Speaker Objectives

West Michigan Medical Ethics Conference
Waiting for a Miracle: Religion’s Role in Patient Decision Making
February 22, 2021


David Vessey, Ph.D.
Professor of Philosophy
Grand Valley State University

Title: Waiting For a Miracle: The Big Picture


  •     Understanding the definition of a religiously influenced decision.
  •     Describe the usual steps of rational decision making.
  •     Identify Potential obstacles of communicating medical decision across religious communities.

Interfaith Panel:


  •     Identify different interfaith approaches to common situations faced in health care.
  •     Recognize respectful approaches to resolving cultural misunderstanding in medical decision making.


P. Douglas Kindschi, PhD (Interfaith panel moderator) (New)
Executive Director
Kauffman Interfaith Institute

Rabbi David Krishef (New)
Congregation Ahavas Israel

Father Mark Przybysz, MA
St Anthony of Padua

Fred Stella (Hindu and Buddhist expert)
West Michigan Hindu Temple in Ada
Pracharak /Temple Outreach Minister

Ali Metwalli, Ph.D.  Professor, College of Business
Western Michigan University

Bishop Dennis McMurry, D.Div.
Bishop, senior pastor
Renaissance Church of God in Christ


Joanna Bailey, MDiv, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s (Reflects Change)
Title: When Mystery, Hope, and Medicine Meet at the Bedside


  •     Recognize the importance of assessing and addressing religion and spirituality in clinical practice
  •     Describe factors that impede understanding and engagement with religion and spirituality


Expert Panel

Ana Iltis (Wake Forest University)
Ryan Nash (The Ohio State University)
David Vessey (GVSU)
Joanna Bailey (Spectrum Health) (Reflects Change)

Dave Rzeszutko, MD (Moderator)
Internal Medicine/Pediatrics
Spectrum Health


  •     define characteristics of a religious worldview.
  •     evaluate approaches to communicating the situation of patients with conflicting values.