Do you know that heparin sodium, a widely used anticoagulant (blood thinner) is a pork-derived product?
Unless you’re a biochemist, you probably don’t.
Concordia Interfaith Scholar Leslie Bellwood has found that information like this is becoming increasingly important for doctors and their patients to know and understand.
Many of the world’s religions, including Islam, Hinduism and Judaism, prohibit the consumption of pork, beef, chicken, shellfish or fish. Yet hundreds of medications on the market contain inactive ingredients derived from animal products.
Bellwood’s research shows that most healthcare professionals have not been trained in interfaith literacy and may not realize religious discrepancies in treatments or medications they prescribe to their patients.
In an increasingly pluralistic world, basic competency in religious diversity is crucial.
Bellwood is a biology and religion major at Concordia, with med school on the horizon. She believes being a religion major will set her apart in future med school and residency opportunities because of her unique skill set.
The sciences can feel removed from the human aspect, and religion is all about people and humanity. – Leslie Bellwood '15
Now, all students have the option to minor in interfaith studies at Concordia.
“No matter your major, you’ll eventually be working in a religiously diverse workplace,” says Dr. Jacqueline Bussie, director of Concordia’s Forum on Faith and Life and associate professor of religion.
The new interfaith studies minor has been approved for the 2016-17 academic year as part of the religion department, though the minor is interdisciplinary and will include electives from a number of programs.
Bussie says the interfaith studies minor is for anyone who wants to develop skills and literacy to work in a religiously diverse world. The cadre of professionals teaching Concordia’s interfaith classes includes 28 faculty from 11 different disciplines.
Laura Caroon '06 is a content strategist at Concordia College.