San Francisco, CA


The Heart of End of Life Care: Catholic Social Doctrine

November 17, 2018 | 8:30AM - 7:30PM

  • "Converging Roads is a wonderful opportunity for you, our local medical professionals, to be renewed, informed, and inspired as you care for your patients. I encourage all involved in health care to attend as together we explore how to integrate ethical convictions and medical expertise in the care we provide the whole person." – Most Rev. Salvatore J. Cordileone, Archbishop of San Francisco

WHEN Saturday, November 17, 2018, 8:30 am

WHERE The Event Center at Saint Mary's Cathedral, St. Francis Hall
1111 Gough Street
San Francisco, CA 94109

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 Archdiocese of San Francisco, the University of San Francisco, and Region XI of the Catholic Medical Association. To learn more about Converging Roads, click here.


  • Physician/Physician Assistant: $149
  • Nurse/Nurse Practitioner: $129
  • General Admission*: $79
  • (Other health care professionals and non-health care professionals)
  • Medical resident, clergy, or religious*: $69
  • Student Scholarship Rate**: $15
  • (Medical, nursing, graduate, and undergraduate 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:




7:30 AM
  • Registration/Breakfast Begins
8:30 AM
Opening Remarks
8:45 - 9:45 AM
  • Care for the Sick and Dying: Rooted in Catholic Social Doctrine
  • Christopher Kaczor, Ph.D.
9:45  -10:45 AM
  • The Hippocratic Oath: Countering a Secularist Bioethics
  • Thomas A. Cavanaugh, Ph.D.
10:45 AM - 11:00 AM
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
  • Proportionate, Disproportionate, and Futile: What's the Difference and What Difference Does it Make?
  • Arland K. Nichols Ph.D. (cand.)
12:00 - 12:35 PM
12:35 - 1:35 PM
  • Accompanying and Shepherding the Sick and Dying into New Life
  • Michael J. Brescia, M.D.
1:35 - 1:55 PM
1:55 - 2:55 PM
  • Alleviating Suffering through Palliative Care and Pain Management
  • Natalie Rodden, M.D.
2:55 - 3:55 PM
  • The Catholic Health Care Worker in an Era of Secular Medical Ethics
  • Ashley K. Fernandes, M.D., Ph.D.
3:55 - 4:05 PM
4:05 - 5:05 PM
  • Conscience Rights of Medical Professionals in the Face of Assisted Suicide
  • William L. Toffler, M.D.
5:30 - 6:30 PM
White Mass
  • Celebrant: Most Rev. Robert F. Christian, OP,
  • Auxiliary Bishop of San Francisco
6:45 - 7:30 PM
 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.

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.

Ashley K. Fernandes, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Pediatrics, and Associate Director, Center for Bioethics, The Ohio State University College of Medicine

Ashley K. Fernandes, M.D., Ph.D. is the Associate Director of the Center for Bioethics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine, and an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. He received an MA in Philosophy from Johns Hopkins University; an MD from The Ohio State University; and a PhD in Philosophy (Bioethics) from Georgetown University. Dr. Fernandes is board certified in General Pediatrics. Focusing on bioethics and professionalism education scholarship, he also practices both hospital and ambulatory pediatrics. Dr. Fernandes is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, an elected member of the AAP’s Executive Committee on Bioethics, a member of the AOA Medical Honor Society, and a member of the Gold Humanism Honor Society, receiving the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine award in 2010. He has been the recipient of numerous teaching awards, most recently The Ohio State University College of Medicine’s “Courage to Teach” and “Inspire” Awards. Dr. Fernandes has been a member of the Catholic Medical Association since medical school, and is a member of their national speaker board, traveling across the country to speak on issues in Christian bioethics. He is also an advisor to the CMA Medical Student Section, which awarded him the national Mentor of the Year Award in 2015. He lives with his wife Shruti (a family physician) and two boys in Dublin, Ohio.

Christopher Kaczor, Ph.D.
Professor of Philosophy, Loyola Marymount Univeristy

Christpher Kaczor, Ph.D. is Professor of Philosophy at Loyola Marymount University. He is a member of the James Madison Society of Princeton University, the Pontifical Academy for Life of Vatican City, and a Consultor to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. He graduated from the Honors Program of Boston College and earned a Ph.D. four years later from the University of Notre Dame. A Fulbright Scholar and an award winning author, his fourteen books including Abortion Rights: For and Against, 365 Days to Deeper Faith, The Gospel of Happiness, The Seven Big Myths about Marriage, A Defense of Dignity, The Seven Big Myths about the Catholic Church, The Ethics of Abortion, O Rare Ralph McInerny: Stories and Reflections on a Legendary Notre Dame Professor, Thomas Aquinas on the Cardinal Virtues; Life Issues-Medical Choices; Thomas Aquinas on Faith, Hope, and Love; The Edge of Life, and Proportionalism and the Natural Law Tradition. Dr. Kaczor’s views have been in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, National Review, NPR, BBC, EWTN, ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, MSNBC, TEDx, and The Today Show.

Thomas A. Cavanaugh, Ph.D.
Professor of Philosophy, University of San Francisco

Thomas A. Cavanaugh, Ph.D. is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of San Francisco, San Francisco, California. He is an Executive Board Member of both the American Catholic Philosophical Association (of which he will be president in 2020) and the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars. Professor Cavanaugh has his B.A. Degree from Thomas Aquinas College and his Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame. Professor Cavanaugh has published a book with Oxford University Press on the Hippocratic Oath entitled, Hippocrates’ Oath and Asclepius’ Snake: The Birth of the Medical Profession (2018). At the University of San Francisco he regularly teaches about the Hippocratic Oath and medical ethics more generally. He has done so for the past twenty-five years. His other book entitled Double-effect Reasoning and published by Oxford University Press (2006) also concerns medical ethics, as do many of his articles.



The Event Center at Saint Mary's Cathedral

1111 Gough Street
San Francisco, CA 94109

For More Information:
Aubrie Miller, Conference Coordinator

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