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.
  • Feedback from past Converging Roads attendees:
  • "I’m so glad I attended. It was so insightful and gave me more knowledge on how to study more about human dignity, disabled persons and the correct way to explain our duty to others (as health care providers to our patients)."
  • "It is edifying to be with so many people trying to live their faith in a field that constantly challenges the truth."
  • "Thus far in my (nascent) career, my Catholic and medical identities have unfortunately been largely separate. I’m confident that the knowledge I obtained at Converging Roads and my subsequent reflection will serve me well on my path towards becoming the Catholic physician I’m striving to be."

Health + Safety Guidelines

As part of our mission to uphold the sanctity of life and family, the St. John Paul II Foundation is committed to the health and safety of all conference participants. In order to protect you and your patients, we are following recommendations from our host facilities and the State of Ohio, and this year’s Converging Roads will be offered both in person and online. Please see below for ticket options and pricing. 
  • We know that Converging Roads is an important ministry to you as health care professionals, and we desire to serve you through this conference. We are developing precautions to ensure adequate social distancing, minimize contact with high-touch surfaces, and maintain a safe and clean environment for those who choose to attend in person. Please view our Health and Safety Guidelines flyer for more specific information regarding our protocols for this event.
  • We are truly blessed to serve you, and please be assured of our prayers!
  • *Policy is subject to change; dependent on state and local guidelines at the time of the conference. 




In-Person Ticket Options:
  • Physicians/Physician Assistants: $149
  • Nurses/Nurse Practitioners: $129
  • General Admission*: $79
  • Medical residents, clergy, or religious*: $69
  • Student Scholarship Rate**: $15
Online Ticket Options:
  • Online tickets include access to the livestream on Saturday, April 24, as well as approximately 72 hours of access to the recordings (from noon ET on Sunday, April 25, to 11:59 pm ET on Wednesday, April 28).
  • Physicians/Physician Assistants: $119
  • Nurses/Nurse Practitioners: $99
  • General Admission*: $49
  • Medical residents, clergy, or religious*: $39
  • Student Scholarship Rate**: $0
  • *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.


  • Medicine and Morals in Making Clinical Decisions
  • Greg Burke, MD, FACP
  • Ordinary, Extraordinary, and Futile: What’s the Difference and What Difference Does it Make?
  • DiAnn Ecret, PhD, MSN, RN, MA
  • Rights of Health Care Professionals: How to Integrate Faith and Ethics in Moral Medicine
  • Ashley K. Fernandes, MD, PhD
  • Addiction and the Opioid Crisis: Treating the Whole Person
  • Cynthia Hunt, MD
  • The Catholic Health Care Professional in a Secular Society
  • Thomas W. McGovern, MD
  • Accompanying Children in the Womb and at the End of Life
  • Robin Pierucci, MD, MA
  • Access to Health Care for the Poor
  • Claudia R. Sotomayor, MD, DBe


7:30 AM
Check-In/Registration Opens
8:15 AM
Opening Remarks
8:25 - 9:25 AM
The Catholic Health Care Professional in a Secular Society
9:30 - 10:30 AM
Ordinary, Extraordinary, and Futile: What's the Difference and What Difference Does it Make?
10:30 AM
10:45 - 11:45 AM
Medicine and Morals in Making Clinical Decisions
11:45 AM - 1:30 PM
Hippocratic Oath Luncheon
12:10 - 1:10 PM
Rights of Health Care Professionals: How to Integrate Faith and Ethics in Moral Medicine
1:30 PM
1:50 - 2:50 PM
Accompanying Children in the Womb and at the End of Life
2:55 - 3:55 PM
Addiction and the Opioid Crisis: Treating the Whole Person
3:55 PM
4:10 - 5:10 PM
Access to Health Care for the Poor
5:10 PM
Closing Remarks
5:30 PM
6:30 - 7:30 PM
Wine & Cheese Reception


Neonatologist and Medical Director

Dr. Robin Pierucci is Jewish convert to Catholicism, a wife, mother of three, and a practicing neonatologist. She also has a master’s degree in bioethics as well as completing the National Catholic Bioethics Center ethics certificate course. In addition to her full-time clinical duties within the NICU, Dr. Pierucci remains active in perinatal palliative care, as well as leading ongoing performance improvement projects for drug exposed infants and their families.  She has multiple publications in peer and non-peer reviewed journals and has spoken around the country on multiple perinatal and ethical topics.  Additionally, Dr. Pierucci has appeared on a number of programs aired on EWTN including, Women of Grace, The Journey Home, EWTN Live, and her documentary about in vitro fertilization.  She has been a member of the Catholic Medical Association for many years and has recently became an associate scholar with the Charlotte Lozier Institute and a board member of the American College of Pediatrics.

Professor of Pediatrics, The Ohio State University

Ashley K. Fernandes, MD, PhD, is the Associate Director of the Center for Bioethics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine, and a Professor of Pediatrics at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Dr. Fernandes received an MD from The Ohio State University, a PhD in Philosophy from Georgetown University, and an MA in Philosophy from Johns Hopkins University, with a focus on bioethics. He directs ethics education for pediatric residents at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. His scholarly interests include Catholic Christian bioethics, Medicine and the Holocaust studies, pediatric ethics, and philosophical anthropology as it relates to medical practice. He has presented his work at international forums, and is the author of scores of peer-reviewed publications and three book chapters. After a decade as a hospitalist, he is now an academic primary care pediatrician and has been an expert witness in court cases defending the rights of Christian healthcare professionals and prolife organizations. Dr. Fernandes is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Pediatricians, an elected member of the AAP’s national 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 twice—in 2020 and in 2010. He has been awarded OSU’s highest honors for teaching, including the Award in Mentorship, Professor of the Year Award, and Master Teacher Award. He is an active member of the Catholic Medical Association and is part of their national speaker board, and a member of Ohio Right to Life’s Board of Trustees. Outside of medicine, his interests include hiking in the National Parks, history, travel, and tennis. He lives with his wife and two boys in Dublin, Ohio.

Chief Patient Experience Officer, Geisinger Health System

Dr. Burke was appointed Chief Patient Experience Office for the Geisinger Health System in early 2014 and focuses his efforts on the delivery of compassionate and quality medical care throughout the entire system. He has practiced internal medicine at Geisinger Medical Center since 1992. He continues his role as medical director at both Geisinger HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospitals. He has a special interest in the promotion of professionalism in medical practice with an emphasis on applying a holistic philosophy of medicine.   He actively lectures and publishes articles in the fields of medical ethics and physician spirituality. He serves as the current editor-in-chief of “G” – the Geisinger Magazine. His awards include the Clinical Excellence Award for HealthSouth (2009), Best Doctors in American (2007-08, 2011-12), Victor Marks Service Excellence Award (2007, 2013) and the Papal Medal “Benemerenti” award in 2007. He is a graduate of Jefferson Medical College and completed an internal medicine residency and chief residency at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

Staff Ethicist, Nurse Planner, and Assistant Professor of Nursing

DiAnn Ecret joined the National Catholic Bioethics center during the summer of 2016. DiAnn is a staff ethicist, nurse planner and a a full time Assistant Professor of Nursing at Ave Maria University. 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. She completed her PhD in Health Care Ethics at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 2017. DiAnn has 35 years of combined nursing experience in adult, pediatric, and neonatal critical care nursing, nursing management and nursing education. DiAnn teaches undergraduate nursing at Ave Maria University, is on the Health Care Task Force at Life Perspectives, serves as a member of the President’s Bioethics Committee at the University of Mary of Minnesota, and volunteers as an ethics consultant for Be Not Afraid.   DiAnn is married to her husband Mike for 34 years, with 4 children, and 2 grandchildren.

Psychiatrist and Chair of Catholic Medical Association National Opioid Task Force

Dr. Cynthia Hunt is a graduate of Loyola Stritch School of Medicine and Board Certified practitioner in Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, and Psychiatry, which includes a year of fellowship training in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.  She currently maintains an active practice at the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, where she is the Chief of the Department of Psychiatry.   She is also an Adjunct Faculty Member of St. Patrick’s Archdiocesan Seminary in Menlo Park, CA . She has been privileged to serve the Catholic Church over the last 12 years in the Exorcism and Deliverance ministry as psychiatric consultant to priests, exorcists and Bishops and is on the Advisory Board for the Pope Leo XIII Institute.   She has been invited to give presentations on this topic in many settings including Priest/ Clergy Days,  Deaconate Training, National Meetings of the Catholic Medical Association  and the Catholic Psychotherapy Association as well as  conferences with laity and SCRC. Dr. Hunt  has also worked within  the Catholic Medical Association for many years and has served as President of the Fresno Guild,   member of the FIRE Committee, and as a speaker for CMA national and local conferences.   She is currently a CMA Board Member and is Chair of the national CMA Opioid Task Force,  meeting with Health and Human Services in Washington, DC.   Recently she participated in  representing  North America at an International Meeting on Addictions at the Vatican through the Dicastery of Integral Human Development. An accomplished pianist, Lay Carmelite,  and member of the Board of the Foundation of Prayer for Priests,  she has been blessed with her husband of 27 years and their three children.

Clinical Ethicist and Adjunct Assistant Professor, Georgetown University

Dr. Claudia Sotomayor, is the Chief of the Clinical Consultation Service of the Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics, a Cura Personalis Fellow and an Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine of GUMC. She holds an M.D. from Universidad Autonoma de Chihuahua, in Chihuahua, Mexico and a Doctorate in Bioethics from Loyola University in Chicago Il, USA. Claudia also completed a fellowship in Clinical Bioethics at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston TX. (USA). She has been a Research Scholar for UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights since 2012 where she has worked in the area of Multiculturalism, Bioethics and Religion. She has also served as a member of the Ethics committee in different hospitals in the USA. Before coming to the USA, she worked in different hospitals in Mexico as a primary care physician, and was the health committee coordinator for FUNDESPEN, a non-profit that provides medical care to Mayan communities in rural areas of Quintana Roo, Mexico.

Partner-Owner, Mohs Surgeon, Fort Wayne Dermatology Consultants
Regular Co-Host, Doctor Doctor

A native of Escanaba, Michigan, Tom completed his M.D. at Mayo Medical School and spent eight years in the U.S. Army that included biological warfare research and a dermatology residency at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center, Denver. He trained in Mohs surgery and Cutaneous Oncology at the Yale University School of Medicine and has practiced Mohs Surgery and Reconstruction in Fort Wayne since 2000. He serves on the CMA national board and chairs both the CMA Annual Leadership Training Meeting and Young Member Advisory Committee. He is ‘living the dream’ co-hosting Doctor, Doctor, the official weekly radio program and podcast of the CMA that airs on EWTN. Through Our Sunday Visitor, he will publish his first book in early 2021. He and his wife Sally of 30 years are raising seven home-schooled children who gladly get a break from his ‘Dad jokes’ when he speaks at conferences.

Bishop of Columbus

Bishop Robert J. Brennan was born on June 7, 1962, in the Bronx, New York, the oldest of five children. Bishop Brennan studied for the priesthood at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, Huntington, New York; was ordained a priest in the Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York, on May 27, 1989, by Bishop John McGann; and was first assigned to the Church of St. Patrick in Smithtown. In 1994 he was appointed Secretary to the Bishop, working in this capacity for three bishops: the late Bishop John McGann, the late Bishop James McHugh, and Bishop William Murphy. He resided at St. Agnes Cathedral and served at the parish during those years. In 2002 he was named Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia for the Diocese of Rockville Centre. In 2010, he was appointed pastor of the Church of Saint Mary of the Isle, Long Beach. On July 25, 2012, he was ordained as Auxiliary Bishop for the Diocese of Rockville Centre. Leaving his position as pastor in Long Beach at that time, he resided in the parish of Our Lady of Peace in Lynbrook. While at Rockville Centre, Bishop Brennan has served on the Board of Directors for Catholic Health Services, as well as various diocesan boards and committees. He has served as chaplain for the Catholic Lawyers Guild of Nassau County. He serves on the Board for the Institute for Catholic Schools at his alma mater, St. John’s University. He served in several capacities on the Catholic Faith Network including serving as one of the co-hosts of the award-winning program Insight. With the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop Brennan served as a member of the Committee for Catholic Education, the Administrative Committee, and the Priorities and Plans Committee. Bishop Brennan was appointed Bishop of Columbus by Pope Francis on January 31, 2019, and was installed as the 12th Bishop of Columbus at St. Joseph Cathedral on March 29, 2019.



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 nursing continuing professional development activity was approved by the Ohio Nurses Association, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation (OBN-001-91). Nurses may receive up to 7 credits for completing this activity.


– Define proportionate and disproportionate and provide specific examples.
– 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).
– Discuss the principles of proportionate and disproportionate means.
– Discuss navigating complicated ethical and medical dilemmas.
– Identify how to enhance communication and positive outcomes for patients and families.
– Describe medical care that is commensurate with the condition of the patient.
– Discuss the role of communication and spiritual care offered to families that is commensurate with the condition of the patient.
– Analyze two case studies in regard to the ethical course of action in light of the principles articulated and medical condition of the patient.
– Identify the role of faith for medical professionals, patients, and their families.
– Discuss the rights of medical professionals to exercise rights of conscience and religious liberty in the context of diverse medical settings.
– Discuss the health crisis regarding opioid abuse and overdosing.
– Propose a path forward for alleviating the opioid crisis through prevention, treatment, and recovery programs.
– Suggest a response for Catholic facilities and Catholic medical professionals with consideration for what practices and interventions can be implemented for the opioid crisis.
– Discuss the role of faith and religion in the practice of medicine.
– Identify what is distinctive about medicine inspired by a Catholic world view and how such medicine leads to positive outcomes.
– Identify methods practitioners can maintain their Catholic faith and professional expertise to the service of patients.
– Discuss the importance of medical professionals integrating ethical principles into the encounter with patients.
– Demonstrate an understanding of the ethical issues associated with the care of neonatal and fetal patients.
– Describe how the ethical issues associated with the care of neonatal and fetal patients may differ from the same kind of care at other stages of life.
– Identify best practices for communicating diagnoses with parents and caregivers.
– Identify how to best offer support to families.
– 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.
– Identify effective models for ensuring robust access to health care for the poor.



The National Association of Catholic Chaplains has approved this program for 7.25 Continuing Education Hours. Please 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]



Pontifical College Josephinum, The Jessing Center

7625 N High St
Columbus, OH 43235

For More Information:
Sara Dietz, Conference Coordinator
[email protected]





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