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.
    • "This was such an incredible experience. Apart from everything I learned, it was just so affirming to be surrounded by a group of Catholic men and women dedicated to promoting human dignity in medicine."
    • - 2019 Converging Roads attendee




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, Social Worker/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, Social Worker/Chaplain certificates of completion can be requested upon registration for continuing education purposes.


  • Accompanying the Disabled in Utero and in the First Year of Life: Medical and Pastoral Interventions
  • DiAnn Ecret, Ph.D., M.S.N., R.N., M.A.
  • A Life Worth Living: Dignity, Hope, & Compassion in the Face of Disability
  • J.D. Flynn
  • The Impact of Disabilities on Determining Whether Care is Morally Obligatory or Optional
  • John Meinert, Ph.D.
  • The Ethics of Refusing Treatment to Patients who are Actively Dying or Demented
  • Deacon Alan Rastrelli, M.D.
  • Creating Hospitals and Clinics that are Patient-Centric and Honor the Dignity of the Person
  • Thomas J. Neal, Ph.D. and Landon Roussel, M.D.
  • More Topics Coming Soon!


7:00 AM
Check-In/Registration Begins
7:30 AM
8:30 AM
Opening Remarks
8:40 - 9:35 AM
A Life Worth Living: Dignity, Hope, & Compassion in the Face of Disability
9:35 - 10:30 AM
The Impact of Disabilities on Determining Whether Care is Morally Obligatory or Optional
10:30 - 10:45 AM
10:14AM - 12:15 PM
The Ethics of Refusing Treatment for Patients who are Actively Dying or Demented
12:15 - 1:40 PM
  • Hippocratic Oath Luncheon:
  • Creating Hospitals that are Patient-Centric and Honor the Dignity of the Person
1:4 - 1:55 PM
1:55 - 2:50 PM
Preventing Disability through Genetic Testing, Genetic Counseling, and Genetic Engineering
2:50 - 3:10 PM
3:10 - 4:05 PM
Accompanying the Disabled in Utero and in the First Year of Life: Medical and Pastoral Interventions
4:05 - 5:00 PM
Legal and Cultural Challenges for Individuals with Disabilities who are Targeted for Death
5:00 PM
Closing Remarks
5:10 - 6:15 PM
Wine & Cheese Networking Reception


DIANN ECRET, Ph.D., M.S.N., R.N., M.A.
Assistant Professor, Jefferson College of Nursing
Nurse Planner, National Catholic Bioethics Center

DiAnn Ecret joined the National Catholic Bioethics center as the nurse planner and adjunct lecturer ethicist during the summer of 2016. DiAnn graduated from Our Lady of Lourdes School of Nursing in 1987, completed her BSN & MSN from Wilmington University, an MA certification in theology/ethics from Villanova University, and is currently a PhD candidate in Health Care Ethics at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. DiAnn successfully defended her proposal: Using an Ethics of Care to Re-interpret Consent in the Management of Care for Addiction Disorders in March of 2017. DiAnn has 30 years of combined nursing experience in pediatric and adult critical care, nursing management and nursing education. DiAnn is full time nursing faculty member at Thomas Jefferson University/ Jefferson College of Nursing, she teaches undergraduate and accelerated BSN students, presents ethical decision-making strategies for the new employee nurse residency program at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and she is a member of the Hospital’s ethics committee and ethics committee restructuring team.Additionally, DiAnn completed a two year ethics residency program at the Veterans Administration Maryland Healthcare System (VAMHCS), as an Integrated Ethics Team Member; she participated in ethics rounds with the University of Maryland’s Health Care system’s medical team and co-chaired/ coordinated two fiscal year preventative ethics quality improvement plans. DiAnn has 4 children and lives in New Jersey with her husband and sons.

Editor-in-Chief, Catholic News Agency

J.D. Flynn is the editor-in-chief of Catholic News Agency, a global news service owned by the EWTN media network. Flynn has served previously as Special Assistant to Bishop James Conley in the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska, as chancellor of the Archdiocese of Denver, and has taught canon law at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary. He has a licentiate in canon law from the Catholic University of America, and a master's degree in theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville.  Flynn and his wife are involved in several projects developing and promoting inclusive special education in Catholic schools and religious education programs. He has published writing in First Things, National Review, the National Catholic Register, and other publications, and was a contributor to "Special Children, Blessed Fathers," a 2015 book on parenting disabled children. He lives in Denver with his wife and their three children: Max, Pia, and Daniel.

Assistant Professor of Theology, Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University

John Meinert, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Theology at Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University where he teaches Moral Theology, Catholic Social Thought, Bioethics, and Spirituality. He holds a B.A. in Theology from Benedictine College, an M.A. in Theology from the University of Dallas, and a Ph.D. in Moral Theology/Ethics from The Catholic University of America. He has two published books and numerous scholarly and popular articles concerning Moral Theology, St. Thomas Aquinas, Grace, and Spirituality. He is currently a member of the Louisiana State Board of Ethics (appointed by Governor John Bel Edwards), the founder and director of FranU’s bioethics lecture series, and a member of multiple theological organizations (ACT, SCE, and CTSA).

Owner & Chief Medical Officer, Communitas Primary Care

Dr. Landon Roussel is the owner and founder of Communitas Primary Care. He earned his M.D. from Cornell Medical College in New York City, a master’s degree in bioethics summa cum laude through the Erasmus Mundus program in Universities of Leuven (Belgium), Radboud (Netherlands), and Padova (Italy), and bachelors’ degrees magna cum laude in biochemistry and Hispanic studies from Rice University in Houston. Dr. Roussel trained as an intern and resident in Internal Medicine specializing in Primary Care through Harvard Medical School at the Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts from 2013-2016. Dr. Roussel is very passionate about service through excellent and ethical patient care. In 2010, he was a member of the inaugural medical cohort for Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics (FASPE) through the Museum of Jewish Heritage. There he studied medical ethics through the lenses of the Holocaust. Dr. Roussel serves as an Adjunct Professor at Franciscan University in Baton Rouge, where he teaches graduate-level bioethics. When he is not practicing medicine, Dr. Roussel enjoys his involvement as a fourth-degree Knight of Columbus, writing, and hiking. He is married to his college sweetheart Amanda and has two young children.

St. Francis of Assisi Supportive Care, LLC, Colorado

Deacon Alan Rastrelli, MD, of St. Francis of Assisi Supportive Care, LLC, Colorado, is a member of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) and the Catholic Medical Association. Dr. Rastrelli received a BS degree from St Mary’s University in San Antonio, and his MD from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, TX. He completed a 4 year Residency in Anesthesia at Brooke Army Medical Center and is Board certified. Over the past 15 years, Dr. Rastrelli gradually transitioned from Anesthesia into the field of Hospice and Palliative medicine, and was board certified. He was voted one of Denver magazine’s 5280 Top Physicians in Hospice and Palliative Medicine five times from 2008-2012. In 2005 he was ordained a Permanent Deacon for the Archdiocese of Denver. Dr. Rastrelli has given over 40 presentations to many groups on end of life care and the eternal ends of life. He has spoken out vigorously against physician assisted suicide and euthanasia, including testimonies before the State legislature and in multiple media interviews, and continues the fight against it though it was passed by the voters in Colorado.

Professor of Spiritual Theology, Notre Dame Seminary

Dr. Thomas J. Neal is originally from Providence, Rhode Island. He received his B.A. in Philosophy (’90) and M.A. in Systematic Theology (’96) from Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary and University, and wrote his Thesis on the theology of grace in the works of eastern bishop-theologian Gregory Palamas. He pursued his Ph.D in Florida State University’s department of Religion, specializing in the evolution of Christian mysticism in early-late medieval Europe. He wrote and successfully defended his dissertation (’08) on the question of identity construction in the Carmelite reform in the writings of St. John of the Cross. Dr. Neal has spent most of the last 17 years serving the catechetical mission of the Church in Florida, serving in various administrative roles, most recently in Des Moines, Iowa where he served as Director of the St. Joseph Educational Center. He taught undergrad courses for six years at FSU in the history of the Christian theological tradition, and served as assistant editor for the Journal of Religious Ethics. He has led hundreds of retreats, workshops and catechetical events throughout the country and is an active blogger. He was involved in seminarian and deacon formation programs in Florida and Iowa. Dr. Neal serves as Professor of Spiritual Theology at Notre Dame Seminary. He also served as Director of the MA programs and Institute for Lay Ecclesial Ministry, Academic Dean, and the Director of Spiritual Formation. Dr. Neal and his family live in the New Orleans area.


Notre Dame Seminary

2901 S Carrollton Ave
New Orleans, LA 70118

For More Information:
Sara Dietz, Conference Coordinator





    7730 Westview
    Houston, TX 77055


    P.O. Box 5927
    Katy, TX 77491