contact: Dan Webster, 212.870.2252,


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