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Jeff Levin, Ph.D. - Baylor University . Waco, TX, US

Jeff Levin, Ph.D. Jeff Levin, Ph.D.

University Professor of Epidemiology and Population Health | Baylor University


Dr. Levin’s current research and writing are focused on the historical and contemporary intersections of faith and medicine.






Baylor ISR - Jeff Levin- End of Religion? (May 5, 2015)



Dr. Jeff Levin, an epidemiologist, holds a distinguished chair at Baylor University, where he is University Professor of Epidemiology and Population Health, Professor of Medical Humanities, and director of the Program on Religion and Population Health at the Institute for Studies of Religion. He also serves as adjunct professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University School of Medicine and as an affiliated member of the Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy at Baylor College of Medicine.

As both biomedical scientist and religious scholar, he is interested in the interface of religion, science and medicine and has been instrumental in broadening the perspectives of researchers and clinicians on the connections among body, mind and spirit.

Dr. Levin, who joined the Baylor faculty in the fall of 2009, was the first scientist to systematically review the empirical literature on religion and health, and the first scientist funded by the NIH to conduct research on the topic. He is a member of the Extended Faculty of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, was chairman of the NIH Working Group on Quantitative Methods in Alternative Medicine and has served on the editorial boards of numerous peer-reviewed journals. He has authored more than 200 scholarly publications, mostly on the instrumental functions of religion for physical and mental health, general well-being and aging. He has written or edited 10 books, most recently “Upon These Three Things: Jewish Perspectives on Loving God."

Dr. Levin holds an A.B. in religion and in sociology from Duke University, an M.P.H. from the University of North Carolina School of Public Health and a Ph.D. in preventive medicine and community health from the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Texas Medical Branch. He completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of Michigan’s Institute of Gerontology. His research has been funded by the NIH, the AMA, and private foundations. In 2002, he was elected a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America.

Dr. Levin’s current research and writing are focused on social and epidemiologic research on Judaism and population health; theories of healing and the work of healers; and the role of faith-based initiatives in public health and healthcare policy.

Industry Expertise (3)

Research Education/Learning Health and Wellness

Areas of Expertise (5)

Social and Epidemiologic Research on Judaism and Population health Theories of Healing and the Work of Healers Role of Faith-Based Initiatives in Public Health and Healthcare Policy Religion and Health Judaism and Population Health

Education (4)

University of Michigan: Postdoctoral Research Fellowship 1989

University of Texas Medical Branch: Ph.D., Preventive Medicine and Community Health 1987

University of North Carolina School of Public Health: M.P.H. 1983

Duke University: A.B. magna cum laude, Religion & Sociology 1981

Media Appearances (3)

Most Americans Turn to Prayer for Healing, Study Finds



"When it comes to dealing with illness, most Americans turn to a higher power for help, a new study suggests.

'Outside of belief in God, there may be no more ubiquitous religious expression in the U.S. than use of healing prayer,' study author Jeff Levin said in a Baylor University news release. Levin is the director of the program on religion and population health at Baylor University in Texas..."

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Health-Minded Americans Now Turn to Healing Prayer, Biblical ‘Laying on of Hands’: Study

The Washington Times  


"A new study released Monday reveals that a vast majority of Americans turn to their faith during a health challenge. Nearly nine of 10 Americans have relied upon healing prayer at some point in their lives, praying for others even more than for themselves, according to a study by Baylor University epidemiologist Jeff Levin..."

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Many Americans Turn to Prayer for Healing

CBS News  online


"When it comes to dealing with illness, most Americans turn to a higher power for help, a new study suggests.

'Outside of belief in God, there may be no more ubiquitous religious expression in the U.S. than use of healing prayer,' study author Jeff Levin said in a Baylor University news release. Levin is the director of the program on religion and population health at Baylor University in Texas..."

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Articles (5)

"For They Knew Not What It Was": Rethinking the Tacit Narrative History of Religion and Health Research. Journal of Religion & Health


Over the past couple of decades, research on religion and health has grown into a thriving field. Misperceptions about the history and scope of this field, however, continue to exist, especially among new investigators and commentators on this research. Contrary to the tacit narrative, published research and writing date to the nineteenth century, programmatic research to the 1950s, and NIH funding to 1990; elite medical journals have embraced this topic for over 100 years; study populations are religiously and sociodemographically diverse; and published findings are mostly ...

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Prevalence and Religious Predictors of Healing Prayer Use in the USA: Findings from the Baylor Religion Survey. Journal of Religion & Health


Using data from the 2010 Baylor Religion Survey (N = 1714), this study investigates the prevalence and religious predictors of healing prayer use among US adults. Indicators include prayed for self (lifetime prevalence = 78.8 %), prayed for others (87.4 %), asked for prayer (54.1 %), laying-on-of-hands (26.1 %), and participated in a prayer group (53.0 %). Each was regressed onto eight religious measures, and then again controlling for sociodemographic variables and health. While all religious measures had net effects on at least one healing prayer indicator, the one consistent ...

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Partnerships Between the Faith-Based and Medical Sectors: Implications for Preventive Medicine and Public Health Preventative Medicine Reports


Interconnections between the faith-based and medical sectors are multifaceted and have existed for centuries, including partnerships that have evolved over the past several decades in the U.S. This paper outlines ten points of intersection that have engaged medical and healthcare professionals and institutions across specialties, focusing especially on primary care, global health, and community-based outreach to underserved populations. In a time of healthcare resource scarcity, such partnerships-involving religious congregations, denominations, and communal ...

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Religious Differences in Self-Rated Health Among US Jews: Findings From Five Urban Population Surveys Journal of Religion & Health


Research findings on religion and health among Jews are in relatively short supply. While recent studies report on the health of Israelis and the mental health of Jews in the USA, little information exists on the physical health of US Jews, especially from population surveys. In this study, data are analyzed from five urban surveys of Jews conducted since 2000: two surveys from New York (N = 4,533; N = 5,993) and one apiece from Chicago (N = 1,993), Philadelphia (N = 1,217), and Boston (N = 1,766). A strategy of two-way ANCOVA with interaction was used to test for differences in ...

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Faith-Based Initiatives in Health Promotion: History, Challenges, and Current Partnerships American Journal of Health Promotion


Faith-based institutions and organizations represent a longstanding yet underutilized resource for health promotion and disease prevention efforts. The White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and its affiliated office within the Department of Health and Human Services, are the highest-profile markers of federal efforts, but most faith-health partnerships are not federally funded and date back many decades. Formal partnerships between the faith-based and public health sectors encompass activities in the fields of health behavior and health ...

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