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The Biology of Resilience: How Science and Faith Communities Can Work Together

Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, 2660 Woodley Rd NW, Washington, DC

AAAS 2019 Annual Meeting

This session will occur at the AAAS Annual Meeting on Friday, February 15, 2019 from 10:00 - 11:30 AM. To attend, please register at the AAAS Meetings website.


The study of resilience is a complex and multifaceted field involving neuroscience, medicine, and sociology. For these contemporary times, investigating resilience seems to be of increasing import. This symposium strives to understand the biological and environmental conditions that support resilience in humans. Data from forefront research using animal models for stress has informed scientists that resilience is a dynamic process often involving neurobiology. For people, the effects of trauma can have long-lasting impact on future health and mental well-being. In light of such challenges people may face, there is evidence that worldviews and social networks, including those of religious and faith communities, can undergird important frameworks needed for resilience. This session will provide an opportunity for dialogue on how the scientific and religious communities can work toward the common good of building resilience. Topics to be discussed include why some people are able to pick up the pieces of their lives after a crisis and flourish again, and whether there are ways to leverage what is known in science and medicine to create treatments for those suffering from trauma.


Se Kim, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

Curtis Baxter, AAAS Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion Program


Kimberly Konkel, Building Resilient Communities through Trauma Informed Congregations Community of Practice (TiCong)


Scott Russo, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Farha Abbasi, Michigan State University

Melissa Kelley, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry