The Integration of Select Aspects of Educational Foundations as Applied to Health Care Education: A Religious Perspective

Article excerpt

With the advent of globalization and the advancement in technologies, many institutions of higher learning are now utilizing innovative relationships that cross disciplinary, institutional, and natural boundaries through collaboration (Martin, 2005). In so doing, Catholic educational institutions may advance their own mission and vision by embracing these concepts of innovation and collaboration in education. In order to promote an institution's mission, as well as vision, all members must collaborate (Fox, 2005). Collaboration will be essential in fostering interconnectedness within the diverse Catholic community as well as among the other communities at large (Casey, 2006). Collaboration may bring about innovation to further a Catholic institution's mission and vision by allowing the institution to remain constant in its core values amidst an ever-changing milieu. According to Barr (1996), former Associate Professor and Director of the Division of Rheumatology in the Stritch School of Medicine of Loyola University Chicago, he states that:

   ... Jesuit medical schools offer a
   unique educational experience that
   is consistent with the mission of the
   Society of Jesus and the larger church
   it serves. Efforts to sustain that commitment
   must rely on a unifying vision
   that relates our religious tradition to
   biomedical education in ways that are
   meaningful and possible for the 21st
   century. The realization of such a vision
   demands that the Jesuit academic
   health center include a robust Catholic
   community energized by its commitment
   to bring Catholic values to health
   care. (p. 7)

Nested within a Catholic education is a philosophical education, although currently, very few Catholic institutions "Require students to take courses which amount to a sound philosophical education" (Pakaluk, 2012, p. 1). Collaboration and innovation may become paramount in maintaining a sound philosophical foundation to build a strong Catholic education for future students. A competent understanding of philosophy is just as important for training priests, apparent in the Vatican decree titled "On the Reform of Ecclesiastical Studies of Philosophy", as it is for health care professionals and other vocations in higher education (Pakaluk, 2012). The Vatican decree notes four vital reasons for incorporating a philosophical education for the higher education of Catholics, namely:

1) ... directly concerned with asking the question of life's meaning and sketching an answer to it; 2) ... only through philosophy can a student attain integration of his studies and, therefore, later on, a much-needed unity of life as a professional; 3) ... essential if college-educated persons are to show charity, since charity is inseparable from truth; and 4) ... make it possible to think, know and reason with precision, and also to dialogue with everyone incisively and fearlessly. (Pakaluk, 2012, p. 1)

Collaboration can become the catalyst for advancing the education of future professionals with understanding the importance of philosophy's role in aiding in the synthesis and integration of knowledge of different disciplines.

Given the dynamic relationship of innovation and collaboration and the fact that knowledge should never be compartmentalized (M. Fredericks, Odiet, Miller, & J. Fredericks, 2004) this paper will focus upon select interrelationships of Catholic theology, philosophy, as well as the natural and social sciences. This paper will present a simple conceptual model, the society-culture-personality (SCP) model that can be used as an organizational device for future health care professionals and students to aid them in developing a better understanding and appreciation of the interrelationships between the disciplines within a Catholic institution.

The society-culture-personality (SCP) model has been established in the literature elsewhere (Fredericks, 1971). The SCP model may assist future health care professionals in the comprehension of concepts and theories to integrate in their patient care (Figure 1). …