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The Patient as Teacher: What Dr. Dan learned from Fred


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September 18, 2011:

Medicine is a genuine ministry. All one need to do is to read the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles to know that the ministry of Jesus and his early disciples was a ministry of preaching and healing.  Similarly, St. Francis of Assisi and the early friars preached in city squares and cared for lepers.  Yet, while much has been written about the spirituality of patients coping with illness, little attention has been paid to the spirituality of being a health care professional.

Dr. Daniel Sulmasy, O.F.M., M.D., Ph.D., presents “The Patient as Teacher: What Dr. Dan learned from Fred,” a narrative account of his relationship with one patient as a means of providing insight into medicine as a spiritual discipline.

Dr. Sulmasy is Kilbride-Clinton Professor of Medicine and Ethics in the Department of Medicine and the Divinity School at the University of Chicago as well as the Associate Director of the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics in the Department of Medicine.  A member of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, a Franciscan Friar, an ethicist, and a practicing physician, Dr. Sulmasy studies end-of-life decision-making, ethics education and spirituality in medicine. 

In addition to serving on the editorial boards of several academic journals, he is the editor-in-chief of the journal Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics. He previously served as Chair of the Ethics Committee of the Society of General Internal Medicine and on the Board of Directors for the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities. A prolific author and speaker, Dr. Sulmasy has lectured on ethics and medicine extensively throughout the United States and Europe.

The Duns Scotus Chair in Franciscan Spirituality was endowed in 1997 through a generous gift of the Saint John the Baptist Province of the Orders of Friars Minor, Cincinnati, Ohio, in order to promote the rich spirituality of the Franciscan tradition as well as the other great spiritual resources of the Catholic heritage. Rev. Edward Foley, Capuchin, is the current holder of the chair.