Considering religion and spirituality in precision medicine

Karen H.K. Yeary*, Kassandra I. Alcaraz, Kimlin Tam Ashing, Chungyi Chiu, Shannon M. Christy, Katarina Friberg Felsted, Qian Lu, Crystal Y. Lumpkins, Kevin S. Masters, Robert L. Newton, Crystal L. Park, Megan J. Shen, Valerie J. Silfee, Betina Yanez, Jean Yi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The emerging era of precision medicine (PM) holds great promise for patient care by considering individual, environmental, and lifestyle factors to optimize treatment. Context is centrally important to PM, yet, to date, little attention has been given to the unique context of religion and spirituality (R/S) and their applicability to PM. R/S can support and reinforce health beliefs and behaviors that affect health outcomes. The purpose of this article is to discuss how R/S can be considered in PM at multiple levels of context and recommend strategies for integrating R/S in PM. We conducted a descriptive, integrative literature review of R/S at the individual, institutional, and societal levels, with the aim of focusing on R/S factors with a high level of salience to PM. We discuss the utility of considering R/S in the suitability and uptake of PM prevention and treatment strategies by providing specific examples of how R/S influences health beliefs and practices at each level. We also propose future directions in research and practice to foster greater understanding and integration of R/S to enhance the acceptability and patient responsiveness of PM research approaches and clinical practices. Elucidating the context of R/S and its value to PM can advance efforts toward a more whole-person and patient-centered approach to improve individual and population health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-203
Number of pages9
JournalTranslational behavioral medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 10 2018


  • Faith
  • Health
  • Religiosity
  • Spiritual
  • Tailoring
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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