Salus populi suprema lex esto  (“Let the welfare of the people be the supreme law”, Missouri’s state motto) 

Confluences II documents how religions influence access to healthcare in Missouri. The project will collate, analyze, and publish data about the possible connections between religious beliefs and localized resistance to or adoption of medical innovations such as vaccines, as well as the popularity of alternative medicine and wellness trends. Two teams of researchers will trace connections between religious affiliation, epidemiology, and attitudes to medical professionals from the nineteenth century to the present day. The first team will study historical records documenting the connections between religion and health during nineteenth- and twentieth-century epidemics. A second team will undertake qualitative and quantitative interviews with health care professionals and religious communities in Missouri. By examining how religious beliefs shape Missourians’ views of medicine, we intend to identify structural and conceptual obstacles to adequate healthcare in the state and recommend strategies to overcome these forms of resistance.

This work is supported project by a Tier 3 grant from the University of Missouri System with supplemental funding from the A&S Dean’s Office and the Fiola Faculty Fellowship.