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Wellness Café – Advancing Health Through Science & Faith

Wellness Café – Advancing Health Through Science & Faith

October 12, 2019 @ 8:30 am – 12:45 pm America/Chicago Timezone
St. Christopher's Episcopal Church
7845 N River Rd
River Hills, WI 53217
Orsolya Garrison, DrPH, MPH

Science and Faith: Either or Both?

As we discuss the journey to wellness and human flourishing in this series, we would like to begin our discussion with a conversation around science and faith. Considering the whole person, which includes the biological, psychological, social and spiritual, raises questions about interactions between science and faith.

Can a person’s religious faith co-exist with science, or must the two be kept completely separate? If they can co-exist, what can faith bring to discussions around science? And how can this impact medical decisions in our daily lives? Where have you seen faith and science intersect in your own life? Join us as we discuss these questions and more.

  1. Can science and faith co-exist, or must discussions of science exclude faith and vice versa?
  2. Are there risks to bringing faith into discussions of science, or science into discussions of faith?
  3. How do your beliefs about the relationship between science and faith impact your approach to research?

Take part in an engaging conversation between medical professionals from the Medical College of Wisconsin, including Dr. Reza Shaker, Dr. Fabrice Jotterand, and Dr. Ryan Spellecy in conversation with The Rev. Geoffrey Ward about advancing health through research and faith. General sessions held in the Norvell Commons, followed by lunch in the Community Room at St. Christopher’s.

All proceeds go toward scholarships for under-represented students at the Medical College.


8:30 – 9:30 am

Gathering and light breakfast

9:30 – 10:30 am

Presentation by panelists

10:30 – 10:45 am


10:45 – 11:45 am

Discussion with guests

11:45 – 12:45 pm


About the Panel

Reza Shaker, MD
Senior Associate Dean, Center Director, Chief, Professor
Medical College of Wisconsin

Dr. Reza Shaker is Chief of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Director of the Digestive Disease Center and Associate Provost and Senior Associate Dean for Clinical and Translational research at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW).

He is an internationally recognized investigator of esophageal and aerodigestive tract physiology and pathophysiology at the basic and clinical level with special emphasis on sensory motor integration and cerebral cortical control. He has been continuously funded for the past 25 years by NIH and currently serves as the Principal Investigator of a Program Project Grant, a Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) and a T32 training grant.

His laboratory has developed a number of innovative techniques and devices that have helped open new fields of investigation such as the “UES Assist Device” for prevention of esophago-pharyngeal reflux and a rehabilitative exercise, “The Shaker Exercises” for alleviating upper esophageal sphincter opening abnormalities in dysphagic patients.

Reza Shaker, MD
The Rev. Geoffrey Ward
St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church

Fr. Ward comes to St. Christopher’s most recently from St. Francis in Eagle River, WI. There, he led the congregation to full union status with the convention of The Diocese of Fond du Lac, seeded a needs-based ministry – Caritas of Eagle River, and established significant Ecumenical partner relations. Prior to that, Fr. Ward was priest associate at Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Hartford, CT. There he assisted the Dean in most matters of the Cathedral, and was intrinsically involved with their Urban feeding ministries.

For the past decade his role was known as a ‘tent-maker priest, (named so after St. Paul, who earned a living as a tent maker) holding a secular position while being a non-stipendiary resource to the church. His executive experience includes management of the Pension Resource Center(sm), a MetLife company responsible for more than 17,000 qualified retirement plans. As subject matter expert on ERISA regulatory matters; he collaborated with MetLife’s government affairs group and was an active participant on committees and discussion panels for a number of industry trade organizations; holding professional designations CFP, CLU, ChFC, and AIF.

Now fully retired from secular work, he accepted the call as Rector of St. Christopher’s in February 2017. A graduate of Nicolet High School, Fr. Ward also holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Viterbo University, Master of Fine Arts Degree from Trinity University, and Master of Theological Studies from Seabury Western.

The Rev. Geoffrey Ward
Ryan Spellecy, PhD
Ursula von der Ruhr Chair in Bioethics; Professor of Bioethics and Medical Humanities, and Psychiatry and Behavioral Health
Medical College of Wisconsin

Dr. Spellecy received his PhD in Philosophy from the University of Utah and is currently The Ursula von der Ruhr Professor of Bioethics and Medical Humanities in the Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities at the Medical College of Wisconsin, where he chairs one of the Institutional Review Boards.

His work focuses on research ethics, informed consent, ethical issues in psychiatry, and community involvement in research. Recently, he was the co-PI for an NIH funded national study evaluating a novel, easier to read consent form for blood and marrow transplant trials.

Currently, he is the PI on a study evaluating the strengths and barriers regarding cancer clinical trial participation in Milwaukee’s African American population.

Ryan Spellecy, PhD
Fabrice Jotterand, PhD
Associate Professor of Bioethics and Medical Humanities; Director, Graduate Program in Bioethics
Medical College of Wisconsin

Dr. Fabrice Jotterand is associate professor of Bioethics and Medical Humanities at the Medical College of Wisconsin and also serves as Director of the Graduate Program in Bioethics. He completed his Master in Bioethics at McGill University in Montreal, Canada and his PhD at Rice University in Houston, TX.

Dr. Jotterand’s experience as an educator has been fostered by more than a decade of teaching courses in bioethics, neuroethics and medical humanities.

His present research focuses on an examination of the ethical, regulatory and social issues arising from the use of emerging neurotechnologies in psychiatry and neurology. He is also involved in the research project called REDIRECT (Research in Early Child Development to Improve Resiliency and Equity), which examines relationship of health disparities and social justice. The objective of this project is to explore the neuroscience of poverty and develop strategies and policies to optimize brain development in children affected by low socioeconomic status (SES).

NIH Funding Acknowledgment: Important Reminder – Please acknowledge the NIH when publishing papers, patents, projects, and presentations resulting from the use of CTSI resources by including the NIH Funding Acknowledgement.


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