Non-religious doctors just as likely to care for poor

Doctor and Child

Doctors who said they were “spiritual, but not religious,” also ranked high in caring for the poor.

“We can say a lot of doctors are doing a lot of good, whether religious or not,” said Dr. Farr Curlin, one of the authors of the study, published in the Annals of Family Medicine.

Most studies show religious people more likely than others to help the poor, according to Dr. Harold Koenig, director for the Center for the Study of Religion, Spirituality and Health at Duke University.

“But nobody has looked at this question in physicians,” he said. “It’s the largest and most systematic study of U.S. physicians. The fact that there weren’t large differences is interesting.”

…Curlin, who attends a nondenominational church, said the findings disappointed him.

“Caring for the poor is an expression of faithfulness and commitment,” he said. “But many religious physicians don’t make the connection.”

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