About Faith & Health

Published On 07/11/2011

A range of activities are undertaken by the Center Of Excellence in Faith & Health, including interdisciplinary research, education, partnering, collaboration, convening, community and congregational health promoting initiatives.

Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare has been a healing presence in the heart of Memphis, Tennessee since 1918 and is one of the largest faith-based health systems in the world.

Our faith base has recently led us to adopt organizational goals to:

  • improve access to health services
  • improve the health status of greater Memphis
  • strengthen the connection between faith and health - which leads well beyond the traditional boundaries of a typical healthcare provider

The Center of Excellence in Faith & Health was established in 2007, and will develop in stages over the next five years. The first phase includes the Family Care Center, which opened in November 2010.


The Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare Center of Excellence in Faith & Health is charged with working toward an integrated understanding of faith and health in the Memphis context.

The Center of Excellence in Faith & Health acts as a conduit and container for a wide variety of data streams and information—aiming for a blended intelligence about how faith works best for health and in health systems.

“Blended intelligence” refers to our work in integrating a wide variety of information - community wisdom, hospital data streams, academic research and the best practice knowledge from local and international partners - for research that is intentional about impacting practice, broadly defined and at several levels.

A number of new faith-health initiatives and ideas have been put into practice in Memphis over the last decade, both within the MLH system, and externally with community partners. As such, there are increasing demands for evidence-based research on this "Memphis Model". From both a local and global health perspective, there is growing interest on how this model works, and how it might be replicated. From a local perspective, we urgently need to reflect on what improvements can be made, what lessons can be shared, and how we can collaboratively work toward improving health in Memphis, Tennessee.


We are building a place where research, medicine and faith partnerships will work together to improve health outcomes for individuals and communities.

We believe healthcare can be improved and access can be increased if we engage other community health partners and look to the congregations as trusted partners in the healthcare journey.

The overarching strategies for the Center of Excellence in Faith & Health use a multi-tiered approach, including:

  • identifying, linking and engaging congregations with the healthcare system
  • enhancing the patient and family experience both inside and outside the walls of the hospital when possible
  • improving quality of care and positively enhancing clinical outcomes
  • providing support and resources to clergy and congregations
  • conducting collaborative research with international and local experts on the benefits of the convergence of faith and health
  • developing methods to apply tested best practices in Memphis

All with the goal of improving the well-being of the persons in the community before, during and after the hospital experience.