Sloan, Richard P. 1948(?)-

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Sloan, Richard P. 1948(?)-


Born c. 1948. Education: Schenectady College, B.S., 1970; New School for Social Research, M.A., 1974, Ph.D., 1978.


Home—NY. Office—Department of Psychiatry, Behavioral Medicine Program, 1150 St. Nicholas Ave., Ste. 1-121, New York, NY 10032; fax: 212-851-5580. E-mail—[email protected]


New York-Presbyterian Hospital at the Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY, professor of behavioral medicine (in psychiatry); New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY, chief, division of behavioral medicine.


Fellow, Columbia University, 1988-91.


(With others) Investing in Employee Health: A Guide to Effective Health Promotion in the Workplace, Jossey-Bass (San Francisco, CA), 1987.

(Assistant editor) Barbara Ann Scott, The Liberal Arts in a Time of Crisis, Praeger (New York, NY), 1991.

Blind Faith: The Unholy Alliance of Religion and Medicine, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2006.

Contributor to various scholarly journals, including International Journal of Epidemiology, Journal of Applied Physiology, New England Journal of Medicine, and Lancet.


Richard P. Sloan serves as the director of behavioral medicine at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, and is interested in the role of religion in medicine. As a medical professional, he became concerned in the late 1990s that there was misleading information being released into the media indicating that religious experiences held health benefits and that religious practices were linked to mortality. Although studies were being performed, Sloan felt the methodology behind those studies was faulty. In an interview with Claudia Kalb for News-week, Sloan stated: "Medical students need to be able to treat their patients as people and not lumps of tissue. That means learning about what makes them a person, what's important in their lives—and that may include religion and spirituality. And it may not." In Blind Faith: The Unholy Alliance of Religion and Medicine, Sloan attempts to debunk the theory that prayer can heal the sick. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly wrote: "Although repetitious, Sloan's book offers clear challenges to patients and medical professionals who embrace prayer as a means of healing." A contributor for Kirkus Reviews observed: "Sloan has done well to sound the alarm, while providing an excellent primer on how medical evidence should be collected." In an interview with Bob Abernathy for the Religion and Ethics Newsweekly, Sloan stated: "If patients want prayer, then what physicians ought to do is, in a very sensitive way, refer them to local clergy or to health care chaplains, or they can sit by silently and allow the patient to pray. But getting physicians involved religiously in the context of a clinical intervention is a very bad idea, because it raises all sorts of problems with religious interference and interferes with freedom of religion."



Booklist, October 1, 2006, Donna Chavez, review of Blind Faith: The Unholy Alliance of Religion and Medicine, p. 30.

Chronicle of Higher Education, June 30, 2000, Lila Guterman, "Doctors, Don't Try to Heal Thy Patients with Religion," p. A19.

Detroiter, July-September, 2005, "Attention, Entrepreneurs," p. 33.

Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2006, review of Blind Faith, p. 943.

Newsweek, November 10, 2003, Claudia Kalb, "The Critic," interview with Richard P. Sloan, p. 50.

Publishers Weekly, September 18, 2006, review of Blind Faith, p. 47.


Columbia University Medical Center Web site, (December 31, 2006), faculty biography.

Free Thought Today Web site, (January-February, 2000), author biography.

Religion and Ethics Newsweekly Online, (July 1, 2005), Bob Abernathy, author interview.