Belmont, NC

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.
  • Online registration closed on Thursday, April 12 at 12 pm (noon) ET.
  • On-site registration will be available in the Haid Theatre/Ballroom Lobby at Belmont Abbey College on Saturday, April 14 beginning at 7:00 am.

Human Dignity at the End of Life

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


  • Physician/Physician Assistant: $159
  • Nurse/Nurse Practitioner: $139
  • General Admission*: $79
  • (Other health care professionals and non-health care professionals)
  • Medical resident, clergy, or religious*: $69
  • Student Scholarship Rate**: $10
  • (Undergraduate, graduate, medical, and nursing students)
  • *Not eligible for CME/CNE credits, however, Social Worker/Chaplain certificates of completion can be requested upon registration for continuing education purposes.
  • **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, however, Social Worker/Chaplain certificates of completion can be requested upon registration for continuing education purposes.

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 Criterion 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


Professor Emeritus, Family Medicine, Oregon Health and Science University

Dr. William Toffler is Professor Emeritus of Family Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University where he practiced the full scope of family medicine and taught medical students and residents for more than 34 years. He 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 more than 20 years.  He has frequently invited to speak about medical ethical issues at both national and international conferences and on US television and radio including the NPR, 60 Minutes, Good Morning America, as well as international media in Canada, Australia, the UK and Japan.

President, St. John Paul II Foundation

Arland K. Nichols is president and founder of the St. John Paul II Foundation. Early in his career, as an educator and non-profit executive, he became a popular speaker and successful writer while he established the groundwork for the initiatives that would become the St. John Paul II Foundation. Arland launched the St. John Paul II Foundation in 2014 and he is author of the 4th edition of the Handbook on Critical Life Issues published in 2024 by the National Catholic Bioethics Center. Arland earned a B.A. in philosophy from Texas A&M, an M.Div. in Theology from University of St. Thomas, and pursued doctoral studies in bioethics at Regina Apostolorum in Rome. With the generous support of his wife, Cindy, and their ten children, Arland is blessed to lead the St. John Paul II Foundation as it serves, educates, and supports medical professionals, married couples, and clergy.

Palliative Medicine Physician, Intermountain Healthcare

Dr. Natalie King is a palliative medicine physician who specializes in caring for patients with serious illness and nearing the end of life. She is originally from Indiana and attended the University of Notre Dame. While in medical school at Tulane University, she founded the Catholic Medical Association Student Section. She completed internal medicine residency at the University of Utah and palliative medicine fellowship at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona. After fellowship she worked as a palliative medicine physician in Denver, Colorado, helping lead her hospital’s ethics committee and teach trainees. She completed a master’s degree in bioethics from The Ohio State University, partnering with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to improve education around palliative care for Catholic laity. She has organized a forum for the Catholic Medical Association on end-of-life issues. She is passionate about education and advocacy about palliative medicine and ethical issues relating to serious illness and the end-of-life and is set to have a book released by Ave Maria Press in fall of 2024. She lives with her husband and daughter in Salt Lake City, Utah, and works at Intermountain Healthcare.

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.

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 Potomac Shores, 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 at the high school and college levels for about 40 years.  She has also written two textbooks for high school students: The Human Person ~ Dignity Beyond Compare and Called to Happiness ~ Guiding Ethical Principles.

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.

Neonatologist and Medical Director

Dr. Robin Pierucci is Jewish convert to Catholicism, a wife, mother of three, and a practicing neonatologist. She also has a master’s degree in bioethics as well as completing the National Catholic Bioethics Center ethics certificate course. In addition to her full-time clinical duties within the NICU, Dr. Pierucci remains active in perinatal palliative care, as well as leading ongoing performance improvement projects for drug exposed infants and their families.  She has multiple publications in peer and non-peer reviewed journals and has spoken around the country on multiple perinatal and ethical topics.  Additionally, Dr. Pierucci has appeared on a number of programs aired on EWTN including, Women of Grace, The Journey Home, EWTN Live, and her documentary about in vitro fertilization.  She has been a member of the Catholic Medical Association for many years and has recently became an associate scholar with the Charlotte Lozier Institute and a board member of the American College of Pediatrics.



Accreditation Statement
This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of Christian Medical & Dental Associations and St. John Paul II Foundation. The Christian Medical & Dental Associations is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The AMA Designation Statement
The Christian Medical & Dental Associations designates this educational activity for a maximum of 7 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits(s)™. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Physician Assistant
AAPA accepts certificates of participation for educational activities certified for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. by an organization accredited by the ACCME or a recognized state medical society.
Physician assistants may receive up to 7 credits for completing this activity.

Nurse Practitioner
The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program (AANPCP) accepts AMA PRA
Category 1 Credit™ from organizations accredited by the ACCME. Individuals are responsible for
checking with the AANPCP for further guidelines.
Nurse practitioners may receive up to 7 credits for completing this activity.

This activity has been submitted to the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses
(AAOHN ) for approval to award contact hours. AAOHN is an accredited approver of continuing
nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation. Determination of approval is pending.


  • -Define death and the dead donor rule and discuss its importance. Identify criteria for determining death and clinical signs that a patient has died. Discuss philosophical, medical and ethical considerations surrounding organ donation following diagnosis of death using neurological criteria.
  • -Discuss the importance of walking with a patient at the end of life. Identify specific measures which can assist patients to embrace peace.
  • -Define ordinary and extraordinary means and provide specific examples. Describe what kinds of treatments and procedures are futile.
  • -Distinguish between living will and medical power of attorney and describe the ethical concerns arising from their use or lack thereof. Indicate how DNR and MOST impacts the course of treatment and care offered to patients.
  • -Demonstrate an understanding of the ethical issues associated with the care of neonatal and fetal patients and how these may differ from the same kind of care at other stages of life.
  • -Define palliative care. Describe pain management regimens which help relieve suffering most effectively at the end of life. 
  • -Discuss the legal trends of physician assisted suicide in the U.S. and North Carolina. Identify ways in which the medical community can address physician assisted suicide in their respective areas of medicine.

Social Workers & Chaplains
The St. John Paul II Foundation can provide a certificate of completion for the 7 hours of continuing education offered at this Converging Roads conference. Please be sure to select your appropriate ticket option and mark your request on your registration form. For questions, please email [email protected]


Belmont Abbey College

100 Belmont-Mt. Holly Road
Belmont, NC 28012

For More Information:
Susie Lopez, Conference Coordinator
[email protected]





    1177 W Loop South, Ste. 940
    Houston, TX 77027


    P.O. Box 5927
    Katy, TX 77491