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Medical Ethics Conference

March 8 - 10, 2013

The Medical Ethics Conference at the University of Notre Dame celebrates its 28th anniversary this spring. The first conference was organized by Dr. Philip Clarke and a number of other physician alumni of Notre Dame in March of 1985. This conference has been a fixture on the calendar of events at Notre Dame since that time, and it has attracted many of the leading contemporary scholars in bioethics to its annual sessions.

This conference has been distinctive in a number of ways. The program is built around small group discussions complemented by open-mic plenary sessions, all focused on case studies contributed by practicing physicians. The conference is open to both alumni and non-alumni, and we welcome persons from all religious traditions and viewpoints.

Although most of the participants in our conferences are physicians, we also welcome every year nurses, chaplains, health care administrators, other medical professionals, and anyone interested in
lively discussions of cutting-edge ethical issues in contemporary medicine.

The Philip and Doris Clarke Family Lecture in Medical Ethics 

We are happy to welcome Elvira Parravicini, MD to deliver this year’s Clarke lecture.

Dr. Parravicini is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. She graduated and obtained specializations in Pediatrics and Neonatology at the University of Milano, Italy. Dr. Parravicini is the founder of the first hospice for premature babies affected by lethal syndromes or anomalies with very low rates of survival. Her scholarly work has focused on prenatal diagnosis and kidney development.

“I always have an experience of beauty working with little patients between life and death,” she said, “whether the resuscitation succeeds in saving the life, or I have to face the extreme human limit that is death, because there is a meaning even there.” “There is always something to do” is Elvira’s motto even in front of the most desperate case: “the length of their life cannot be foreseen with certainty so our responsibility as doctors is to serve their life, short or long that it be.”

At this year’s Medical Ethics Conference, Doctor Parravicini will lecture on “Life and the Need for Happiness: Caring for Seriously Ill Newborn Children and Their Families.” She will explore issues surrounding the creation of an organized plan for comfort care in cases of infant mortality.

General Information

Program Fee

The conference fee of $700 includes conference materials, two lunches, and refreshments during the conference. There will be an early registration discount of $150 if you register before January 8, 2013. In addition, there will be a $35 fee for dinners on Friday and Saturday nights with fellow conference participants.


Registration enrollment is limited. Early registration is strongly encouraged. The early registration deadline is February 1, 2013. Participants must register before February 20, 2013. Registration is available online at Notre Dame reserves the right to cancel or reschedule a program and to change lecturers. For questions regarding registration, please contact the Notre Dame Conference Center at 574-631-6691.


The program fee (less a $50 service charge) will be refunded only if a written cancellation of enrollment is received two (2) weeks prior to the first day of the program.


The conference will be held at the McKenna Hall/Notre Dame Conference Center located near the main gate of the campus on Notre Dame Avenue, across the street from the Morris Inn.

Hotel Reservations

Due to construction at the Morris Inn, we have reserved a block of rooms at the Fairfield Inn. Hotel reservations are billed and processed separately from conference registrations. Call the Fairfield Inn for reservations at 574- 234-5510. Please tell the reservations agent that you will be attending the Medical Ethics Conference.

Conference Agenda

Friday, March 8, 2013

  • Noon-1:00 p.m. Opening Luncheon1:00-3:30 p.m. Case presentations and discussions
  • 4:00-5:30 p.m. Clarke Family Lecture in Medical Ethics
  • 5:30-6:30 p.m. Reception
  • 6:30 p.m. Dinner (optional)

Saturday, March 9, 2013

  • 9 a.m.-12:15 p.m.Case presentations and discussions12:15-1:15 p.m. Luncheon
  • 1:15-4:45 p.m. Case presentations and discussions
  • 5:15-6:00 p.m. Mass
  • 6:30 p.m. Dinner (optional)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

  • 9:00-11:00 a.m. General forum and summary discussion
Notre Dame Alumni Association | Contact
100 Eck Center Notre Dame, IN 46556 Phone: 574-631-6000 Email: