LUCOM Medical Library hosts annual medical ethics symposium

Christopher Breedlove & Asa Keimig | LUCOM Marketing | Apr 24, 2017

LUCOM Medical Library Symposium 2017, Made in God's Image: The Implications for Law and MedicineLiberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM) Medical Library hosted their annual Medical Ethics Symposium this past Saturday, April 22, at the Center for Medical and Health Sciences (CMHS) on the campus of Liberty University. The theme for the symposium was Made in God’s Image: The Implications for Law and Medicine.

Liberty University faculty highly respected in their fields were asked to speak with a goal for student-doctors and undergraduate students to hear from informed specialists, ethicists, and practitioners. Featured outside guest speaker John F. Kilner, PhD, director of Bioethics Programs and professor of Bioethics and Contemporary Culture at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School at Trinity International University, opened the symposium. “I have such a deep respect to be here at Liberty University, it is an incredible privilege. We are focusing on important bioethical questions this morning – they are challenging, they are stress-producing, and they are important. The idea of Image of God has to do with the connection and reflection of God. I argue that literally human dignity is at stake.”

“According to the Creation in (according to) God’s image, though fallen today, people have a special connection with God and are created, intended to be a meaningful reflection of God. We must be careful what we communicate though: it is not God’s image in us,” added Dr. Kilner.

Additional speakers and topics were:

  • Joseph W. Brewer, PhD, associate dean for Research, LUCOM, What are Stem Cells?
  • Mark Foreman, PhD, professor of Philosophy and Religion, Liberty University College of Arts and Sciences, What is the Status of Human Embryo as a Human Being?
  • Gary D. Isaacs, Jr., PhD, associate professor of Biology, Liberty University School of Health Sciences, What are human-animal chimera?
  • Phillip D. Kline, J.D., assistant professor of Law, Liberty University School of Law (LUSOL), Man in the Image of God: Implications in Law (Individual v. The Law or The Law for the Individual)
  • Eugene S. Patterson, PhD, professor of Pharmacology, LUCOM, What is Human Cloning?
  • John G. Pierce, Jr., MD, associate professor of Women’s Health, LUCOM, Man in the Image of God: Implications in Medicine
  • Robert B. Vogel, MD, J.D., adjunct professor, LUCOM and LUSOL, What is the Current Legal Status of Human Cloning and Human-Animal Chimera in the US and the World?


Dr. Patterson teamed up with Diane Garber, director of the Medical Library, to help organize the symposium with the intention of bringing together Christian professionals who share a common interest in medicine, ethics, theology, and law. “Our hope was to engage the various professions and academic interests in discussion about meaningful topics in ethics. From a Christian perspective, we want to help Christian professionals understand, engage and change our culture,” he said.

LUCOM Medical Library Symposium 2017The Medical Ethics Symposium provided a unique opportunity to examine common issues involving the freedom of faith and right of conscience, the value of an individual human life, human trafficking, human sexuality, modes of healthcare delivery, and healthcare financing. “The moral worth of human beings is absolute and eternal,” said Dr. Pierce. “When physicians see patients in the Image of God, it drastically alters the interaction, facilitates trust, and improves the care.”

Commenting on the implications of law, Professor Kline said, “Articulating ethical principles to consider without speaking to their purpose or priority is mere organized self-justification, just as due process of law with an unjust law is merely organized injustice. The truth that each and every human being has intrinsic value must be the guiding principle of ethics and law.”

Sharing her hopes after the symposium concluded, Garber stated, “By bringing in top-notch experts, the LU and LUCOM community had the opportunity to learn from the best. The topics were timely, thought-provoking, and will surely be encountered in modern day medical practice. I hope our guests left with an appreciation of the unique privilege that people possess of being made in God’s image. Additionally, students in many disciplines will encounter these ethical decisions in personal and career cross roads. As Christians, we must be informed and up to date on the ethical issues in both law and medicine.”

See a gallery of images from the symposium at