InquireApply Now


Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

The 2021 John Suydam Kuhlthau Bioethics Conference

October 20, 2021 @ 8:00 am - 11:00 am


“Look on my Suffering and Deliver Me”
An Interdisciplinary Dialogue on the Medical Aid in Dying Law in New Jersey

Program includes:

An overview of the Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act by
Dr. Jessica L. Israel,
Senior Vice President, Geriatrics and Palliative Care
Corporate Director, The James and Sharon Maida Geriatrics Institute
RWJBarnabas Health

Keynote Speakers:

Dr. Nancy Duff, Ph.D.
Stephen Colwell Associate Professor of Christian Ethics, Emerita
Princeton Theological Seminary

Dr. Lauris Kaldjian, M.D., Ph.D.
Director, Program in Bioethics and Humanities
Professor, Department of Internal Medicine
University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine

Followed by interdisciplinary small groups case study discussion.


If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Raynard Smith at

Bios of Speakers

Rev. Nancy Duff, Ph.D.

Nancy J. Duff is the Stephen Colwell Associate Prof. of Christian Ethics, Emerita at Princeton Theological Seminary. She earned her M.Div. from Union Presbyterian Seminary in Virginia and her Ph.D. from Union Theological Seminary in New York. Her interest is in the intersection between medical ethics and faith. She taught Christian Ethics at Princeton Seminary for 25½ years before retiring in 2020. An ordained Presbyterian (USA) minister, Nancy focused her research on the theological foundations of Christian ethics. Writing from the Reformed tradition and informed by both Pauline apocalyptic and feminist concerns, she explored how theological claims identify the church’s responsibility in the world. She taught courses in the theology and ethics of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, issues in biomedical ethics, issues in human sexuality, the doctrine of vocation, and the ethics of the Ten Commandments. For many years she taught a course on the ethics of resisting and accepting death. She has served on the ethics committee at Penn Medicine Princeton Medical Center for 25 years. She is the author of Humanization and the Politics of God: The Koinonia Ethics of Paul Lehmann (1992) and she has published a book on death and dying titled Making Faithful Decisions at the End of Life (Westminster John Knox, 2018).

Lauris C. Kaldjian, MD

Dr. Kaldjian is Director of the Program in Bioethics and Humanities at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, where he is also a professor in the Department of Internal Medicine and holds the Richard M. Caplan Chair in Biomedical Ethics and Medical Humanities.
He received his M.D. from the University of Michigan, an M.Div. and Ph.D. in Christian ethics from Yale University, and completed his residency and fellowship training at Yale in internal medicine and infectious diseases.  He has been at the University of Iowa since 2000.
His research interests have been directed toward end of life decision making, goals of care, disclosure of medical errors, the role of foundational beliefs and values in  medical ethics, practical wisdom in healthcare, conscientious practice, and ethics education. Many of his interests are woven together in Practicing Medicine and Ethics: Integrating Wisdom, Conscience, and Goals of Care (Cambridge University Press, 2014).  His publications can be found in a variety of journals.
At the Carver College of Medicine, Dr. Kaldjian directs the Biomedical Ethics Thread in the four-year curriculum and co-directs the Humanities Distinction Track and the Personal-Professional Compass Program.
At the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Dr. Kaldjian has practiced general internal medicine, served as interim Division Director of General Internal Medicine from 2013-15, currently serves on the hospital’s Ethics Committee and works as a consultant on the Ethics Consult Service.
Beyond the University, Dr. Kaldjian has served on the ethics committees of the United Network for Organ Sharing, the Society of General Internal Medicine, the American College of Physicians, and the Iowa Medical Society. He also served as a Deputy Editor for the Journal of General Internal Medicine and currently serves on the editorial board of Communication & Medicine.
Dr. Kaldjian’s contributions to the medical profession have been recognized by a Merit Award from the Iowa Medical Society (2016) and a Laureate Award from the Iowa Chapter of the American College of Physicians (2017).


Jessica Israel, M.D.

Dr. Jessica Israel MD is the Corporatge Chair of the Geriatrices for RWJBarnabas Health where she works alongside geriatricians and interdisciplinary teams from across the system to develop innovative, cohesive programs with a specialize focus on geriatrics and senior care across RWJBarnabas Health.
Dr. Israel has been with RWJBarnabas Health since 2002 as a practicing geriatrician at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch where she established the first outpatient palliative care program in New Jersey and a nationally-recognized geriatric medicine program. She has served as both the Vice Chair and Interim Chair of the Department of Medicine at Monmouth Medical Center. In 2015, Dr. Israel became the Regional Director of Geriatrics and Palliative Care expanding her program to Monmouth Medical Center’s Southern Campus where she developed and serves as the Director of The James and Sharon Maida Geriatrics Institute.
The Maida Institute is a landmark program in geriatrics incorporating both inpatient and outpatient care in the same location and providing evidence-based best practices through on site physical and occupational therapy, audiology, specialized nursing, pharmacy, social work and education. The Maida Institute is also home to the Better Health senior membership program focused on bringing both educational and social programming to more than 1800 Ocean County residents. As Corporate Chair of Geriatrics, Dr. Israel will take what she has cultivated at the James and Sharon Maida Geriatrics Institute and use it as a model program for enhancing geriatric services and senior care across the system.
Dr. Israel completed her medical school training at The Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, NY where she also completed her internship and residency in internal medicine as well as a fellowship in Geriatrics and Adult Development with a focus in palliative medicine. She is a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society. She co-authored the textbook “Medicine: A Competency Based Companion,” a medical student and resident text that focuses on medicine in the context of competency in communication skills, professionalism and system based practices. Additionally, she has been a contributing writer to The New York Times sharing cases of patients near the end of life and the life-lessons each teaches.
Dr. Israel has been the recipient of numerous teaching awards including the Oksana Korzenowski Award for Clinical Excellence from the Drexel University College of Medicine, and is the past recipient of the Hospice Medical Director of the Year award from the NJ Hospice and Palliative Care Nursing Association. She has been recognized as ‘Best Doctor’ from both New Jersey Magazine and Inside Jersey Magazine for Geriatrics, Palliative Medicine, and Cancer Care and has been named a Castle Connolly Top Physician. Her areas of clinical interest included geriatrics, dementia and behavioral management, palliative care, end of life care and doctor-patient communication.




October 20, 2021
8:00 am - 11:00 am