Feb. 12th conference aims to support Catholic health care professionals
By Valerie Schmalz
We are living in a world where there are tremendous advances in medicine.
But with the advances come what feels like a tsunami of moral and ethical dilemmas for the Catholic and Christian health care professional, challenges that the trauma of the pandemic have intensified.
Medical professionals almost daily encounter moral and ethical situations in patient care at every stage of life. These include the promotion of birth control to every teen who walks into a doctor’s office and the encouragement of surgical and hormonal interventions for gender dysphoria in children and adolescents. And for the elderly or disabled sick, there is frequently a push to end life before the person’s life has run its natural course.
“Particularly in California, we are inundated with biomedical ethical challenges in nearly every specialty,” said psychiatrist Cynthia Hunt, MD, board member of the Catholic Medical Association and faculty member of St. Patrick’s Seminary & University.
“These challenges occur in both the inpatient and the outpatient arenas. “
A daylong conference, “Health Care at the Service of Patient and Professional,” will be offered Feb. 12, in-person and via Zoom, at St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park. It is sponsored by the Archdiocese of San Francisco, the seminary, the Catholic Medical Association Region XI, and the St. John Paul II Foundation. Continuing education credits are available for health care professionals.
The conference is part of the national series organized by the St. John Paul II Foundation, “Converging Roads: Where Health Care Ethics and Medicine Converge.” San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone will offer Mass as part of the day, which will include opportunities for the sacrament of reconciliation. “It is an honor to host the CMA conference at St. Patrick’s Seminary,” Archbishop Cordileone said.
“We want to continue to encourage and support Catholic and Christian health care professionals to live their faith in their practices and to do this using sound evidence-based medicine that promotes a culture of life,” Dr. Hunt said.
She noted end of life issues are “huge” and magnified in California where physician-assisted suicide is legal.
“In this current year, the trauma that has been experienced through the COVID era has affected many families and health care professionals,” Dr. Hunt said. “Working through this trauma to be able to heal is one of our primary hopes and goals in 2022. “
Mental health of children and adolescents will be one of the conference highlights. “Our children have been affected deeply. Anxiety, depression, substance use and suicidality have been rising for several years now, also affected by COVID-19,” Dr. Hunt said. “This conference will look at some of the potential causes and solutions. ”
Conference topics and speakers:
- Can Moral Medicine Be Practiced in a Secular Health Care System? Michel Accad, MD
- Vaccines: Moral Obligations, Prudential Judgements, Personal Responsibility, and the Common Good. Michael J. Deem, PhD
- Gender Dysphoria in Children and Adults: Science, Ideology, and Ethics. Paul Hruz, MD, PHD
- The Mental Health Crisis for Children and Adolescents. Cynthia Hunt, MD, & Gwenyth Anne Spaeder, MD
- New Challenges Post-Pandemic: Health of Health Care Professionals. Maricela P. Moffitt, MD, MPH, FACP
- End of Life and Allocation of Resources. Claudia R. Sotomayor, MD, DBe
For more information and to register:
Valerie Schmalz is director of the Office of Human Life & Dignity, Archdiocese of San Francisco