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Religion, Spirituality, and Health Scientific Interest Group


The Religion, Spirituality, and Health Scientific Interest Group (RSH-SIG) was established in October 2020. It was founded by Joan Romaine, MPH, MS, NIAAA, who serves as Chair of the Steering Committee. The Intramural and Extramural Advisors of the RSH-SIG are Ann Berger, MD, MSN, Director of the Pain and Palliative Care Department of the NIH Clinical Center, and Deidra Roach, MD, Medical Program Officer in the Division of Treatment and Recovery at NIAAA.


The purpose of the Religion, Spirituality, and Health Scientific Interest Group (RSH-SIG) is to foster communication, promote collaboration, and facilitate the exchange of information, understanding, and resources within the NIH on the intersection of religion, spirituality (R/S) and health, and to the larger research community. The RSH-SIG will promote the understanding of research on the intersection of R/S and health in order to promote Cura Personalis or “care for the entire person”, including in the areas of prevention, treatment, and recovery from addiction and other diseases/health conditions. The RSH-SIG envisions that its work will hasten the NIH mission “to seek fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability.”


The aims of the RSH-SIG include:

  • Fostering research on the intersection R/S and health
  • Highlighting opportunities and gaps for research in the field and making recommendations to NIH Leadership
  • Categorizing and coordinating information about relevant R/S measurement tools, research, and training resources (i.e., website or dashboard)
  • Communicating opportunities for training 
  • Identifying opportunities for collaboration and possible partnerships
  • Encouraging the development of Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) including standard language and review criteria
  • Enhancing communication between stakeholders in the field (e.g., researchers, funding institutions) 
  • Creating an RSH-SIG website (public access), email, listserv, and Teams site (listserv and Teams site are internal use only) to share information about lectures, studies, and related items of interest to enhance communication.
  • Hosting an RSH-SIG Seminar Series
  • Developing RSH-SIG Networking Events

Steering Committee

The Steering Committee of the Religion, Spirituality, and Health Scientific Interest Group will act as the overarching leadership group of the RSH-SIG. Steering Committee members are: 

Rezvan Ameli, Ph.D., CC
Ann Berger, M.D., MSN, CC — Intramural Advisor
Christina Brackna, NCCIH
Madelon Halula, Ph.D., NIAID
Raye Litten, Ph.D., NIAAA
Deidra Roach, M.D., NIAAA — Extramural Advisor
Joan Romaine, M.S., M.P.H., NIAAA — Chair
Dan Xi, Ph.D., NCI
Cantor Michael Zoosman, MSM, BCC, CC


All NIH-staff with an email account can join the RSH-SIG listserv (RELIGION-SPIRITUALITY-HEALTH@LIST.NIH.GOV) and also the “full group,” which meets on the second Tuesday of the month from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. The participation of individuals, agencies, and organizations outside of the NIH who share an interest are welcome to participate in our public events.

Past Presentations Open to the Public

Ann Berger, M.D., M.S.N.
“Development of an Instrument to Assess Psychosocial Spiritual Healing: The NIH HEALS”
Tuesday, May 18, 2021

NIH Director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D.
“Harmonizing the Spiritual and Scientific Worldviews”
Tuesday, February 9, 2021

The page was last updated on Monday, July 26, 2021 - 12:27pm