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John Blevins of Emory to Address “What Really Matters?”

Dr. John Blevins of Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health will speak on the campus of Furman University Tuesday, Nov. 29, at 7 p.m. in Daniel Memorial Chapel. A reception follows his address.

Blevins, a 1989 Furman graduate, will deliver the L.D. Johnson lecture, “What Really Matters?” His Cultural Life Program talk is free and open to the public and is sponsored by Furman’s Office of the Chaplains.

The L.D. Johnson Lecture Series was established to honor the life and work of the late L.D. Johnson, Chaplain at Furman from 1967 to 1981. Each year, the lecture series invites a Furman graduate and a Furman faculty member or administrator to explore “What Really Matters?”

As part of the faculty in the Hubert Department of Global Health at Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health, Blevins is the Acting Director of the Interfaith Health Program (IHP).  Prior to joining the Global Health faculty, he worked as a chaplain to persons with HIV/AIDS in Atlanta and Chicago; coordinated patient education services for people living with HIV/AIDS in Atlanta’s public health system; managed a clinical training program on HIV, mental illness, and drug use in the Emory University School of Medicine; and served on the faculty of the Candler School of Theology at Emory.

Blevins has served as a consultant for the Emory School of Medicine in the fields of mental health, substance abuse, and HIV. In that capacity, he provided clinical education to practitioners in various HIV public health programs around the southeastern United States.

Blevins brings interdisciplinary scholarship and practice into the study of religion and public health.  He currently holds a secondary appointment in the Graduate Division of Religion in Emory’s Laney Graduate School and serves on the Executive Committee of Emory’s Religion and Public Health Collaborative.

Blevins coordinates IHP’s activities to build partnerships with religious leaders and faith-based organizations to address HIV and AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. This work is funded through the Center for Disease Control’s Division of Global HIV/AIDS and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). These activities focus on community-level HIV prevention initiatives in eastern and southern Africa that recognize the formative role of religious practice and religious institutions in shaping community norms that have a direct impact on HIV risk. Such efforts seek to mobilize religion as a positive force in public health initiatives.

Recognizing that religion does not always function as a positive force, Blevins and his IHP colleagues also examine tensions between religion and public health, particularly in regard to HIV prevention, sexual and reproductive health, and LGBT health.

Blevins holds a bachelor’s from Furman University where he graduated magna cum laude in 1989. He also holds a Master of Divinity from Duke University, and a Doctor of Theology from Emory University.

For more information, contact Susan Bennett in the Office of the Chaplains at (864) 294-2133, or

Last updated August 5, 2022
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Clinton Colmenares
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