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. To learn more about Converging Roads, click here.
  • "What I appreciated most about Converging Roads was the fact that each issue was treated with care and with nuance. It was not the same arguments I have always heard, and each issue was examined from multiple perspectives. Presenters were well informed in medicine, ethics, and Catholic teaching, providing well rounded presentations that honored both God and science."
  • -Previous Converging Roads attendee



Online registration closed on Thursday, February 27 at noon.

  • On-site registration will be available on Saturday, February 29 on the third floor of the Outpatient Center at CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Hospital beginning at 7:45 am.
  • Opening remarks begin at 9:00 am.
  • CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Hospital - Conference Room 3A/3B
  • 3330 Masonic Dr, Alexandria, LA 71301
  • Cash, check, or credit cards will be accepted.

If you have any questions ahead of Saturday's event, please contact Erin Vallagomesa at [email protected].

Ticket Options:
  • 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, and nursing, graduate, and undergraduate students)
  • *Not eligible for CME/CNE credits, however, Chaplain certificates of completion can be requested upon registration for continuing education purposes.
  • **Not eligible for CME/CNE credits.

Exhibitor Opportunities:
Includes 1 exhibitor booth and admission for 1 organizational representative
  • Ministry/Non-Profit (including CME/CNE credits): $170
  • Ministry/Non-Profit (not including CME/CNE credits)*: $100
  • Vendor/For-Profit (including CME/CNE credits): $220
  • Vendor/For-Profit (not including CME/CNE credits)*: $150
  • *Not eligible for CME/CNE credits, however, Chaplain certificates of completion can be requested upon registration for continuing education purposes.


  • The Hippocratic Oath: Countering a Secularist Bioethics
  • Thomas A. Cavanaugh, PhD
  • Dignity of the Patient
  • Arland K. Nichols, PhD (cand.)
  • Proportionate vs. Disproportionate Means and Pain Management
  • Rev. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, PhD
  • End of Life Decision Making & Advance Directives
  • Natalie Rodden, MD
  • A Catholic Response to the Opioid Crisis
  • Jeffrey Berger, MD, FASAM
  • Physician Heal Thy Self
  • Maricela P. Moffitt, MD, MPH, FACP
  • Women’s Healthcare
  • Susan Caldwell, MD, CFCMC, Rev. Brian Gunter, and Elizabeth Wilson, LCSW




7:45 AM
Mass Check-In/Registration Begins
9:00 AM
Opening Remarks
9:10 - 10:10 AM
The Hippocratic Oath: Countering a Secularist Bioethics
10:15 - 11:15 AM
Dignity of the Patient
11:15 - 11:30 AM
11:30 AM - 12:30 PM
A Catholic Response to the Opioid Crisis
12:30 - 2:00 PM
Hippocratic Oath Luncheon: Proportionate vs Disproportionate Means and Pain Management
2:00 - 2:20 PM
2:20 - 3:20 PM
End of Life Decision Making and Advance Directives
3:25 - 4:25 PM
Physician Heal Thy Self
4:25 - 4:40 PM
4:40 - 5:40 PM
Women's Healthcare
5:40 - 6:30 PM
Wine & Cheese Reception


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.

Director of Education, The National Catholic Bioethics Center

Fr. Tad currently serves as the Director of Education at The National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia and directs the Center's National Catholic Certification Program in Health Care Ethics. He is a priest of the diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts. He writes and speaks widely on bioethics and medical ethics. Since 2001, he has given several hundred presentations and invited lectures, and participated in debates and roundtables on contemporary bioethics throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe. He has taught bioethics classes for seminarians at St. John's Seminary in Boston, Pope St. John XXIII Seminary in Weston, Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. and Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Connecticut. As an undergraduate Fr. Tad earned degrees in philosophy, biochemistry, molecular cell biology, and chemistry, and did laboratory research on hormonal regulation of the immune response. He later earned a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Yale University, where he focused on cloning genes for neurotransmitter transporters which are expressed in the brain. He worked for several years as a molecular biologist at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School. Father Tad studied for 5 years in Rome at both the Gregorian University and the Lateran University, where he did advanced work in dogmatic theology and in bioethics, examining the question of delayed ensoulment of the human embryo. He has testified before members of the Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Virginia and Oregon State Legislatures during deliberations over stem cell research and cloning. He writes a monthly newspaper column on bioethics that is nationally syndicated to more than 40 diocesan newspapers in the U.S., and which has also been carried by newspapers in England, Poland and Australia. He has done commentaries for numerous media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, CNN International, ABC World News Tonight, National Public Radio, the Wall Street Journal, the Dallas Morning News, and the New York Times.

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 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.

Medical Director, Guest House

Jeffrey Berger, MD, FASAM is a graduate of the Wayne State University School of Medicine. He is boarded in both Internal Medicine and Addiction Medicine. Dr. Berger has worked in Addiction Medicine since 1983. He is past Medical Director of Brighton Hospital and currently is Medical Director at Guest House, a lay-run organization for Catholic clergy and religious who suffer from addictive disorders.

Professor of Internal Medicine, University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix

Maricela P. Moffitt, MD, MPH, FACP graduated from the University of Texas Medical School at Houston in 1986. She is Board certified in Internal Medicine and has practice Medicine for 28 years in Arizona. She obtained a Masters degree in Public Health in 1994 at the University of Arizona. Her research interest include Tuberculosis and medical education. She is currently holds the academic rank of Professor of Medicine and serves as the Director of the Doctoring Curriculum at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Phoenix where she teaches communication and physical exam skills to medical students. She is a part-time Hospitalist at the VA Hospital in Phoenix. She has served on the 1st Way (a crisis pregnancy center) Board of Directors; The HOPE Mobile Ultrasound Unit Board; The national Catholic Medical Association Board (President 2012) and current Board member. She currently serves on the Phoenix Diocesan Medical Ethics Board, the Catholic Medical Association Phoenix Board and Livanta LLC Board (Healthcare Quality Improvement). She teaches with her husband in the RCIA program at Corpus Christi parish. She is married to Dr. Robert A. Moffitt. They have three adult children.

President, Cenla Pregnancy Center

Rev. Brian Gunter is the Founder and President of Cenla Pregnancy Center and he also serves as the Director of Outreach for Louisiana Right to Life.  He is the Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Pollock, Louisiana.  Rev. Gunter received his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Religion degree from Louisiana College and his Advanced Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.  Rev. Gunter has served in pro-life ministry for twelve years and has been a key leader in the pro-life movement throughout Louisiana, serving alongside Catholics and Protestants in defense of human life.  In addition, he initiated and organized pro-life marches in Alexandria and Monroe, where he leads thousands of people to march for an end to abortion every year.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Elizabeth Wilson is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and lead therapist for Woman’s New Life Center.  Elizabeth received her B.S. from the University of New Orleans and her MSW from Tulane University.  Elizabeth has been developing approaches and applying counseling treatment methods to women who are pregnant, post-pregnancy or struggling with infertility for the last 11 years.

Primary Care/Naprotechnology Physician, East Jefferson General Hospital

Susan Caldwell, MD, CFCMC, is a mother of three and a primary care physician specializing in women’s health working at East Jefferson General Hospital in New Orleans, Louisiana. Dr. Caldwell received her MD from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans in 1999 where she also completed her Internal Medicine and Pediatrics residency in 2005.  In 2013, she began her studies at the St. Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction to eventually become a Certified Naprotechnology Medical Consultant in 2016.  She is a member of the Catholic Medical Association where she has served as State Director.  She also enjoys writing and speaking about authentic femininity and reproductive health that upholds the dignity of all human life and aligns with the teachings of the Catholic Church.  She is currently enrolled in the Certification Program at the Theology of the Body Institute in Pennsylvania.  Her work has been published in the Linacre Quarterly and National Catholic Register.  She blogs about topics in women’s health at drsusancaldwell.com.




This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and Policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA) and St. John Paull II Foundation. Christian Medical & Dental Associations is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Physician Credit

The Christian Medical & Dental Associations designates this educational activity for a maximum
of 7 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(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 educational activity has been approved by the Ohio Nurses Association (ONA), an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation (OBN-001-91). _7_ contact hours approved.


– Discuss the health crisis centered on opioid abuse and overdosing. Describe a path forward for alleviating the opioid abuse and overdosing crisis through prevention, treatment, and recovery programs. Identify a robust response for implementation concerning opioid abuse and overdosing for Catholic facilities and Catholic medical professionals.
– Discuss the unique aspects of providing healthcare to women. Identify an integral view of the human person as essential for comprehensive and holistic medical care for women. Describe medical care that respects the unique ways women bring life, love, and their feminine genius into the world.
– Discuss the history of the Hippocratic Oath and its practical implications for medicine that is dignified, compassionate, and loving. Compare medicine rooted in an aggressive secularism with medicine rooted in the Hippocratic oath. Articulate how physician assisted suicide and euthanasia are inconsistent with the Hippocratic Oath and care for the whole person.
– Articulate the inner workings of the composite person, body, mind, and spirit. Describe how patient’s religious orientation can be useful when considering the dignity of the whole person – mind, body and spirit. Discuss how “healing thyself” (taking care of the body, mind and spirit) can be an effective means for genuine relationships between patients and physicians, and physicians with peers.
– Discuss the basis for the sanctity of human life. Describe how the human person images God. Articulate what it means to speak of the dignity of the person and how this dignity impacts medical care.
– Define proportionate and disproportionate means and identify the weaknesses of the language of futility in decision making. Describe the criteria used to determine whether a treatment is morally obligatory (proportionate) or morally optional
(disproportionate). Identity ethical principles relate to pain management. Identify case studies that apply ethical principles related to pain management into patient care.
– Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of advance planning documents for future medical needs. Review patient case examples demonstrating these issues and principles. Discuss the principle of free and informed consent and its relevance to advance planning documents.


The National Association of Catholic Chaplains has approved this program for 7.25 Continuing Education Hours. Please be sure to select the General Admission or Clergy/Religious (if applicable) ticket option and request a certificate of completion on your registration form. For questions, please email [email protected].


CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Hospital

3330 Masonic Dr
Alexandria, LA 71301

For More Information:
Erin Vallagomesa, Conference Coordinator
[email protected]





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