Dr. James Drane Speaker Series

on Religion and Culture

Science and Religion


Religion and Spirituality in End-of-Life Care

Joris Gielen, Ph.D.
Monday, Sept. 25, 2023 | 7 PM
Dr. William P. Alexander Music Center
PennWest Edinboro
Free Admission | Free Parking

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This event will also be broadcast on the University YouTube page.

Dr. Gielen will examine the influence of religion in contemporary healthcare across the globe. The audience will identify how religion shapes patients’ experiences of life-threatening illnesses in healthcare contexts as diverse as the United States and India. Religion not only shapes the experiences and views and attitudes of patients, but also of those caring for them: physicians, nurses, therapists, and other healthcare professionals. The presentation will point out the need for an understanding of spiritual care for everyone involved in the care process, including caregivers, and will explore ways in which this can be offered.

Joris Gielen

Dr. Joris Gielen is the Director and Associate Professor at the Center for Global Health Ethics at Duquesne University. He earned master’s degrees in History, Religious Studies, and Theology from the University of Leuven (Belgium), and in Indian Philosophy and Religion from Banaras Hindu University (India). While earning a Ph.D. in Theology from the University of Leuven, he completed a doctoral dissertation on palliative care physicians' and nurses' ethical attitudes and religious beliefs at the end of life in Flanders (Belgium) and New Delhi (India). After a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Leuven, Dr. Gielen joined the faculty at the Center for Healthcare Ethics at Duquesne University. His research focuses on the impact of religion and spirituality on medical decision making in palliative care globally. Dr. Gielen is the author or co-author of dozens of scholarly articles, book chapters, and presentations. His most recent book is Normativity in Bioethics (2020).

James F. Drane, Ph.D.

Founder and Director, Bioethics Institute 1969-2018

Jim DraneDr. James F. Drane received his religious education at St. John’s Seminary in Little Rock, Ark., and a Theology degree from the Gregorian University in Rome prior to being ordained a Catholic priest. After leaving the priesthood, he earned a degree in Romance Languages at Middlebury before completing a Ph.D. in Philosophy at the University of Madrid.

When he arrived at PennWest Edinboro in 1969, Dr. Drane collaborated with the then University President to establish the Bioethics Institute. He never lost his passion for continuing his ministry in the area of bioethics and was well known as a master instructor and caring academic advisor to countless students.

In 2002, Dr. Drane was named one of the founders of the discipline of Bioethics at the International Bioethics Conference in Brasilia, Brazil. He authored 20 books on bioethics and the conflicts and issues that can arise when medicine collides with ethical issues. 

Although officially retired from the University in 1993, he continued his active research and writing at the James F. Drane Bioethics Institute beyond age 90 before passing away on April 27, 2023. In 2020, he generously created this endowed speaker series on religion and culture.