EP20: Saving Black Health – The Church’s Impact on Black Wellness

Holy and healthy might be found under the same roof. In episode 20, Ritney Castine and Aidil Ortiz talk about how the religious institution may be trying to save us in more ways than one.

Historically, Black people have gone to faith-based institutions as a safe space to discuss matters beyond religion. Castine explains how the Christian church has been a place to promote generational health and wellness. Churches are often used as hubs for public health outreach and as facilities to provide health care. The pandemic highlighted this even more — churches hosting drive-through COVID-19 vaccinations and demonstrating how to properly social distance during times of worship.

Like The Center for Black Health & Equity, some organizations understand the role that faith-based institutions play in Black lives. The Center hosts No Menthol Sunday every year — an initiative that presents faith leaders with the opportunity to talk about tobacco cessation and how the tobacco industry markets menthol to African Americans.

While we can commend the role faith-based institutions have played in promoting public health, the hosts agree there are times where they missed the mark. For example, some faith-based institutions have pushed back on the discussion of HIV/AIDS. In this episode, learn how both public health and religion can work together to promote overall wellness.