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Religion, Spirituality, and Health Scientific Interest Group

Attention! We created an alternative RSH-SIG listserv for those external to the NIH! If you do not have an NIH e-mail account, you can still subsribe to our listserv at



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 contribute to 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

Journal Club

The RSH-SIG Journal Club is open to NIH staff and meets by NIH Webex on the third Tuesday of the month from 2:00–3:00 p.m. Ms. Sharon Majchrzak-Hong, MS, (NIAAA) is serving as the Lead for the Journal Club. Please contact her at if you have an article you would like to present, or if you would like to be added to the Journal Club. 


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

Harold G. Koenig, M.D. (publicly viewable)
Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Associate Professor of Medicine, Duke University Health Systems
Director, Duke University’s Center for Theology, Spirituality, and Health
"Religion, Spirituality and Health: Review, Update, and Future Directions"
December 14, 2021

Ralph L. Piedmont, PhD (RSH-SIG only)
Managing Director, Center for Professional Studies, LLC
“Psychology of Religion/Spirituality 101: Avoiding the Pitfalls”
August 10, 2021

Rezvan Ameli, PhD (RSH-SIG only)
Pain and Palliative Care Department, NIH Clinical Center
“The Effects of a Short Mindfulness-Based Self Care (MBSC) Program on Employee Stress”
July 13, 2021

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

Eve Namisango, PhD (RSH-SIG only)
African Palliative Care Association and Fellow at Cicely Saunders Institute
“Spirituality, Culture, Traditions, and Cancer Care: African Perspectives”
April 20, 2021

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

The page was last updated on Tuesday, February 8, 2022 - 1:08pm