Baylor Hosts Medical Ethics Conference for Practicing Health Care Professionals

June 10, 2008

Media contact: Lori Fogleman
Director of Media Communications
(254) 710-6275 or

Nationally prominent experts in medical and health care ethics with credentials in medicine, philosophy, and theology will be among the speakers during Baylor University's annual Medical Ethics Conference on June 13-14 at George W. Truett Theological Seminary on the Baylor campus.

The Medical Ethics Conference is a working forum for practicing health care professionals to explore the pressing moral questions of medicine and health care delivery and to seek a deeper theological understanding of their vocation as God's summons to a life of service. The conference is funded in part by the Baylor Horizons program, an initiative funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. for the exploration of vocation, and the McLennan County Medical Society. Sponsored by Baylor University and Hillcrest Health Systems, the conference is directed by Baylor's Center for Christian Ethics.

"Baylor University has such a wonderful heritage of preparing men and women for health care professions - not only through the study of the physical sciences, but more recently through programs in medical humanities, social work and chaplaincy training," said Dr. Robert B. Kruschwitz, professor of philosophy and director of the Baylor Center for Christian Ethics. "This conference brings together a range of professionals - physicians, nurses, health care administrators, social workers and chaplains - to engage in morally attentive and theologically informed reflection about the vocation of health care. Their ages will span from current Baylor undergraduates to retired alumni and friends. I am looking forward to lively discussions and rich fellowship."

Ethics experts will guide the conference discussions in plenary sessions and small breakout groups. The featured ethicists include:

• Dr. Steven L. Brown, MD, PhD, FACC, cardiologist with Permian Cardiology Associates in Midland, Texas, and clinical associate professor of internal medicine at Texas Tech University

• Dr. Ronald A. Carson, Harris L. Kempner Distinguished Professor at the Institute for the Medical Humanities, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston

• Dr. William F. May, Cary M. Maguire Professor of Ethics Emeritus, Southern Methodist University

• Dr. Paul J. Wadell, professor of religious studies at St. Norbert College

The conference will begin on Friday, June 13, with registration at 11 a.m. in the lobby at Truett Seminary, followed by a luncheon at noon in the Piper Great Hall.

Breakout sessions in Truett classrooms will be held Friday on "Genetic Interventions" from 12:45 to 3:15 p.m. and "Death and the Human Person" from 3:45 to 6:00 p.m.

A 6:00 p.m. banquet in the Piper Great Hall will be followed by a keynote address by William F. May on "Medicine as a Vocation" from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in Powell Chapel. This address and the dessert reception to follow in the Piper Great Hall are free and open to the public.

On Saturday, participants will discuss "The Hospitalist Debate" from 8:00 to 10:15 a.m. and "Training a Well-Rounded Physician" from 10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. A closing luncheon will follow in the Piper Great Hall.

Baylor faculty members also will serve as discussion leaders during breakout sessions. They all currently serve on the Baylor Advisory Committee for the Medical Ethics Conference:

• Dr. Darin Davis, associate director of the Baylor Institute for Faith and Learning

• Dr. Douglas V. Henry, director of the Baylor Institute for Faith and Learning and assistant professor of philosophy in the Honors College

• Dr. Robert B. Kruschwitz, director of the Baylor Center for Christian Ethics and professor of philosophy

• Dr. James Marcum, director of the Baylor Medical Humanities Program and professor of philosophy

• Dr. Paul Martens, assistant professor of religion

• Dr. Margaret Watkins, assistant professor of philosophy

Lauren G. Barron, MD, family practitioner in Hillcrest Clinic, Hewitt/Woodway, and Tim Martindale, MD, family practitioner at Providence Family Medicine Clinic and 2008 president of McLennan County Medical Society, also serve on the advisory committee.

For more information about the Medical Ethics Conference, contact the Baylor Center for Christian Ethics at (254) 710-3774.

Featured ethicists

Dr. Steven L. Brown is a cardiologist in private practice in Midland, Texas, and a clinical associate professor of internal medicine at Texas Tech University. He is the author of Navigating the Medical Maze: A Practical Guide as well as numerous articles for professional medical and research journals. He frequently speaks to the public on health issues in seminars, television interviews, and church settings.

Dr. Ronald A. Carson is the author of many articles in humanities and medical publications, and co-editor of and contributor to four books: Chronic Illness: From Experience to Policy; Philosophy of Medicine and Bioethics: A Twenty Year Retrospective and Critical Appraisal; Behavioral Genetics and Society: The Clash of Culture and Biology; and Practicing the Medical Humanities: Engaging Physicians and Patients. He is a founder and co-editor of the journal Medical Humanities Review, a founding member of the editorial board of Medical Humanities (UK), and a contributing editor of Literature and Medicine. Dr. Carson served as Director of The Institute for the Medical Humanities from 1982 to 2005.

Recognized as one of America's leading scholars in the field of medical ethics, Dr. William F. May was the founding director of the Maguire Center of Ethics at Southern Methodist University, a founding fellow of the Hastings Center for Bioethics, and from 2002-2004 served on the President's Council on Bioethics. He also served as a member of the Working Group on Ethical Foundations for the Clinton Task Force on National Health Care Reform. Among Dr. May's many books are The Physician's Covenant: Images of the Healer in Medical Ethics; The Patient's Ordeal; and Beleaguered Rulers: The Public Obligation of the Professional. With these signal works are also numbered writings in the field of medical ethics on such subjects as the right to die and the obligation to care, organ transplants, and ethics of doctors and lawyers.

Dr. Paul J. Wadell, a prolific writer and popular lecturer in ethics, is the author of Friendship and the Moral Life; The Primacy of Love: An Introduction to the Ethics of Thomas Aquinas; The Moral of the Story: Literary Reflections; Becoming Friends: Worship, Justice, and the Practice of Christian Friendship; and most recently, Happiness and the Christian Moral Life: An Introduction to Christian Ethics. He serves on the staff of the Faith, Learning, and Vocation program at St. Norbert College.

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