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.
    • "Converging Roads is a reminder that working as a nurse or any job in the field of healthcare is simply not just a profession. It is a constant opportunity to be the hands and feet of the Lord, grow in many virtues, and to affirm everyone we encounter that we are all made in the image of God and need to be treated as such."
    • - 2019 Converging Roads attendee




Ticket Options:
  • Physician/Physician Assistant: $119
  • Nurse/Nurse Practitioner: $99
  • General Admission*: $49
  • (Other health care professionals and non-health care professionals)
  • Medical resident, clergy, or religious*: $39
  • Student Scholarship Rate**: $0
  • (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): $140
  • Ministry/Non-Profit (not including CME/CNE credits)*: $70
  • Vendor/For-Profit (including CME/CNE credits): $190
  • Vendor/For-Profit (not including CME/CNE credits)*: $120
  • *Not eligible for CME/CNE credits, however, Chaplain certificates of completion can be requested upon registration for continuing education purposes.


Care for the Sick and Dying: Rooted in Catholic Social Doctrine

Sr. Mary Diana Dreger, OP, MD


The Secularist Attack on Religious Liberty of Medical Practitioners in the Literature and Law

Joseph Meaney, PhD


Religious Freedom and Vaccine Compulsion: A View Through Catholic Social Teaching

Paul J. Carson, MD, FACP 


A Catholic Response to the Opioid Crisis

Jeffrey Berger, MD, FASAM


Ethical Standards in the Pharmaceutical Industry

Jennifer E. Miller, PhD


Hidden in Plain Sight: Human Trafficking in Our Midst

Debbie Shinskie, RN


Access to Healthcare for the Poor & Undocumented

Sr. Mary Diana Dreger, OP, MD and Dcn. Clarke E. Cochran, PhD


8:00 AM ET
White Mass (Livestreamed from The Cathedral of St. Patrick)
9:30 AM
Opening Remarks
9:35 - 10:35 AM
Care for the Sick and Dying: Rooted in Catholic Social Doctrine
10:40 - 11:40 AM
The Secularist Attack on Religious Liberty of Medical Practitioners
11:45 AM - 12:45 PM
Religious Freedom and Vaccine Compulsion: A View through Catholic Social Teaching
12:45 - 1:10 PM
Lunch Break
1:10 - 2:10 PM
Access to Health Care for the Poor and Undocumented 
2:15 - 3:15 PM
A Catholic Response to the Opioid Crisis
3:20 - 4:20 PM
Ethical Standards in the Pharmaceutical Industry
4:25 - 5:25 PM
Hidden in Plain Sight: Human Trafficking in Our Midst
5:25 - 5:30 PM
Closing Remarks


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.

Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Sister Mary Diana Dreger, OP, MD, is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine and Public Health in the Department of Internal Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and a Lecturer in Interdisciplinary Studies at Aquinas College, Nashville, Tennessee.  She received her B.S. in Biology and M.A. in Mathematics from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, her M.D. from Vanderbilt University, and completed her residency training in internal medicine at Vanderbilt.  She is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians.  As a practicing internist since 2004, she has cared for the sick, the poor, the undocumented, and the dying.  She has given over 200 presentations across the United States and in Canada to professional organizations and community groups on numerous topics related to medicine, ethics, and spirituality.

Director of the Respect Life Office, Archdiocese of New Orleans

Debbie Shinskie, RN, a graduate of Geisinger School of Nursing and St. Joseph’s College of Maine, worked for a number of years as a shock/trauma adult ICU nurse, maternal-child health nurse, lactation consultant, and educator for parents and professionals. She has 2 published textbooks in the field of human lactation.  Always active in her parishes and dioceses in respect life & social justice work, she has served as a parish respect life coordinator and master catechist, teaching Theology of the Body and RCIA.  Currently she is the Director of the Archdiocese of New Orleans Respect Life Office, Chair of the Archdiocesan Human Trafficking Committee, & is a consultant for the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops & the US Conference of Catholic Bishops on anti-trafficking efforts. She & her husband of 33 years have 4 adult children, 3 children in Heaven, & 6 grand babies.

President of The National Catholic Bioethics Center

Dr. Joseph Meaney is the President of The National Catholic Bioethics Center. He received his Ph.D. in Bioethics from the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Rome. His doctoral program was founded by the late Cardinal Sgreccia and linked to the Medical School and Gemelli teaching hospital. His dissertation topic was Conscience and Health Care: A Bioethical Analysis. Dr. Meaney earned his Masters in Latin American Studies focusing on Health Care in Guatemala from the University of Texas at Austin. He graduated from the University of Dallas with a B.A. in History and a concentration in international studies. The Benedict XVI Catholic University in Trujillo, Peru awarded Dr. Meaney an honorary visiting professorship. Dr. Meaney was director of international outreach and expansion for Human Life International (HLI) and is a leading expert on the international pro-life and family movement, having travelled to eighty-one countries on pro-life missions over the last 25 years.  He founded the HLI Rome Office in 1998 and lived there for nine years where he collaborated closely with dicasteries of the Holy See, particularly the Pontifical Council for the Family and the Pontifical Academy for Life.  He is a dual US and French citizen and is fluent in French, Spanish, Italian and English.  His family has been active in the health care and pro-life fields in Corpus Christi, Texas, and France for many years. Dr. Meaney was the General Editor of the English Edition and co-author with his father, Dr. Michael Meaney, of a chapter in the Pontifical Council for the Family’s Lexicon: Ambiguous and debatable terms regarding family, life and ethical questions and has published in a number of scholarly journals.  He has also written many popular articles and has been interviewed by newspapers, radio and television in Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe. His popular articles have appeared in the National Catholic Register, Crux, Inside Catholic, Crisis Magazine, Inside the Vatican, and many other publications. Dr. Meaney, his wife, Marie, and their young daughter, Thérèse moved to Pennsylvania from Paris in the summer of 2019.

Professor, Management of Infectious Diseases, Dept. of Public Health, North Dakota State University, and Professor in the Dept. of Internal Medicine at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine

Dr. Paul Carson is a physician who has practiced medicine as an infectious disease specialist in MN and ND for over 25 years.  He has held past roles at Sanford Health, a large integrated health system in the Upper Midwest, as Chair of the department of infectious diseases, Director of Clinical Research, and past Chief Quality Officer.  He is a Professor at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, in the Dept. of Internal Medicine.   In 2013, he joined the faculty of North Dakota State University in the Dept. of Public Health where he now teaches on management of infectious diseases in the Master of Public Health graduate program, and directs the Center for Immunization Research and Education (CIRE).  His research is focused on barriers to vaccination and vaccination policy.  He is the immediate past President of the Fargo Guild of the Catholic Medical Association. He is married to Janine, who he met in medical school.  Together they have 4 children, including one in obstetrical training, one currently in her first year of medical school, one who is a missionary for the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, and one who is an engineer.  

St. Peter Catholic Church

Clarke E. Cochran, PhD, is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Texas Tech University, where he taught from 1970 to 2007. He received his MA and PhD in Political Science from Duke University. Clarke served as Vice President, Mission Integration, with Covenant Health in Lubbock, Texas, from 2008-2013. In this position he was a member of the senior management team with responsibility for the departments of Spiritual Care, Community Health Outreach, and Mission Services. Clarke is the author of several books and numerous articles and reviews in the areas of political philosophy, health care policy, religion and politics, and Catholic social teaching. Clarke and Anne celebrated 52 years of marriage in August 2019. They have four children and eight grandchildren. Clarke serves as Deacon at St. Peter Catholic Church in Charlotte, NC, where he is active in social justice, housing, and immigration ministries.

Founder of Bioethics International, Assistant Professor, Yale School of Medicine

Jennifer E. Miller, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in Yale School of Medicine, Founder of Bioethics International (a nonprofit focused on raising the bar for ethics and patient-centricity in healthcare innovation), and Director of the Good Pharma Scorecard (a ranking of pharmaceutical companies on their ethics performance). Prior to joining Yale’s faculty, Dr. Miller was based at NYU School of Medicine, Duke University, and Harvard University. Dr. Miller is a member of the World Economic Forum and has served on various Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committees (formularies), IRBs, and Compassionate-Use Advisory Committees; the CDC Task Force for Pediatric Emergency Mass Critical Care, AMA Advanced Disaster Life Support Education Consortium, as a consultant to the UN Economic and Social Council, and PCORI-NIH Collaboratory working groups on pragmatic clinical trials. She has authored over 50 publications, including for Nature Medicine, Health Affairs, JAMA Oncology, BMJ, and Trials and been the recipient of multiple grants. She is a frequent news commentator, featured on CBS news, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Bloomberg News, Forbes, and NPR. Dr. Miller’s current work explores the ethics, patient-centricity, and governance of how medicines, biotechnologies and devices are researched, developed, marketed, and made accessible to patients. She also works on the ethics, privacy and social concerns around big data, Al and machine learning in healthcare.



Accreditation  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 Paul 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 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 Credits(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.

Nursing  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.
• Propose a path forward for alleviating the crisis through prevention, treatment, and recovery programs.
• Identify a robust response for Catholic facilities and Catholic medical professionals with consideration for what practices and interventions, rooted in best practice, can be implemented.
• Discuss the importance of vaccinations to secure optimal outcomes for the general population and the negative impact of non-vaccinated populations.
• Examine ethical and moral responsibility regarding vaccinations.
• Consider the legal right and responsibilities of the state and individual relative to vaccination
• Identify the effects of social determinants of health in a hospital system.
• Discuss the challenges, joys, and unique needs of health care to the poor.
• Propose effective models for ensuring robust access to health care for the poor.
• Discuss the basic principles of social doctrine for the Church and how they lead to a flourishing healthcare.
• Identify how care for the sick, disabled, and dying is rooted in social doctrine.
• Consider how patient care is rooted in Catholic social and how such care will be distinctive in clinical practice.
• Define Secularism
• Discuss religious liberty as it currently exists
• Identify remedies to current obstacles to religious liberty in healthcare
• Discuss the ethical norms from the perspective of natural law and Hippocratic oath that ought to govern the pharmaceutical industry
• Describe the gaps in ethical standards for the pharmaceutical industry
• Identify strategies to close the gaps in ethical standards in the pharmaceutical industry
• Consider the modern crisis of trafficking at the national level and in North Carolina
• Propose effective response to victims of trafficking who present to medical professionals in the clinical context
• Identify signs of trafficking, resources for victims and medical professionals, and best practices

The National Association of Catholic Chaplains has approved this program for 7.5 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].


The Cathedral of St. Patrick

1621 Dilworth Road East
Charlotte, NC 28203

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





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