About Faith Based Health Initiatives
The Tennessee Department of Health (TDOH) began the Faith-Based Health Initiative (FBHI) on June 1, 2004. The goals of FBHI are to:
- Reduce health disparities in the State of Tennessee through the collaborative efforts of FBHI and the Better Health: It’s About Time! initiative;
- Identify opportunities, document participation, and sustain relationships between public health and faith communities for active collaborations; and
- Connect TDOH resources with faith communities to promote healthy practices.
FBHI offers various programs and assistance for faith-based organizations who are interested in developing a health ministry, including training, resources and coordination. FBHI delivers training and technical assistance for government and community organizations who are developing relationships in the faith community. The Initiative also provides a speakers bureau for organizations who are interested in the faith and health connection, provides a database of congregations with health ministries partnering with TDOH, and serves as a clearinghouse for faith and health information.
TDOH values partnerships with the faith community because they can provide sustained social support in implementing and maintaining healthy behaviors, can communicate healthy messages to congregation members as well as hard-to-reach family members, and have expertise in mobilizing volunteers.
Federal Faith Based Initiative
Executive Order 13199 created the White House Office of Faith-Based & Community Initiatives on January 29, 2001. The Executive Order reads as follows:
“Starting now, the Federal Government is adopting a new attitude to honor and not restrict faith-based and community initiatives, to accept rather than dismiss such programs, and to empower rather than ignore them.
In welfare and social policy, the Federal Government will play a new role as supporter, enabler, catalyst and collaborator with faith-based and community organizations. We will build on past innovations, most notably bipartisan Charitable Choice legislation, but move forward to make Federal programs more friendly to faith-based and community solutions.
This initiative is not anti-government, but pro-results. It is designed to make sure that faith-based community-serving groups have a seat at the table. It will eliminate the federal government’s discrimination against faith-based organizations while also applauding and aiding secular nonprofit initiatives. It will reach out to grassroots groups without marginalizing established organizations. America has a strong, thriving nonprofit [and faith] sector.”
For more information, go to www.whitehouse.gov/news/reports/faithbased.html.