Biography

Jeff Levin, Ph.D., M.P.H., an epidemiologist and religious scholar, holds a distinguished chair at Baylor University, where he is University Professor of Epidemiology and Population Health, Professor of Medical Humanities, and Director of the Program on Religion and Population Health at the Institute for Studies of Religion.  He is also Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University School of Medicine, where he is a Faculty Scholar at the Duke Center for Spirituality, Theology, and Health.  In addition, he serves as an Affiliated Member of the Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the Baylor College of Medicine.

Dr. Levin received his A.B. from Duke University in 1981, graduating Magna Cum Laude and with Distinction in both Religion and Sociology, under the mentorship of the late Dr. C. Eric Lincoln.  He received his M.P.H. in 1983 from the University of North Carolina School of Public Health, and his Ph.D. in Preventive Medicine and Community Health in 1987 from the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at The University of Texas Medical Branch.  He also completed a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Postdoctoral Research Fellowship from 1987 to 1989 at the Institute of Gerontology of the University of Michigan, and has additional advanced training in quantitative methods from the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research at the University of Michigan.

Dr. Levin is a pioneering scientist whose research and writing beginning in the 1980s helped to create the field of religion, spirituality, and health.  He was the first scientist to systematically review the research literature on religion and health, and the first scientist funded by the NIH to conduct research on the topic.  His studies have pioneered basic research in the epidemiology of religion and on the impact of religion on the physical and mental health and general well-being of older adults.  His research has been funded by several NIH grants, totaling over $1 million in support, and he also has received funding from private sources, including the American Medical Association’s Education and Research Foundation.

Dr. Levin is professionally affiliated with leading organizations at the interface of religion, science, and medicine.  He serves as a member of the Extended Faculty of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, and was Chairman of the NIH Working Group on Quantitative Methods in Alternative Medicine and a member of the NIH Workgroup on Measures of Religiousness and Spirituality for the National Institute on Aging.  He is a current or past member of the Editorial Boards of nine peer-reviewed scientific journals, including the Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences; The Gerontologist; the Journal of Religion and Health; the Journal of Religion, Spirituality and Aging; Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine; Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine; the International Journal of Healing and Caring; Religions; and EXPLORE:  The Journal of Science and Healing.  In 2002, he was elected a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America, in recognition of outstanding career achievement and exemplary contributions to the field of gerontology.

Dr. Levin is the author or co-author of over 200 scholarly publications, as well as over 160 conference presentations and invited lectures and addresses, mostly on the role of religion in physical and mental health and aging.  These include ten books, most notably the bestselling God, Faith, and Health:  Exploring the Spirituality-Healing Connection (New York, NY:  John Wiley & Sons, 2001). He is also editor of Religion in Aging and Health:  Theoretical Foundations and Methodological Frontiers (Thousand Oaks, CA:  Sage Publications, 1994); co-author of Religion in the Lives of African Americans:  Social, Psychological, and Health Perspectives (Thousand Oaks, CA:  Sage Publications, 2004); and co-editor of Essentials of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (Philadelphia, PA:  Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 1999), Faith, Medicine, and Science:  A Festschrift in Honor of Dr. David B. Larson (New York, NY:  The Haworth Pastoral Press, 2005), Divine Love:  Perspectives from the World’s Religious Traditions (West Conshohocken, PA:  Templeton Press, 2010), Healing to All Their Flesh:  Jewish and Christian Perspectives on Spirituality, Theology, and Health (West Conshohocken, PA:  Templeton Press, 2012), and Judaism and Health:  A Handbook of Practical, Professional and Scholarly References (Woodstock, VT:  Jewish Lights Publlishing, 2013).  Forthcoming book projects include an authored work, Upon These Three Things:  Jewish Perspectives on Loving God (Waco, TX:  ISR Books, 2015), and an edited volume, Religion and the Social Sciences:  Basic and Applied Research Perspectives (West Conshohocken, PA:  Templeton Press, 2015).  According to the Institute for Scientific Information, since 1981 Dr. Levin has been one of the most highly cited social scientists in the world.

Dr. Levin is an internationally known scientist and has lectured throughout the world on most aspects of the interface of religion and medicine—scientific, clinical, methodological, historical, theological, metaphysical, and with respect to public health and health policy.  His research has been featured in The Washington Post, USA Today, Christian Science Monitor, Huffington Post, Newsday, JAMA, Modern Maturity, Tikkun, Moment, Spirituality and Health, and in cover stories in Time, Readers’ Digest, and Macleans, as well as on national radio and television, including CNN, NPR, PBS, CBS, FOX, and CBN.  His biography has been included in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in Theology & Science, Who’s Who in Science and Engineering, and International Who’s Who in Medicine.  In 2001, a statement in praise of his work was read into the Congressional Record from the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.  He is a recipient of both the 1996 and 1997 Prize for Exemplary Papers in Religion and the Medical Sciences given by the John Templeton Foundation, and of numerous named or endowed lectureships.  In 1997, he served as Distinguished Lecturer in Gerontology at Duke University Medical Center, and delivered the First Annual K.J. Lee Fellowship Lecture in Complementary and Alternative Medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.  In 2003, he delivered the First Annual David B. Larson Memorial Lecture in Religion and Health at Duke University Medical Center and the Sixth Annual Richard J. DeBottis Memorial Lecture in Gerontology at the University of Houston.  In 2004, he delivered the Second Annual Blair Justice Lecture in Mind-Body Medicine and Public Health at the University of Texas School of Public Health.  In 2006, he delivered the Fifth Annual Spirituality and Health Forum Lecture at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.  In 2012, he delivered the annual John E. Fellers Lecture at the Institute for Spirituality and Health at Texas Medical Center in Houston, and the 26th Annual Thomas Nevola, M.D., Symposium Lecture at Colby College.  In 2014, he delivered the Third Annual Richard H. Fitzgerald Lecture in Pastoral Education at Roper St. Francis Healthcare in Charleston, SC.

Dr. Levin is married to Dr. Lea Steele, a neuroepidemiologist and human ecologist.  Dr. Steele is Professor of Neuropsychiatry and the Beth K. and Stuart C. Yudofsky Chair in Behavioral Neuroscience at the Baylor College of Medicine, and is former Scientific Director of the Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.