Special Issue "Religion and Public Health Threats in the 21st Century"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444). This special issue belongs to the section "Religions and Health/Psychology/Social Sciences".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Magdalena Szaflarski
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Sociology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama 35294-1152, USA
Interests: sociology at intersection of religion and health; religion/spirituality and HIV; spirituality in medicine; congregational health programming; faith community–academic health partnerships

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The focus of this issue is on the role of religion in addressing public health threats plaguing societies in the 21st century. Past books or edited volumes provide overviews of religion as a social determinant of public health; scientific evidence of the religion–health link; spirituality’s role in medicine; and religion connections with specific health areas (e.g., mental health, adolescent health). This volume will emphasize religion connections to key public health challenges in the last two decades, including but not limited to the current COVID-19 crisis.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified nine public health outbreaks and threats, including: addictions (especially the opioid crisis), infectious diseases (HIV, measles), immunization/vaccination gaps, and pregnancy-related deaths among racial/ethnic minorities. Other countries or regions may have similar or other public health challenges. In the 2010s, the world also faced the Ebola outbreak, and other disease outbreaks were being forecasted. Religion has known relevance in addictions, infectious diseases, reproductive health, and other areas, and it has now been shown to play a significant role in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, though scientific evidence in this area is still limited.

This Special Issue will include theoretical and empirical scholarly work examining the relevance of religion in major public health challenges facing countries around the world. Although the current-day contexts (e.g., COVID-19) are especially important to understand, a trajectory of work since the turn of the century will allow constructing a more complete picture of the contemporary (recent and current) and future directions of science on religion and public health. The purpose of this volume is not only to tighten the knowledge base but also to have this knowledge guide social interventions. Thus, each paper will consider the social implications of work being presented.

This volume aims to include original papers from a variety of sociocultural and religious contexts, theoretical perspectives, and methodological approaches (quantitative, qualitative, mixed-method, community-engaged research, intervention trials, etc.). By including a broad range of perspectives (disciplinary and cross-cutting), and focusing on key ongoing and current public health issues, this volume will be a useful and needed contribution to religion and religion–health studies, public health, and other disciplines working at the intersection of religion and health (sociology, psychology, health policy, health care, etc.).

We welcome preliminary submissions of proposals for articles (up to 300 words) and will provide feedback and suggestions. You can reach the guest editor at [email protected]

Dr. Magdalena Szaflarski
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • religion
  • religions
  • religiosity
  • spirituality
  • religion/spirituality
  • faith
  • religious organizations
  • organized religion
  • faith-based organizations
  • faith communities
  • faith traditions
  • denominations
  • congregations
  • health
  • public health
  • health care
  • medicine
  • epidemics
  • pandemics
  • COVID-19
  • HIV
  • mental health
  • addictions
  • reproductive health
  • health policy

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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