• FOR LIFE AND FAMILY

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 attendees of Converging Roads:
    • "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."
     

REGISTRATION

REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT


In-Person Ticket Options:
  • Physicians/Physician Assistants: $159
  • Nurses/Nurse Practitioners: $139
  • General Admission*: $85
  • Medical residents, clergy, or religious*: $75
  • Student Scholarship Rate**: $15
Online Ticket Options:
  • Online tickets include access to the livestream on Saturday, April 29, as well as additional access to the recordings (from noon CT on Sunday, April 30, to 11:59 pm CT on Wednesday, May 3).
 
  • Physicians/Physician Assistants: $129
  • Nurses/Nurse Practitioners: $109
  • General Admission*: $55
  • Medical residents, clergy, or religious*: $45
  • 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): $180
  • Ministry/Non-Profit (not including CME/CNE credits)*: $105
  • Vendor/For-Profit (including CME/CNE credits): $230
  • Vendor/For-Profit (not including CME/CNE credits)*: $155
 
  • *Not eligible for CME/CNE credits, however, Chaplain certificates of completion can be requested upon registration for continuing education purposes.

Sponsors:
  • If you and/or your organization is interested in joining our mission as a supporting sponsor, please click here for the Sponsorship Form. You can also submit the form online by clicking here.
 
  • For questions or more information, please contact the conference coordinator at [email protected].

Student Scholarships:
  • Undergraduate, graduate, nursing, and medical students are eligible to register for Converging Roads at our scholarship admission rate. If you are a student currently enrolled in classes and would like to attend the conference, please complete our student scholarship form prior to registering for the conference (click here). If you feel called to contribute to our scholarship fund, you can do so at the time of registration.

Refund Information:
  • If you are no longer able to attend the conference, after purchasing your ticket, you may choose to transfer your registration fees to a student in need, or request a refund.
 
  • All refunds must be requested 2 weeks prior to the conference. The last day to request a refund is Friday, April 14. All refund requests made on or after April 15 will not be accepted, but the funds will automatically be transferred to a student in need. Please email [email protected] to transfer your registration or request a refund.

TOPICS

  • Christian Anthropology and the Renewal of Medicine
  • Gwyneth Anne Spaeder, MD
  •  
  • Law, Medicine, and the Dignity of Human Life
  • Ben Nguyen, MTS, JCL, JD
  •  
  • The Art of Suffering and Dying
  • Christopher Tollefsen, PhD
  •  
  • Medical Ethics and the Catholic Health Care Worker in a Secular Culture
  • Carla Falco, MD; Gwyneth Anne Spaeder, MD; Christopher Tollefsen, PhD
  •  
  •  
  • Medicine in Service to the Dignity of Women
  • Sister Mary Gretchen Hoffman, RSM, MD
  •  
  • The Ethics of Contraception in Difficult Cases
  • Cara Buskmiller, MD; Jamie Hernandez, MD, FACOG, CFCMC; Sister Mary Gretchen Hoffman, RSM, MD
  •  
  • Approaching Gender Dysphoria in Light of Science and the Gospel of Mercy
  • Deacon Patrick W. Lappert, MD
  •  

SCHEDULE

             
8:00 AM
  • Mass
8:00 AM
Check-In Begins
9:15 AM
Opening Remarks
9:25 - 10:25 AM
Christian Anthropology and the Renewal of Medicine
10:30 - 11:30 AM
Law, Medicine, and the Dignity of Human Life
11:30 AM
Break
11:45 AM - 12:45 PM
The Art of Suffering and Dying
12:45 - 2:15 PM
Hippocratic Oath Luncheon
1:20 -2:20 PM
Medical Ethics and the Catholic Health Care Worker in a Secular Culture
2:25 PM
Break
2:45 - 3:45 PM
Medicine in Service to the Dignity of Women
3:50 - 4:50 PM
The Ethics of Contraception in Difficult Cases
4:50 PM
Break
5:00 - 6:00 PM
Approaching Gender Dysphoria in Light of Science and the Gospel of Mercy
6:05 - 6:45 PM
Wine & Cheese Reception

Speakers

GWYNETH ANNE SPAEDER, MD
Pediatrician

Gwyneth Anne Spaeder, MD, attended the University of Dallas where she graduated with a degree in Political Philosophy. She then attended The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, graduating in 2005. She is a Board-Certified Pediatrician and has practiced in both community ER and private practice settings. She completed a certificate in Health Care Ethics through the National Catholic Bioethics Center in 2015 and has published several articles pertaining to vaccine ethics. She also served as the guest editor for a NCBC Quarterly edition focused on Pediatric-specific issues. She is a recurrent presenter at Theology of the Body workshops for teens and for NFP/Marriage prep within the Diocese of Raleigh. She is a member of the Catholic Medical Association Triangle Guild. She lives in Wake Forest, NC with her husband and three children.

DEACON PATRICK W. LAPPERT, MD

Deacon Patrick W. Lappert, MD, is recently retired from his private practice in Plastic Surgery. Dr. Lappert received his medical degree from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Science. Following his internship, he served as a Flight Surgeon in a forward deployed Marine Corps fighter squadron. He trained in General Surgery at the Oakland Naval Hospital/ UC Davis East Bay Consortium. He was board certified in General Surgery in 1992. He served as Clinical Professor in Surgery for the same program until his selection for training in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at University of Tennessee, Memphis. Following that residency, he was board certified in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in 1997, and recertified in 2008. He served as a staff reconstructive surgeon at the Portsmouth Naval Hospital from 1994-2002. While there, he established a center for the care of problem wounds. Additionally, Dr. Lappert established the multidisciplinary Pediatric Cleft/ Craniofacial Deformities Clinic which he chaired for 7 years. Dr. Lappert was Chief of the Plastic Surgery Department from 1997 to 2002. He was appointed Specialty Leader in Reconstructive Surgery to the Office of the Surgeon General, USN, a position which he held from 1997 to 2002. Dr. Lappert retired from military service after 24 years with the rank of Captain, USN. Dr. Lappert has authored journal articles in breast reconstruction, facial reconstruction, and endoscopic repair of facial trauma. With the Chairman of Plastic Surgery of Harvard University, Dr. Lappert authored a textbook chapter on the plastic surgical management of combat trauma. More recently, Dr. Lappert was a chapter author on the subject of the surgical interventions used on self-identified transgender persons which appears in the recently released anthology, Sexual Identity; the Coherence of Philosophy, Science, and Revelation, John Desilva Finley, 2002. For the past 7 years, Dr. Lappert has given many lectures on the subject of human anthropology and the moral and ethical problems of transgender medicine and surgery. His audiences have ranged from medical students and residents, to diocesan priest retreats, to middle and high school students. Deacon Lappert serves at Annunciation of the Lord Catholic Church in Decatur, Alabama. He is a Chaplain for the Courage Apostolate in the Diocese of Birmingham, and also serves on the Board of Directors for Courage International. Dr. Lappert has been married to Patrice Ann Oberst for 41 years, and together they raised 6 children. They have one grandchild.

JAMIE HERNANDEZ, MD, FACOG, CFCMC

Dr. Jamie Hernandez, a Louisiana native, is an OBGYN in Sugar Land, Texas. She earned her undergraduate degree in Chemistry at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, medical degree from The University of Texas at Houston, and completed her residency at the University of Illinois/OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria, IL. At Pope Paul VI Institute and Creighton University, Dr. Hernandez completed a medical and surgical NaProTECHNOLOGY fellowship. Dr. Hernandez is a member of the American Academy of FertilityCare Professionals, American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists, the American Congress of Obstetrics & Gynecology, American Academy of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Catholic Medical Association, and a Fellow of The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (FACOG). Dedicated to providing holistic, comprehensive, and restorative services for women from adolescence through menopause, Dr. Hernandez is a member of Baylor St. Luke's Medical Group Caritas Women's Care in Sugar Land. As one of only a handful of fellowship-trained NaProTECHNOLOGY surgeons in the United States, Dr. Hernandez uses this technology to address and treat a full range of gynecologic health concerns.

SISTER MARY GRETCHEN HOFFMAN, RSM, MD

Sister Mary Gretchen Hoffman, RSM, MD, is a Religious Sister of Mercy of Alma, Michigan, and a board-certified internist with the American Board of Internal Medicine.  She is currently practicing as a primary care provider at Xavier Medical Clinic, a free clinic sponsored by the Saint Francis Health System in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  After receiving her undergraduate degree from the University of Dallas, Sister entered her religious community in Michigan.  She then graduated from the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences in 2011, and completed her internal medicine residency at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 2014.  Sister was then assigned to practice at Sacred Heart Mercy Health Care Center in Alma, MI from 2014 until 2021.  In 2021 Sister completed teacher certification and medical provider training with FEMM (Fertility Education and Medical Management), in order to be able to apply teaching about natural methods of family planning and medical protocols of the Reproductive Health Research Institute to her care of patients, in order to provide a better, more in depth approach to problems underlying anovulation and other concerns in women’s health.

CHRISTOPHER TOLLEFSEN, PhD
Professor of Philosophy, University of South Carolina

Christopher Tollefsen, PhD, is Professor of Philosophy at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC. He serves of the Board of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars. Dr. Tollefsen received his B.A. from St. Anselm College, and his Ph.D. from Emory University. Dr. Tollefsen has published several books and articles in medical ethics, including The Way of Medicine: Ethics and the Healing Profession (with Dr. Farr Curlin) and Embryo: A Defense of Human Life (with Robert P. George). He is also the author of Lying and Christian Ethics.  In 2019-20, Dr. Tollefsen served as a Commissioner on the State Department’s Commission on Unalienable Rights.

CARA BUSKMILLER, MD, MS
Perinatal Surgery Fellow, Houston TX

Dr. Cara Buskmiller earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in liberal arts at Thomas Aquinas College in 2011. She graduated from Texas A&M Health Science center in 2015 and completed a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at St. Louis University in 2019. She finished a maternal-fetal medicine fellowship and is now a perinatal surgery fellow in Houston, TX, where she does fetal procedures and contributes to research on high risk pregnancy. She has been recognized with teaching awards from medical students and residents. She has published in medical and ethics journals on topics related to vital conflicts, high risk obstetrical topics, fetal surgery, and social services for underserved women. She has served as a board member of the American Association of Pro-life OB/GYNs from 2017 to 2022 before moving on to be their current Director of Research, and she is the founder of a separate non-profit, Conscience in Residency, since 2016. Dr. Buskmiller is a consecrated virgin in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, an ancient path of espousal to Christ.

BEN NGUYEN, MTS, JCL, JD
Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, University of St. Thomas

Ben Nguyen is the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at the University of St. Thomas Houston where he is also an Adjunct Professor in the graduate ecclesial management program. Nguyen holds a B.A. in Musicology from the University of Kansas; a Master of Theological Studies (MTS) from the University of Dallas; a Pontifical Licentiate Degree in Canon Law (JCL) from The Catholic University of America; a Juris Doctorate Law Degree (J.D.), Hamline University School of Law; and is completing a Doctor of Ministry (D.Min-ABD) in Biblical Exposition, Nashotah House Theological Seminary. Nguyen is a pontifically licensed and practicing canon lawyer in the Roman Catholic Church and a civil attorney. Before coming to UST, he served for seven years as the Chancellor/Canonical Counsel and Theological Advisor for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Corpus Christi, Texas. For the past 20 years, he has worked in Roman Catholic dioceses in various positions such as Chancellor, Director of Communications, Director of Sacred Worship, Defender of the Bond, and Promoter of Justice in Diocesan Tribunals. In education, he taught as an adjunct or associate professor at the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation; the Liturgical Institute at Mundelein Seminary; and Ave Maria University, where he was the Assistant to the Director of the Institute for Pastoral Theology. He also served as Upper School Dean at Providence Academy, La Crosse, WI.

SPONSORS

Venue

Holy Rosary Catholic Church

3617 Milam St.
Houston, TX 77002

For More Information:
Sydney Vacek, Conference Coordinator
832.779.1070
[email protected]

CONTACT US

  • PHONE

    832.779.1070

  • PHYSICAL ADDRESS

    1177 W Loop South, Ste. 940
    Houston, TX 77027

  • MAILING ADDRESS

    P.O. Box 5927
    Katy, TX 77491

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