Letter to the Editor: Insights on Health, Religion/Spirituality, and Vulnerable Populations

Article information

J Prev Med Public Health. 2023;56(1):97-98
Publication date (electronic) : 2023 January 31
doi : https://doi.org/10.3961/jpmph.22.533
Department of Theology and Religious Education, De La Salle University, Manila, Philippines
Corresponding author: Fides A. del Castillo, Department of Theology and Religious Education, De La Salle University, 2401 Taft Avenue, Manila 0922, Philippines E-mail: fides.delcastillo@dlsu.edu.ph

Dear Editor,

In the November 2022 issue of the journal, various authors focused on a plethora of public health concerns and their prevention [1]. They stressed the importance of effective systems, healthy lifestyles, interventions, and support from multiple institutions for the well-being of the people. In addition to their valuable studies, the author would like to add that providing religious and/or spiritual support to community members, especially the most vulnerable in society, promotes human flourishing and alleviates the pressures of their day-to-day life. In this letter, the author would like to give insights into the relationship of religion/spirituality with the health and well-being of the people, particularly vulnerable populations.

Recent studies have shown that religion, spirituality, medicine, and healthcare are interconnected as part of a holistic approach to health [2,3]. Vulnerable populations who face adversity turn to religion for support [4]. This commentary presents an overview of scholarly articles on health, religion, and vulnerable populations. A review of published literature for the past 5 years has been conducted. Using Boolean operators with the search terms “health,” “religion and spirituality,” and “vulnerable population” in the EBSCO Discovery Service and limiting the results to peer-reviewed articles, the author found only 9 articles. A summary of the themes and insights on health, religion/spirituality, and vulnerable populations can be found in Table 1.

Themes and insights on health, religion/spirituality, and vulnerable populations

As nations continue to deal with the many challenges caused by health and cost-of-living crises, the author agrees that special attention should be given to filling the gap of inequalities, particularly for the most vulnerable members of society. These crises have a profound impact on them. Therefore, supporting the poor requires collaboration among various institutions. Faith-based organizations may also be given attention as they provide religious and spiritual support, as well as public health services to the needy [5], Last but not least, the limited number of studies linking health, religion/spirituality, and the vulnerable population presents a good opportunity for further research, particularly on tackling poverty and inequalities.



The author has no conflicts of interest to declare for this study.


1. Various Authors. November issue. J Prev Med Public Health 2022;55(6):499–603.
2. Balboni TA, VanderWeele TJ, Doan-Soares SD, Long KN, Ferrell BR, Fitchett G, et al. Spirituality in serious illness and health. JAMA 2022;328(2):184–197.
3. Wilde O. A history of religion, medicine, and healthcare. In : Koenig HG, King DE, Carson VB, eds. Handbook of religion and health 2nd edth ed. New York: Oxford University Press; 2012. p. 15–34.
4. Koenig HG. Religion, spirituality, and health: the research and clinical implications. Int Sch Res Netw 2012;2012:278730.
5. Del Castillo FA, Del Castillo CD. Lessons from COVID19: advocacy toward the vulnerable. J Public Health (Oxf) 2020;42(4):869–870.

Article information Continued

Table 1.

Themes and insights on health, religion/spirituality, and vulnerable populations

No. of articles Themes Insights
1 Partnership for collaborative global health and well-being Various organizations, including government, public health organizations, and religious institutions, are called to collaborate and support the well-being of the vulnerable in society
2 Religion and recovery Faith-based organizations and other religious institutions are instrumental in providing recovery and public health services to the poor and needy
3 Need for public health and religious care Empirical evidence shows that public health and religious care are needed by individuals experiencing adversities in life
3 Positive impact of religion/spirituality Studies show that there is a significant and positive impact of religion/spirituality in improving the health and well-being of the vulnerable population