Healthcare and the Health of the Public Research Cluster

About the Healthcare and the Health of the Public Research Cluster

The Healthcare and the Health of the Public research cluster focuses on the intersection of bioethics, moral reasoning, and political philosophy. In 2022, the cluster convened a reading group around Compassion in Healthcare: Pilgrimage, Practice, and Civic Life written by Oxford Professor of Christian Ethics Dr. Joshua Hordern. The academic year culimated in a workshop/public lecture with the author in spring 2023 semester. The cluster will reconvene for the 2023-2024 academic year in August.

Conveners

Rita Kirk

Rita Kirk

Dr. Kirk is the William F. May Endowed Director of the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility and professor of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs. Her passions for aligning resources with innovation, empowering ideas, and building coalitions in order to successfully implement strategic initiatives are hallmarks of her work.

Dallas Gingles Dallas Gingles

Dallas Gingles

Dr. Gingles is Assistant Dean of Hybrid Education and Associate Professor of Practice in Systematic Theology and Christian Ethics at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University where he teaches courses in systematic theology, moral theology, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and bioethics.
Robin Lovin Robin Lovin

Robin Lovin

Dr. Lovin is Cary Maguire University Professor of Ethics Emeritus at Southern Methodist University. Dr. Lovin served as Dean of the Perkins School of Theology from 1994 until 2002 and previously held teaching positions at Emory University and the University of Chicago, and he was Dean of the Theological School at Drew University.

More Information About Healthcare and Human Flourishing

About Compassion in Healthcare: Pilgrimage, Practice, and Civic Life

Compassion in Healthcare: Pilgrimage, Practice, and Civic Life gives an account of the nature and content of compassion and its role in healthcare. The argument considers how and why contested beliefs about political life, suffering, the human condition, time, and responsibility make a difference to ‘compassion’. While compassion appears to be a straightforward aspect of life and practice, the appearance is deceptive. Compassion is plagued by both conceptual and practical ills and needs some quite specific kinds of therapy. The first step therefore is to diagnose precisely what is wrong with ‘compassion’ including its debilitating political entanglements, the vagueness of its meaning and the risk of burn-out it threatens. With diagnosis in hand, three therapies are prescribed for compassion’s ills: (i) an understanding of patients and healthcare workers as those who pass through the life-course, encountering each other as wayfarers and pilgrims; (ii) a grasp of the nature of compassion in healthcare; and (iii) an embedding of healthcare within the realities of civic life. With this therapy applied, the argument shows how compassionate relationships acquire their content in healthcare practice. First, the form that compassion takes is shown to depend on how different doctrines of time, tragedy, salvation, responsibility, fault, and theodicy set the terms of people’s lives and relationships. Second, how such compassion matters to practice and policy is worked out in the detail of healthcare professionalism, marketisation, and technology, drawing on the author’s collaborations. Covering everything from conception to old age, and from machine learning to religious diversity, this book draws on philosophy, theology, and everyday experience to stretch the imagination of what compassion might mean in healthcare practice.

About Dr. Joshua Hordern

Joshua Hordern is Professor of Christian Ethics in the Faculty of Theology and Religion and a Fellow of Harris Manchester College at the University of Oxford. He is also an ordained minister in the Church of England. He has worked extensively with colleagues in healthcare on themes such as compassion in healthcare, medical professionalism, vaccine hesitancy and precision medicine. Publications include Compassion in Healthcare: Pilgrimage, Practice and Civic Life (Oxford University Press, 2020) and Advancing Medical Professionalism (Royal College of Physicians, 2018).

Healthcare and the Health of the Public Research Cluster

On April 3, 2023 the Healthcare and the Health of the Public SMU DCII Research Cluster welcomed  Joshua Hordern, Ph.D. to SMU to speak on the intersection of healthcare, theology and political philosophy.

Dr. Hordern talked to the group about how individuals in healthcare are forced to reckon with very basic questions about the good. What is a human? How does our account of human dignity fit into our overall understanding of the universe (is it a dignity that stands out in relief against the canvas of an infinite and meaningless universe; is it a dignity that is perfectly integrated into a meaningful universe that is created and loved by God?). It is in these institutions that we are required to be honest about the beliefs we hold most deeply even when—or especially because—we are committed to cordoning off some of these beliefs in our official political life, in order to build and maintain the conditions for a reasonable and just pluralistic constitutional democracy.

Keynote Speaker: Rev. Prof. Joshua Hordern

Joshua Hordern is Professor of Christian Ethics in the Faculty of Theology and Religion and a Fellow of Harris Manchester College at the University of Oxford. He is also an ordained minister in the Church of England. He has worked extensively with colleagues in healthcare on themes such as compassion in healthcare, medical professionalism, vaccine hesitancy and precision medicine. Publications include Compassion in Healthcare: Pilgrimage, Practice and Civic Life (Oxford University Press, 2020) and Advancing Medical Professionalism (Royal College of Physicians, 2018).

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Interested in working with the Healthcare and Human Flourishing Research Cluster?

The Healthcare and Human Flourishing Research Cluster is open to participants from any and all disciplines and departments at SMU and also welcomes participants from other universities and the broader DFW community. Email Maguire Ethics Center program coordinator Rylee Bailey at rbbailey@smu.edu or call the Ethics Center at 214-768-4255 to learn more about how you can get involved!

Check the Ethics Center's website periodically for updates regarding Healthcare and Human Flourishing Research Cluster events and meetings.