Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2012-02-22

“Palliative Care: In Search of the Good Death” will be the topic of a symposium at Samford University on Friday, March 9. Panelists will discuss legal, medical and ethical issues related to end-of-life care. The public is invited free of charge to the day-long program in the moot courtroom of Robinson law building.

The schedule:

9 a.m. The “Good” Death? with Dr. H. Tristram Engelhardt, Jr., of Rice University and Dr. Ryan Nash of University of Alabama at Birmingham.

10:30 a.m.  Rationing, Death Panels, and Health Care Reform with Kathy Cerminara of Nova Southeastern University’s Shepard Broad Law Center, and Leonard “Jack” Nelson of Samford’s Cumberland School of Law.

1:30 p.m. Enhancing Autonomy: Protecting Patients from Conflicted and Coercive Healthcare with Dr. Elizabeth Kvale of UAB.

Kvale’s presentation will be followed at 3 p.m. with a time of discussion, questions and debate with all of the day’s panelists.   David Smolin, director of Cumberland’s Center for Biotechnology, Law and Ethics, will moderate.

A complimentary lunch will be provided at noon.  For information email David Smolin at or call (205) 726-2704.

The symposium is sponsored by the Center for Biotechnology, Law and Ethics, the Center for Palliative and Supportive Care at UAB Medical School, and Samford’s Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership.

About the speakers:

Cerminara, a law professor, is a specialist in the intersection of end-of-life care and health care coverage policy, specifically the coverage rules applicable to hospice care.

Engelhardt is a physician and philosophy professor who has written extensively  on the subject of bioethics, including his most recent book, The Foundations of Christian Bioethics. 

Kvale is a physician whose specialties include the supportive care of cancer patients, survivorship and the care of palliative patients in intensive settings.

Nash, former medical director of Balm of Gilead Palliative Care Center at Birmingham’s Cooper Green Mercy Hospital, is a specialist in palliative medicine, clinical ethics and medical humanities.

Nelson, a law professor, is a specialist in torts and heath care law, including regulation of managed care, and legal issues in treating terminally ill patients.


Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.