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SLU Hosting Medicine and Religion Conference

Saint Louis University will host the sixth annual Conference on Medicine and Religion from Friday, April 13, through Sunday, April 15. The conference will take place at the Union Station Hotel, 1820 Market St., St. Louis, MO, and will consider whether religion and science can be addressed together in a productive way.

The theme for this year's conference is, “Examining the Foundations of Medicine and Religion.” Over 125 papers, panels, and workshops will be presented.

The conference began in 2012 to consider the complex relationship between science and faith and the potential for interfaith cooperation in the medical field. Previous conferences were held at the University of Chicago, Harvard University and Houston University.

“We all think we know something about religion and we all think we know something about medicine; but do they go together,” Jeffrey Bishop, M.D., Ph.D., director of SLU’s Albert Gnaegi Center for Health Care Ethics said. Bishop has been a part of the conference's organizing board since the conference began. “It turns out that the relationship between medicine and religion has deep historical and conceptual roots. Illness often brings into focus deeply human questions about the goodness of life, the meaning of life, and how one should live and die well.”

Plenary sessions will examine the social, historical, philosophical and empirical foundations of medicine and religion, with respondents from different religions. Keynote Speakers include Daniel Sulmasy of Georgetown University, Tyler VanderWeele of Harvard University, Wendy Cadge of Brandeis University, and Rebecca Messbarger, Ph.D., director of medical humanities at Washington University.

"It's exciting," said John K. Graham, M.D., president and CEO of the Institute for Spirituality and Health, which has sponsored the conference for several years.

“To be a part of the country's leading forum that seeks to enable national, and in some cases international, health care professionals and scholars of religion to gain a deeper and more practical understanding of how religion relates to the practice of medicine,” Graham continued.

A full list of presentations can be downloaded at the conference website.

The conference is open to physicians, chaplains, clergy, psychologists, social workers, health care professionals, academics and the public. Early registration at a reduced rate is open until March 16.

The Albert Gnaegi Center for Health Care Ethics at Saint Louis University is committed to excellence in teaching, service and research in health care. Engaging in both secular and religious discourse, the center brings Catholic, Jesuit tradition into interdisciplinary study of philosophical and legal bioethics.

For questions or more information, contact Jeffrey P. Bishop, M.D., Ph.D. ; Adrienne McCarthy; John K. Graham, M.D.; or Jeff Sokoloff.