2020 Conference Schedule (As of February 21, 2020)
March 22, 2020
Noon - 6:00 p.m. - Registration/Information
2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Bus Tour (Pre-registration required.) (Meet at Registration Table.)
Join us as we explore Columbus’ majestic and beautiful houses of worship. Witness the stunning mosaics and pristine marble of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral, built in the traditional Byzantine style of architecture. Experience the serene prayer halls and geometric motifs decorating the Noor Islamic Cultural Center, one of central Ohio’s largest mosques. Appreciate the intricate stained glass, intimate chapel, and majestic main sanctuary of the Jewish Conservative movement’s Congregation Tifereth Israel, one of Columbus’ oldest synagogues. In addition, visit the Buddhist shrine and Meditation Hall of Columbus Karma Thegsum Chöling, the Tibetan Buddhist Meditation Center temporarily being housed in this synagogue. We will learn about how the unique sanctuaries and prayer spaces in these beautiful houses of worship facilitate devotion, prayer, and support concepts of healing within the traditions of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism. A religious studies professor will accompany the group and offer his insights during the visits.
2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Workshops and Panel
2:00 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.
Workshop 1 -- The Innate Healing Power of the Body: the Premodern Medicine of Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179)
Led by Margaret Peterson, PhD, Fellow in Families, Illness and Collaborative Healthcare, Chicago Center for Family Health
For 2,400 years, from the time of Hippocrates through the Enlightenment, the medicine practiced in the West was that of the premodern, humoral system. This medicine, sometimes called the “System of the Fours,” understood both the cosmos as a whole and the human body in particular as composed in various proportions of four abstract elements (earth, air, water, and fire), four qualities (hot, cold, wet, and dry), and four humors (blood, bile, phlegm, and melancholia). The medical texts of the Middle Ages, whatever the identity of the author (Jewish doctor, Christian monk, university-educated physician, herbalist) and whatever that person’s training (apprenticeship, university education, connections with family or friends), all reflect this Hippocratic model. The twelfth-century German Benedictine abbess Hildegard of Bingen authored one such medical text. For many years this work, Causae et Curae, was untranslated from its original Latin and virtually completely neglected by medical historians. In the 1970s and 1980s the American physician Victoria Sweet, began to read and study Hildegard’s medical writings. In the process she discovered that Hildegard’s Causae et Curae, far from being a collection of prayers for the sick, was in many respects a typical medieval medical treatise. Dr. Sweet reflected upon and put into practice elements of Hildegard’s own medical practice in the course of the twenty years she spent as a physician at San Francisco’s Laguna Honda Hospital.
This workshop will include discussion of Hildegard’s particular take on premodern medicine, and implications of these for medical practice more generally, as well as for health care policy and bioethics. The format will be conversational, with lots of time and space allotted for questions and discussion.
2:00 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.
Workshop 2 -- Spiritual Care with Non-Communicative Patients
Led by Linda Golding, MA, BCC, Staff Chaplain; Coordinator, Pastoral Services for Milstein Hospital, New York-Presbyterian Hospital
Chaplains cross the thresholds of dozens of rooms each day, meeting patients and families, coming face to face with different systems and concerns, coming heart to heart with stories of spiritual uplift and spiritual distress. Words, body language, and trust are key currencies. What happens when the patient is non-communicative, and the family is absent? The room is still there, the door is still open, the threshold still must be crossed. Professionals and trainees alike struggle with how to employ tools of listening and presence with non-communicative patients, with what kind of pastoral care can be offered to this patient, how do we model respect and engagement for the family, how is the work of chaplain demonstrated and valued in this situation, how is trust developed, what replaces (or does not replace) words and body language? These questions are central to providing spiritual care to the patient who is unable to engage in a pastoral intervention. While much has been written in academic and general literature about pastoral care during illness and the end of life, there is very little about pastoral care with non-communicative patients and their families. As medical technology continues to develop more patients and families will experience being non-communicative. And chaplains will need to be prepared to walk this different journey. Based on the newly released book of the same title (by the same author!!), the workshop for SPIRITUAL CARE FOR NON-COMMUNICATIVE PATIENTS will guide chaplains, clinicians and caregivers through a series of exercises designed to develop the skills and confidence to offer spiritual care to non-communicative patients and their families. It is important to note that this workshop will be from the point of view of the human interaction rather than from a specific religious point of view, it will remind the participants of the spiritual dignity of the human body.
2:00 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.
Workshop 3 -- Mortality, Health, and Substance Abuse by Religious Attendance Among HIV Infected Patients
Led by Benjamin Doolittle, MD, MDiv, Associate Professor, Yale Medical School
Religion and spirituality have been associated with higher individual survival and improved biological markers among people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWH).
Prior results have largely been among small cohort studies. We examined the association using a larger sample and longitudinal data.
METHODS: Data were a sample of PLWH from the Veterans Aging Cohort Study (VACS) years 2002 – 2012 (n=3,685). We used survival analysis to examine the risk of death by at least monthly compared to less than monthly religious service attendance.
INTERPRETATION: Attending religious services at least monthly was associated with lower mortality risk among PLWH, which may be partially attributed to lower prevalence of substance use and depression compared to those attending less than monthly.
3:15 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. -- BREAK
3:30 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.
Workshop 4 -- Harmonizing the Secular and the Spiritual in Clinical Contexts — a Narrative Medicine Workshop
Led by Elizabeth J. Berger, M.S., APBCC, Guest Faculty, Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell
Literary theorist Rita Felski observes, “The desire to purge aesthetic experience of its enigmatic and irrational qualities merely has the effect of driving them underground.” This is especially prevalent in the evidence-bound realm of Western medical culture, often with a stifling effect on the narratives of patients and providers alike. Positivism, the primacy of technology and Cartesian dualism’s legacy of aligning man with mind and woman with body have rendered modern medicine—with its high rates of professional burnout and medical error—a kind of living paradigm of the Kabbalistic notion of the Shekhinah (the Divine Feminine of many names across many traditions) in exile. The silencing of certain kinds of stories, particularly those related to mythic thinking or spiritual belief, is a barrier to communication, shared decision-making and effective self-care.
Narrative medicine is a set of practices that uses literature and reflective writing to deepen awareness and improve relationships in medicine and healthcare. In this experiential workshop, we will explore and traverse the worlds of the spiritual and the secular using this framework.
As a result of attending this session, participants will be acquainted with the operational tenets of narrative medicine, its various applications, and its value and connection to spiritual care in secular clinical contexts.
3:30 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.
Workshop 5 -- Viriditas: An Audience with Hildegard of Bingen
Led by Katherine Burke, MFA, Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine, Co-Director of the Program in Medical Humanities, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine and Amy Greene, DMin, MDiv, Director of Spiritual Care, Cleveland Clinic
At about the age of 40, 12th century abbess Hildegard of Bingen had a divine vision instructing her to write. This midlife crisis/awakening was the inciting incident that provoked Hildegard to reimagine her life. For the next 40 years she tirelessly produced liturgical drama and music, theological texts, medical and botanical manuscripts, poetry, and even an entire language. Hildegard used the Latin viriditas—greenness, vitality, growth, and blooming—to describe not only the botanical world and the healing power of plants, but the spiritual and creative force within humans. Through her writing, Hildegard encourages us to reimagine our own lives and the practice of health care to honor and nurture viriditas in each of us. This Verbatim Theatre performance (theatre derived from extant texts, interviews, and other first-person sources) weaves together Hildegard’s writings to explore her work in botany, medicine, and religion, as well as her own experience as a woman in midlife. The audience members play the part of some of the many pilgrims who traveled long distances to seek healing and divine insight from Hildegard. Most medical history books pay little attention to the profound contributions of women. This performance seeks to remedy that omission by illuminating Hildegard’s significant medical work, describing herbal remedies, healing practices, and the intersection of religion, the arts, and medicine. A facilitated dialogue with Hildegard follows the 30-minute performance, in which audience members can ask Hildegard, directly or written on cards, questions about spirituality, health, remedies, and viriditas.
3:30 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.
Panel 1 -- Healing and Economy: The Question of Charity in a Secular Age
Panelists -- Matthew Elmore, MA, ThD Student, Duke Divinity School; Farr Curlin, MD, Duke University; Mariana Cuceu, MD, MPH, PhD(c), Gr. T. Popa University of Medicine and Pharmacy Iasi; Rick Moreno, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago
Once, the hospital was a novel idea. Bedside medical service had been the aristocrat’s privilege; physicians made house calls on a fee-for-service basis, or else they worked at cultic sites for pilgrims who found their own accommodations. The hospital thus reformed Hippocratic custom, creating a new space-time in which to imagine medicine. Conceived by the church as an administration of care for the poor, the hospital also signified an evolution of the Pauline social imaginary: the powerless were necessary members, indeed worthy of special treatment. This panel will discuss the possibilities and thresholds of such a vision in today’s medical context. Drawing from the paradigm found in eastern Patristic theology, each panelist will reflect on their experience in clinical and ecclesial structures, asking: how does my lived reality interact with the tradition of radical charity?
6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. - Dinner Discussions at Area Restaurants (Sign-up at the Registration/Information Table)
*Schedule is subject to change.