Virtue, Wisdom, and the Practice of Medicine

*This is a past program from 2018-2019. Click here for the 2019-2020 program.


Theme Description:

The practice of medicine focuses on actions that are intended to promote health and healing, and to do so in ways that are respectful and compassionate.  To be aimed at health and to be consistent with our ethical obligations, these actions need to be of a certain kind regarding the ends they pursue and the means they employ.  This is to say that these actions need the virtue of practical wisdom, by which we identify the best means to achieve worthwhile ends.  How we understand which ends are worthwhile and which means are best will depend on the virtues that inform our thoughts, sustain our motivations, and enable our vision.  For virtue not only guides how we think and act, but also how we see the world and our responsibilities in it.  The Scholars in Ethics and Medicine will together explore deep connections between vision, virtue, and wisdom as they relate health and healing, especially the ways in which they allow us to see patients as whole persons, not only bodies; medicine as a goal-oriented practice, not only a technical power; and healing as a compassionate and competent response to deep human needs, not only wants and preferences.

Program Leaders:

  • Lauris Kaldjian, MD, PhD, University of Iowa, Co-Director
  • Mike Hawking, MD, MSc, University of Chicago, Co-Director
  • John Yoon, MD, University of Chicago, Senior Advisor
  • Cassandra Oehler, MD, University of Chicago, Mentor
  • Andrew Oehler, MD, University of Chicago, Mentor
  • Elizabeth Tung, MD, University of Chicago, Mentor

Fall Events Schedule

  • Keynote Seminar
    • Speakers:  Lauris Kaldjian, MD, PhD, University of Iowa (bio), and Michael Hawking, MD, University of Chicago (bio)
    • Title: Virtue Ethics and Practical Wisdom
    • Date: October 27th, 2018
  • Seminar
    • Speaker: Kyle Karches, MD, Saint Louis University (bio)
    • Title: “Virtuous Practice and Value Pluralism”
    • Date: November 15th, 2018

Winter Events Schedule

  • Seminar:
    • Speaker: Dan Brudney, PhD, University of Chicago (bio)
    • Title: “Concepts at the Bedside”
    • Date: February 28th, 2019, 6pm-8pm
  • Seminar:
    • Speaker: Fabrice Jotterand, PhD, Medical College of Wisconsin (bio)
    • Title: “Practical Wisdom and a Moral Philosophy of Medicine”
    • Date: March 11th, 2019, 5:30pm-7:30pm

Spring Events Schedule

  • Keynote Seminar
    • Speakers: Dr. Lauris Kaldjian, University of Iowa, and Dr. Lydia Dugdale, Yale University (bio)
    • Title: Narrative Medicine and Narrative Ethics
    • Date: April 13th, 2019
  • Seminar:
    • Speaker: Gilbert Meilaender, PhD, Valparaiso University (bio)
    • Title: “The Place of Virtue Theory in Moral Reasoning”
    • Date: May 2nd, 2019
  • Closing Ceremony:
    • Speaker: Neethi Pinto, MD, MS, University of Chicago (bio)
    • Title:  TBD
    • Date: May 9th, 2019, 5:30pm-7pm

Testimonials from last year’s program