A Shared Mission of Healing

John W. Hatch Annual FaithHealth Lecture Highlights

Sep 12, 2023 | John Hatch Lecture


Looking forward to the 8th lecture series, we thought we’d look to some past events

November 28, 2023

Rocky Mount, North Carolina

Register HERE!




By Anita P. Holmes

The John W. Hatch Annual FaithHealth Lecture was established by the Division of FaithHealth, Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist (Formerly Wake Forest Baptist).  It is named in commemoration of Dr. John W. Hatch in recognition of his pioneering work in the areas of faith, health, and community organization with a special focus on underserved communities and social justice.

Dr. Hatch, one of the first African American Professors at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, was a lead planner and community organizer for the first rural Federally Qualified Health Center in the US.  The Center, located in Mound Bayou Mississippi, is a national example of the strength of organized communities to care for and seek justice for area residents, with particular focus on the most vulnerable.  Dr. Hatch’s work also offered early instances of addressing social drivers of health.  He is also known for his state and global efforts in the intersection of faith and health, including the effective engagement of community health workers.

The Hatch FaithHealth Lecture Series seeks to:

  • Provide open dialogue, story sharing, and innovation between faith and health communities to improve the quality of life in the communities/populations served.
  • Build stronger communities vested in bridging the space between the healing worlds of faith and health.
  • Encourage participants to think creatively and holistically, explore new perspectives and develop practical solutions for stronger communities.

Participants have represented several states and a range of organizations (e.g., health care systems, community and economic development organizations, faith-based organizations [including local churches and denominational groups], health plans, local and state public health and human service providers, federal health agencies, universities, and divinity schools).  Previous attendees have included pastors and lay leaders, students, faculty, healthcare professionals, government officials, policymakers, and leaders of community-based organizations.  There has also been representation from diverse geographic areas, age groups, and races/ethnicities.  Geographic representation has been enhanced since the introduction of live streaming.

Examples of themes/areas of focus have included:

  • “Honoring and Celebrating Health and Spirituality”
  • “Climate Change and Environmental Justice”
  • “Health Equity at Scale”
  • “Mental Health—An Expanded Landscape”
  • “Speaking Truth-Seeking Reconciliation”

Distinguished speakers, including faith and health leaders and community advocates, contribute theoretical, evidence-based, and experiential insights on issues relevant to the advancement of the FaithHealth movement.  Keynote speakers have included:

  • Richard Joyner, Founder Conetoe Family Life Enrichment Center, CNN Hero
  • Paul Cunningham, Dean Emeritus, Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University; Past President, NC Medical Society
  • Victor Armstrong, Former NC DHHS First Chief Health Equity Officer
  • Howard Koh, Harvey V. Fineberg Professor of the Practice of Public Health Leadership, Harvard University
  • Michael Regan, Former Secretary, NC Department of Environmental Quality (Presently, Administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency)
  • Somava Saha, Founder and Executive Lead, Well-being and Equity (WE) in the World
  • Michael Curry, Executive Director,Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers

Co-sponsors have included:

  • Shaw University Divinity School
  • ECU Department of Public Health
  • UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health
  • National Association of Community Health Centers
  • Maya Angelo Center for Health Equity
  • General Baptist State Convention of NC

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FaithHealth Magazine Fall 2022