Belmont, NC


Human Dignity at the End of Life

April 14, 2018 | 8:45AM - 6:15PM

WHEN Saturday, April 14, 2018, 8:45 am

WHERE Belmont Abbey College
100 Belmont-Mt. Holly Road
Belmont, NC 28012

about Converging Roads

Where Health Care Ethics and Medicine Converge
Converging Roads is a regional conference series offering continuing education for health care professionals that equips them to practice the highest ethical and medical standards of their profession. Converging Roads provides health care professionals, chaplains, students, and administrators with the most up-to-date training in health care ethics enabling them to more effectively care for their patients. An initiative of the St. John Paul II Foundation, Converging Roads is deeply rooted in the Catholic moral tradition and is presented in multiple local or regional conferences. Health care professionals receive continuing medical education credits, insight from national level speakers, and the opportunity for networking with local health care professionals.
Converging Roads™ is an initiative of the St. John Paul II Foundation and presented in collaboration with the Diocese of Charlotte and Belmont Abbey College. To learn more about Converging Roads, click here.


  • Physician/Physician Assistant: $159
  • Nurse: $139
  • Nurse Practitioner: $139
  • General Admission (other health care professionals)*: $79
  • General Admission (non-health care professionals)*: $79
  • Medical resident, clergy, or religious*: $69
  • Scholarship rate for medical and nursing students*: $10

*Not eligible for CME/CNE credits

  • Ministry Registration (including CME/CNE credits): $170
  • Ministry Registration (not including CME/CNE credits)*: $100
  • Vendor Registration (including CME/CNE credits): $220
  • Vendor Registration (not including CME/CNE credits)*: $150
*Not eligible for CME/CNE credits
For More Information:



7:00 AM
Registration Begins
7:30 AM
  • Lauds and Mass
  • Celebrant & Homilist: Abbot Placid Solari, O.S.B., Chancellor, Belmont Abbey College
8:45 AM
Opening Remarks
9:00-10:00 AM
  • Speaking with Patients and Families about Medical Futility and End of Life Care
  • Grattan T. Brown, S.T.D.
10:05-11:05 AM
  • Advanced Directives & MOST: Avoiding Medical and Ethical Pitfalls
  • Arland K. Nichols, Ph.D. (cand.)
11:05-11:20 AM
11:20 AM-12:20 PM
  • End of Life Issues at Life’s Beginning
  • Robin L. Pierucci, M.D., M.A
12:30-1:45 PM
Hippocratic Oath Luncheon
12:45-1:45 PM
  • The Nature and Treatment of Human Suffering
  • Michael J. Brescia, M.D.
1:45-2:00 PM
2:00-3:00 PM
  • Alleviating Suffering Through Palliative Care, Pain Management, and Hospice Care
  • Natalie Rodden, M.D.
3:05-4:05 PM
  • Dead or Alive? Analyzing the Neurological Criteria for Determining Death
  • Sister Terese Auer, O.P., Ph.D.
4:05-4:15 PM
4:15-5:15 PM
  • Legal Trends in Physician Assisted Suicide and the Medical Community’s Role in Addressing It
  • William L. Toffler, M.D.
5:15-6:15 PM
Closing Remarks and Wine & Cheese Reception


William L. Toffler, M.D.
Professor of Family Medicine, Oregon Health and Science University

William L. Toffler, M.D. is a Professor of Family Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University where he teaches medical students and residents and has a wide scope of practice ranging from delivering babies to geriatric and palliative care.Dr. Toffler is co-founder and National Director of Physicians for Compassionate Care Education Foundation (PCCEF), a non-profit organization that promotes compassionate care for severely ill patients without sanctioning or assisting their suicide. PCCEF physicians affirm an ethic based on the principle that all human life is inherently of value and that the physician's roles are to heal illness, alleviate suffering, and provide comfort for the sick and dying. He is committed to defending the long-standing, medical prohibition against doing harm. He has been a member of the Physicians Resource Council at Focus on the Family for the past 20 years. He has frequently invited to speak about these and other medical ethical issues at both national and international conferences and to be on US television and radio including the NPR, 60 Minutes, Good Morning America, as well as international media in Canada, the UK and Japan.

Arland K. Nichols, Ph.D. (cand.)
President, St. John Paul II Foundation

Arland K. Nichols, Ph.D. (cand.) is Founding President of the St. John Paul II Foundation in Houston. He is a member of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars and the Catholic Medical Association. Mr. Nichols received his BA in philosophy from Texas A&M, MA in Divinity from the University of St. Thomas Graduate School of Theology. He holds a certificate in Health Care Ethics from the National Catholic Bioethics Center and is completing his Doctorate in Bioethics from Regina Apostolorum in Rome. He has published several articles on health care ethics and spoken extensively across the United States.

Natalie Rodden, M.D.
Palliative Medicine Physician, St. Anthony North Health Campus, Westminster, CO

Natalie Rodden, M.D. is a palliative medicine physician at St. Anthony North Health Campus in Westminster, Colorado. She is a member of the Catholic Medical Association and the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Dr. Rodden received her B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and her MD from Tulane University. She completed internal medicine residency at the University of Utah and palliative medicine fellowship at the Mayo Clinic Arizona. During medical school, she founded the Catholic Medical Association Student section, a national organization with the goal of preparing students to uphold the principles of the Catholic faith in the science and practice of medicine. She was active in advancing efforts of support for Catholic healthcare workers in the Archdiocese of New Orleans and the Diocese of Salt Lake City. Her fellowship research on "improving spiritual competency at the Mayo Clinic" focused on encouraging a culture of awareness and comfort of health providers addressing spiritual issues, notably at the end of life. She currently leads an inpatient palliative care consultation service and serves as co-chair of her hospital's ethics committee.

Grattan T. Brown, S.T.D.
Associate Professor and Chair of Theology, Belmont Abbey College

Grattan T. Brown, S.T.D. is Associate Professor and Chair of Theology at Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina. He earned a B.A. in English at Washington and Lee University, an M.A in English at the University of Memphis, a bachelor’s degree in sacred theology (S.T.B) from the University of St. Thomas in Rome and his doctorate in sacred theology (S.T.D.), from the Accademia Alfonsiana in Rome. Dr. Brown has written on rights of conscience in health care, stem cell research, and medical futility and presented his work in conferences across the United States. He has contributed articles to the National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly, Christian Bioethics and Catholic Health Care Ethics: A Manual for Ethics Committees, the Encyclopedia of Catholic Social Thought, and the New Catholic Encyclopedia.

Sister Terese Auer, O.P., Ph.D.
Chair of Bioethics, Saint John Paul the Great High School

Sister Terese Auer, O.P., Ph.D. is the head of the bioethics department and a teacher at Saint John Paul the Great High School in Dumfries, Virginia. She is a board member of Human Life International. Sister Terese received her B.A. Degree in English from Silver Lake College, Manitowoc, WI, and her Master’s and Doctoral Degrees in Philosophy from the Center for Thomistic Studies at the University of St. Thomas, Houston, TX. Sister Terese has taught on the topic of contraception from an ethical perspective at both the high school (20 years) and college levels (11 years). She has written two textbooks for high school students, one which deals directly with the topic of contraception and the other which deals with the principles of ethics.

Michael J. Brescia, M.D.
Senior Vice President & Executive Medical Director, Calvary Hospital

Michael J. Brescia, M.D. is Senior Vice-President and Executive Medical Director of Calvary Hospital located at 1740 Eastchester Road, Bronx, NY 10461. He received his B.S. Degree from Fordham University, Bronx, NY and his MD from Georgetown University Medical School. Dr. Brescia is internationally famous for the invention of the AV Fistula which has world-wide acclaim for the preservation of life in terminal renal disease and in renal transplantation which is now an accepted mode of therapy. Dr. Brescia has received awards and lectured world-wide on hemodialysis and access. While at the peak of his career in organ transplantation, he surrendered the economic fortunes to develop and create a hospital of singular nature devoted to terminal cancer patients as the response to euthanasia and assisted suicide. At the present time, world-wide acclaim has resulted in visitors from nearly every European and Asian nation for education.

Robin L. Pierucci, M.D., M.A.
Neonatologist, Bronson Healthcare

Robin Pierucci, M.D., M.A. is a neonatologist and Medical Director NICU, Bronson Children’s Hospital Kalamazoo; a 50 bed NICU regional referral center for southwest Michigan. She is co-founder of the local CMA guild in Kalamazoo and sits on the NCPD (National Catholic Partnership on Disability) ethics committee. Dr. Pierucci received her MD from Rush Medical College and is board certified in pediatrics & Neonatology. She has also received a MA in Bioethics from the Medical College of Wisconsin and a certification in health care ethics from National Catholic Bioethics Center.  Dr. Pierucci authored several articles and wrote her masters thesis on utilization of palliative care in the NICU. She is involved in formation and utilization of palliative/end of life care at Bronson Hospital in both NICU and Perinatal service and a Clinical Associate Professor at Michigan State University.



Continuing education credits for healthcare professionals will be offered.


Belmont Abbey College

100 Belmont-Mt. Holly Road
Belmont, NC 28012

For More Information:
Susie Lopez, Conference Coordinator

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