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Conferences and Lectures

The Albert Gnaegi Center Center for Health Care Ethics at Saint Louis University sponsors two endowed lectures each year, along with a student research conference.

Annual Health Care Ethics Research Conference

The Health Care Ethics Research Conference, started in 2014, is an annual opportunity for SLU undergraduate and graduate students to present research related to health care ethics to an interdisciplinary audience.

This conference is designed to foster advanced academic discourse in fields related to health care ethics, highlight research done by students, and increase awareness of ethical issues in science and medicine to the wider community.

This conference follows our Drummond Lecturer. For more information, contact

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Learn more about the 2019 Health Care Ethics Research Conference

Edward J. Drummond Lecture Series

The Edward J. Drummond Lecture Series was established in honor of the late Edward J. Drummond, S.J. A Jesuit and an alumnus, Drummond served as the first vice president for SLU’s Medical Center.

Drummond's dedication to his vocation and his vision for the medical center can be summed up in his words, spoken in 1964:

"This must be a place where learning continues and care is delivered in an atmosphere that remains personal in an increasingly technological society. We must be dedicated to scientific truth and committed to a tradition that sets medical knowledge and medical service in a significant relationship to God and our fellow men and women.

Benjamin S. Wilfond, MD

This year's lecture will be held in conjunction with the internal medicine grand rounds at noon Friday, March 22, in the Pitlyk Auditorium at the Learning Resources Center.  Our guest lecturer will be Benjamin Wilfond, M.D. with the lecture "Technological Interventions in Children with Profound Disabilities: Navigating Family & Professional Values."

Benjamin S. Wilfond, M.D. is the director of the Treuman Katz Center for Pediatric Bioethics and a pulmonologist at Seattle Children’s Hospital. He is professor and chief of the Division of Bioethics and Palliative Care, Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Dr. Wilfond leads the Research Bioethics Consult Service for the Institute of Translational Health Sciences. 

He conducts empirical research and conceptual scholarship focused on ethical and policy issues related to the boundaries between research and clinical care. His current projects relate to the integration of genomic testing into clinical practice, informed consent about research on medical practices, and decision-making about children with disabilities.

He is the co-chair of the CTSA Clinical Research Ethics Consultation Collaborative and the research ethics case co-editor of the American Journal of Bioethics. He is on the editorial boards of the Hastings Center Report, Ethics and Human Research, and Journal of Genetic Counseling and he is member of the Standing Committee on Ethics, Canadian Institutes of Health Research. He is an elected member of the American Pediatric Society and a fellow of the Hastings Center. He is a past president of the Association of Bioethics Program Directors and has served on the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Bioethics, the American Society of Human Genetics Social Issues Committee, and the American Thoracic Society Bioethics Taskforce.

He attended Muhlenberg College, New Jersey Medical School and completed his post graduate training at the University of Wisconsin. He has held faculty appointments at the University of Arizona, National Institutes of Health, and Johns Hopkins University. He is the founder and former chair of the National Human Genome Research Institute intramural IRB and has 30 years of experience on IRBs, DMCs, and as a clinical bioethics consultant. 

Past Drummond Lecturers

3/21/19 - Benjamin Wilfond, MD, "Technological Interventions in Children with Profound Disabilities: Navigating Family & Professional Values."

3/2/18 - Joseph J Fins, "Disorders of Consciousness and Disability Rights: When Neuroscience meets Neuroethics"

11/18/2016 - Brian Williams  (HEALTH AND SOCIAL JUSTICE conference) "Breaking the Silence:A Candid Look at Race and Violence in America"

02/26/16 – Dorothy Roberts, JD, "Mistreating Health Inequities: Race, Medicine, and Justice"

03/27/15 – Jeffrey P. Bishop, MD, PhD, "Popular Neuroscience and Political Schemes"

03/21/14 – Larry R. Churchill, PhD, "Patients: The Neglected Source for Medical Ethics"

05/10/13 – Farr A. Curlin, MD, "What has religion to do with the practice of medicine?"

04/13/12 – James W. Pichert, PhD, "Promoting Professionalism and Professional Accountability in Pursuit of a Culture of Safety"

04/15/11 – Peter A. Lawler, PhD, "Virtue and the Prospect of Indefinite Longevity"

04/09/10 – Mark Siegler, MD, "Primary Care Physicians' Views on Health Reform and End of Life Care"

04/03/09 – Edmund D. Pellegrino, MD, MACP, "Autonomy as a Positive Right: The Danger of Moral Abandonment"

03/14/08 – Douglas S. Diekema, MD, MPH, "The Ashley Case Revisited: Reflections on Health Care Decision-making."

03/30/07 – Ron Hamel, PhD, "A Matter of Conscience: The Scope & Limits of Health Professionals' Refusals."

04/07/06 – Nancy Dubler, LLB, "Bioethics Mediation."

04/08/05 – Tod Chambers, PhD, "The Bioethicist's Audience is Always a Fiction."

03/05/04 – Rebecca Dresser, JD, "The President's Council on Bioethics Work on Cloning and Stem Cell Research: An Insider's Perspective."

03/14/03 – Daniel Sulmasy, MD, PhD, OFM, "The Ethics of Terminal Sedation"

04/11/02 – Jerry Menikoff, MD, JD, MPH, "Promising Experimental Medical Treatments - For Research Subjects Only?"

03/30/01 – Gerard Magill, PhD,"Ethics of Stem Cell Research"

03/03/00 – Gerard Magill, PhD, Joan Carter, PhD and C. Griffin Trotter, MD, PhD, "Unions and Catholic Healthcare"

04/16/99 – Kenneth V. Iserson, MD, "They're Dead, Now What? Reflections on the Treatment of Dead Bodies"

03/27/98 – James DuBois, PhD, DSc and Harvey Solomon, MD, "The Ethics of Non-Heart Beating Organ Donation"

04/25/97 – Edmund Pellegrino, MD, "Ethics in Medicine"

03/22/96 – Norman Desbiens, MD, "Ethical Issues in Care of the Dying" Lessons from the SUPPORT Study

03/17/95 – Lawrence Schneiderman, MD, "Beyond Futility to an Ethic of Care"

04/22/94 – Troyen Brennan, MD, "Health Care Reform: Ethical Issues"

04/02/93 – Kathleen M. Foley, MD, "Cancer Pain"

04/24/92 – Hugh Straley, MD, "Physician Assisted Suicide: Ethical Issues"

03/01/91 – Edmund Pellegrino, MD, "Economics & Medicine: Ethics Challenges..Ethical Responses"

03/30/90 – Ezekiel Emanuel, MD, PhD, "Four Models of Physician-Patient Relationship"

03/17/89 – Kathleen Nolan, MD, "Probing Our Genes: Ethical Implications of Mapping the Human Genome"

12/3/87 - 12/4/87 – Mervyn Silverman, MD, MPH, "AIDS: The Ethical Dilemmas"

03/20/87 – Robert Heaney, MD, "Technology & The Human Response"

02/10/86 – Ned Cassem, SJ, MD, "Contemporary Ethical Issues in Medical Care"

Distinguished Lecture Series

Christine Bieber Lake, Ph.D.
Christina Bieber Lake, Ph.D.

The Distinguished Lecture Series invites internationally established ethicists to lecture at Saint Louis University. The purpose of the series it to discuss major emerging issues in the field of health care ethics with faculty and doctoral students, as well as the larger University community.

This year's lecture, "Monsters in our Midst: The Sins of Dr. Frankenstein," will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 15, in the Saint Louis Room in Busch Student Center. Our guest lecturer will be Christina Bieber Lake, Ph.D.  

Christina Bieber Lake is the Clyde S. Kilby professor of English at Wheaton College where she teaches classes in contemporary American literature and literary theory. Lake has authored several essays on Flannery O’Connor as well as a monograph titled "The Incarnational Art of Flannery O’Connor " (Mercer UP, 2005). Her most recent book is "Prophets of the Posthuman: American Fiction, Biotechnology, and the Ethics of Personhood" (University of Notre Dame press, 2013). This book explores, through a variety of fictional narratives, the ethical implications of the revolution in human enhancement technology. It was awarded Indiana Wesleyan University’s 2014 Aldersgate prize for integrative scholarship, as well as the Catholic press association’s award in the category of faith and science.

Lake has just completed a book-length project titled "Beyond the Story: American Fiction and the Limits of Materialism," which argues that contemporary American storytelling is an act of love for persons that inherently resists scientific naturalism’s account of human experience.

She lives in Wheaton, Illinois with her husband, Stephen, and their son, Donovan.

Past Distinguished Lecturers

10/15/18 - Christina Bieber Lake, "Monsters in our Midst: The Sins of Dr. Frankenstein"

3/2/2018 - Carl Elliott, “Lonesome Whistle: Why medical researchers stay silent about dangers to human subjects"

12/02/15 –Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, PhD, "Why I am a Bioconservative"

02/26/15 – Cathleen Kaveny, JD, PhD, "Religion, Conscience, & the Public Square: Thirty Years After Cuomo's Notre Dame Speech"

10/07/13 – Laurie Zoloth, PhD, "Religion, Bioethics and the Poor: Attending to the Present on Bioethics"

11/07/12 –John Lantos, MD, "The Cultivation of Gratitude"

10/9/09 – Laurence B. McCullough, PhD, “Taking Professional Conscience Seriously"

10/10/08 – Mark Cherry, PhD, "Kidney for Sale by Owner: Human Organs, Transplantation, and the Market"

11/10/06 –James F. Childress, PhD, "Just Care: Rationing in a Public Health Crisis"

09/09/05 –Laurie Zoloth, PhD, "Justice is the One Thing You Must Always Find: Access to Health Care in an Unfinished World"

09/10/04 –H. Tristram Engelhardt, Jr., MD, PhD, "Birth of Bioethics Critically Reassessed"

09/19/03 – Jonathan Moreno, PhD, "Human Experimentation and Bioterrorism"


Conference on Medicine and Religion

The annual Conference on Medicine and Religion was held April 13-15 at the Union Station Hotel in St. Louis. This years conference theme is "Examining the Foundations of Medicine and Religion."

Jeffery Bishop
Jeffery Bishop, M.D., Ph.D.

Jeffrey Bishop, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Albert Gnaegi Center for Health Care Ethics, has been a part of the conference’s organizing board since the conference began. 

“We all think we know something about religion and we all think we know something about medicine; but do they go together," Bishop said. "It turns out that the relationship between medicine and religion has deep historical and conceptual roots.”

International Academy for Bioethical Inquiry (IABI) Summer Symposium


The Center for Health Care Ethics and IABI will host a bioethics symposium in Ireland July 2019.

Paper presentations from renowned bioethics scholars around the world will explore the ontological and theological dimensions of bioethics.

IABI seeks to do two things:

  1. Bring religion and faith commitments back to serious bioethical inquiry, and
  2. Provide a venue for philosophically and theologically sophisticated scholarship to be brought to bear on contemporary bioethics.

Registration is available for the 2019 symposium via SLU Marketplace.