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Metro Health Hosts Panel to Help Physicians, Staff Better Understand Faith Needs of Patients

Posted: May 9, 2011

In an effort to help its physicians, nurses and staff better understand the religious faiths of their patients, Metro Health Hospital is hosting a special panel discussion on Wednesday, May 18.

The three-hour educational panel, which is open to the public, is slated to begin at noon in the Krause Lecture Hall at Metro Health Hospital and conclude no later than 3 p.m. Leaders from seven religions will be on hand to discuss topics that healthcare providers routinely face in the hospital setting, including:

  • The use of blood and tissue products, as well as organ donation
  • The role of end-of-measures, such as CPR, intubation, etc.
  • Dietary and fasting requirements
  • How physicians and healthcare providers are viewed in general

"As a hospital, our primary goal is to provide excellent care for our patients and their families," said Dr. Sarah Bancroft, chief resident of family practice residency. "We feel it is critical for our residents and staff to better understand the religious beliefs of our patients and their loved ones while they are in our care. Increasing sensitivity to the different faith needs of our patients will further enhance our ability to provide the best patient experience in West Michigan.

Panelists and they faiths they represent will include:

  • Buddhism: Steven Sampson, member of the Lam Te Dyana School of Vietnamese Zen Buddhism and communications director of the Withered Tree Mindfulness Community in Grand Rapids
  • Catholicism: Robert Marko,chairman and professor of the Department of Theology at Aquinas College
  • Christian Science: Christine Driessen, national spokesperson, Washington, D.C.
  • Islam: Sharif Sahibzada, director of the Grand Rapids Islamic Center
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses: John Colburn, Jr., elder of Grandville Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses and chairman of the Grand Rapids Hospital Liaison Committee
  • Judaism: Albert Lewis, rabbi emeritus of Temple Emanuel Grand Rapids
  • Protestantism: John DeVries, chaplain at Metro Health Hospital and a minister in the Christian Reformed Church



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