Compassion in the [end of life] Conversation

The Compassion in the Conversation at Episcopal Church of Reconciliation,  featuring Dr. Ray Barfield from Duke University as the keynote speaker. The peaceCENTER is co-hosting this event.

Dr. Raymond Barfield will read from his new book, The Book of Colors.  He will then participate in a panel discussion with Dr. Craig Hurwitz, Pediatric Palliative Care Physician at Dell Children’s Hospital; Edwin Sasek with ABODE; Ann Helmke with the San Antonio peaceCenter. The panel will explore the importance of compassion in the end of life conversation. The panel will also explore the power of the arts to engage communities in difficult, taboo topics. There will be a Q&A after the discussion.

Refreshments will be served courtesy of the Episcopal Church of Reconciliation.

Ray Barfield joined the faculties of Duke’s Medical School and Divinity School in 2008. He is married to Karen Barfield, who is an Episcopal priest. Ray and Karen have two children, Micah and Alexandra.

Dr. Barfield came from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where his research and practice focused on improving immune therapies for childhood cancer (including bone marrow transplantation and antibody therapy), and understanding the moral aspects of decision-making in medical research involving children. At Duke he has turned much of his effort towards bridging activities in theology and medicine. On the medical side of campus he continues to practice as a pediatric oncologist, and he directs the Pediatric Quality of Life/Palliative Care program, a program that combines medical care, education, and research to benefit children with complex, chronic, or potentially life-limiting disease. In the Divinity School he develops courses and programs that address topics at the intersection of theology, medicine, and culture. He also teaches courses in Christian philosophy.

While he continues to publish research papers in oncology and palliative care, much of his current writing focuses on the impact of literature on philosophical thought, and the ways that literature and narrative open up philosophically engaging dimensions of human experience, not least the experiences of illness and suffering. He has over ninety publications in medicine, philosophy, and poetry. His books include The Ancient Quarrel Between Poetry and Philosophy (Cambridge University Press), a book-length collection of poetry called Life in the Blind Spot, and a novel that comes out in the spring of 2015 called The Book of Colors.