Online registration closed on Thursday, October 10 at noon.
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.
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. Dr. King currently lives with her family in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Paul W. Hruz is Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Associate Professor of Cellular Biology and Physiology at Washington University in St. Louis. Hruz received his Bachelor's Degree in Chemistry from Marquette University in 1987. As a member of the Medical Scientist Training Program at the Medical College of Wisconsin, he received his Ph.D. Degree in Biochemistry in 1993 and M.D. Degree in 1994. He completed Residency training in Pediatrics at the University of Washington in Seattle and a Pediatric Endocrinology fellowship at Washington University. Hruz served at the Chief of the Division of Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes at Washington University from 2012-2017. He is a member of the University's Disorders of Sexual Development (DSD) Multidisciplinary Care Program. Hruz is board certified in Pediatrics and Pediatric Endocrinology. He has also received certification in Healthcare Ethics from the National Catholic Bioethics Center. He has authored over 60 peer-reviewed manuscripts, scientific reviews and book chapters.
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 Philosophers in Jesuit Education. 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. In 2019, Dr. Cavanaugh received the Smith Award from University Faculty for Life for his scholarship in medical ethics.
Since 2014, Elliott Bedford, MA, PhD has served as Director, Ethics Integration for Ascension St. Vincent in Central and Southern Indiana. In 2008 and 2009, he received a bachelor and master of arts in Philosophy from Franciscan University of Steubenville, Steubenville, OH. He completed a master of arts in Theology from Aquinas Institute of Theology, St. Louis, MO. in 2012 and obtained a Doctorate in Health Care Ethics, Catholic Tradition, from St. Louis University, St. Louis, MO in 2014. As Director, Ethics Integration, Elliott provides leadership in fostering the moral identity of St. Vincent Health in Indiana as ministry of the Catholic Church. Working with staff from senior leadership to frontline care providers, he leads the development and integration of ethics education, consultation, and policy development services for St. Vincent’s 20 acute care facilities and roughly 16,000 associates. He also works closely with Ethics leadership at Ascension Health in St. Louis, Missouri to provide support services across its nationwide ministry and helps foster relationships with the Catholic dioceses of Lafayette-in-Indiana and Evansville, and the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. He is also an adjunct professor in the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Marian University, Indianapolis.
Richard M. Doerflinger is a Vita Faculty Fellow with the University of Notre Dame’s de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture and an Adjunct Fellow in Bioethics and Public Policy at the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia. He was formerly Associate Director of the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, where he worked for 36 years. Among his duties was the preparation of policy statements and congressional testimony on abortion, euthanasia, conscience rights in health care, embryo research, and other medical-moral issues for the bishops’ conference. He is also a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life. Mr. Doerflinger has testified before Congress, the National Bioethics Advisory Commission, the National Institutes of Health, the President’s Council on Bioethics, and several state legislatures on the way public policy treats human life at its most vulnerable stages. His writings on medical ethics and public policy include contributions to The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, The Hastings Center Report, Duquesne Law Review, Cell Proliferation, the Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal, the Encyclopedia of Catholic Doctrine (Our Sunday Visitor Press 1997), the National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly, Human Life Review, The Public Discourse, and the American Journal of Bioethics. His monthly column “A More Human Society” is syndicated by Catholic News Service and published in many Catholic newspapers. He holds a BA degree and an MA in Divinity from the University of Chicago, and conducted doctoral studies in Theology at that institution and the Catholic University of America. In January 2009, Mr. Doerflinger became one of the first recipients of the Gerard Health Foundation’s “Life Prize,” honoring efforts to awaken the conscience of America to the sanctity of human life. In April 2011, he became the first recipient of the Evangelium Vitae Medal, awarded annually by the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Ethics and Culture “to honor individuals whose outstanding efforts have served to proclaim the Gospel of Life by steadfastly affirming and defending the sanctity of human life from its earliest stages.”
Erica Laethem, Be.L., Ph.D.(cand.) is a healthcare ethicist with over ten years of experience working in Catholic health care. She currently serves as regional director of ethics for OSF HealthCare, where she carries out ethics consultations, contributes to policy development, provides ethics education, and collaborates with leaders to integrate ethics into everyday professional practice. Erica is also an adjunct assistant professor of nursing ethics in the graduate program at OSF Saint Anthony College of Nursing and is assisting in the development of the new medical ethics curriculum for the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Rockford, where she also teaches. Prior to her current roles, Erica worked as a Director of Clinical Ethics for Presence Health and for Resurrection Health Care in Chicago. She has served as a healthcare ethicist in diverse urban, suburban, rural, inpatient, outpatient, home care and corporate settings. Erica has a licentiate degree in bioethics from the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome, has a bachelor of arts from the University of Michigan and is finishing a PhD in bioethics.
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