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Would you believe it? The impact of faith-sensitive health research - a blog by Lou Silver, Equality Diversity and Inclusion Manager at the HRA

Last updated on 7 Nov 2022

Faith has nothing to do with work or research, right? Well, if your work or research involves people, think again.


Inter Faith activity is about bringing together people with different beliefs for shared dialogue. It's about bridging differences to achieve a common goal.

The same can be said for faith-sensitive health research, whether that's evaluating culturally adapted therapies for depression in Muslim communities, or exploring the role of chaplaincy services in supporting children facing end of life. If we are to truly address health inequalities, such as the recently highlighted health inequalities in Jewish communities, we need to step outside of the dominant cultural lens, and create space for people to show us the world through the lens of their faith and religious context.

At the Health Research Authority, we benefit from the regular input and insights of our staff-led interest group for Religion and Other Beliefs.

They have helped us to understand:

  • how we can better support people to fulfil religious obligations alongside their work
  • how to support staff during periods of fasting
  • the importance of recognising key festivals and celebrating with each other
  • how we can weave faith-sensitive considerations into our policies and practices
  • how prejudice is never far from our door and must be challenged when we see or hear it

This, in turn, helps us to understand how and why health inequalities can lie in things not seen.

We are learning to be a faith-sensitive employer and are proud to play a small but critical part in enabling faith-sensitive health research to take place.

Profile shot of Lou Silver, Equality Diversity and Inclusion manager at the HRA

Lou Silver, Equality Diversity and Inclusion Manager at the HRA

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