Praying with Dr.

Dr. Daniel Sulmasy must really like to study. He went to medical school, has a doctorate in philosophy and is a Franciscan friar.

Yesterday, I interviewed Sulmasy, director of the Bioethics Institute at New York Medical College in Valhalla, about a very interesting recent achievement of his. He got the journal of the American Medical Association to publish an article about religion. God’s in it. Miracles. Prayer. All that stuff.

Medical journals normally deal with diseases and treatments, not the spiritual needs of patients. But Sulmasy’s article made the case that doctors should, at times, talk to patients about their religious beliefs.

I’ll write next week about Sulmasy’s work and his journal article. But I wanted to share one tidbit now. In his article, he cited a study that showed that 77 percent of patients want physicians to consider their spiritual needs — and 48 percent of patients want their doctors to pray with them.

Pray with them?

I asked Sulmasy, based on his experience with doctors, how many would feel comfortable praying with their patients. His guess: “In the South, maybe 25 percent. In the New York area, less than 1 percent.”

Gary Stern

Gary Stern covered education in the Lower Hudson Valley for several years during the early 1990s. Now's he back on the beat. He believes that schools are one of the main reasons that people live around here and that educational issues -- from curriculum to financing -- are among the most challenging things that journalists can write about. He continues to be amazed by the complexity of educational jargon. Gary got his B.A. at SUNY Buffalo and his M.A. from the University of Missouri Journalism School (where his master's thesis was about the best ways to cover education). He lives in White Plains with his wife and two sons, who attend public schools.