Skip to content
Guest Thinkers

Big Conference on a Big Campus (Berry College): The Public Policy Dimension of Being Stuck with Virtue

Here’s the information on our final conference of  three funded by the University of Chicago:

2pm THURSDAY will feature a high successful and stunningly philosophical transplant nephrologist (kidney doctor) defending, based on his own experience, regulated organ markets

4pm THURSDAY will feature one of our country’s most eminent and path-breaking psychiartrists even–a man who actually seems to know everything about everything. He will speak on the practice of medicine.

7pm THURSDAY will feature a leading expert on public policy talking about the relationship between our demographic crisis and health care reform.

10am FRIDAY will feature a singularly distinguished and prolific defender of higher education and liberal education.

NOON Friday will be a panel of experts reflecting on the conference as a whole.

Details follow:

Peter Augustine Lawler and Marc D. Guerra Announce the THIRD and FINAL


(funded by the ARETE PROJECT at the UNIVERSITY of CHICAGO)


Sessions at 2 (Hippen), 4 (McHugh), and 7 pm (Capretta) Thursday.  And 10 am (Elshtain) and NOON  (wrap-up panel) Friday.  The details on the speakers and their topics are below.

This will be our most practical conference, addressing urgent public policy issues. The conference is free and open to everyone. Faculty, students, and those involved in health care (including, of course, physicians) should email us for further details concerning participation.

Contact Peter Lawler ( or Marc Guerra ( 

Berry College is the world’s largest college in terms of acres, and easily the college with the best student-to-acre ratio.  Berry is literally right next to Rome, GA, in beautiful, foothilly northwest Georgia—well less than two hours from both Atlanta and Chattanooga.

Here are our speakers and our issues.  Each session will also include distinguished and contentious respondents and audience participation:

1. Organ MarketsDr. Benjamin E. Hippen, MD, is a transplant nephrologist in private practice with Metrolina Nephrology Associates and the Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. He received his degree from Baylor College of Medicine in 1999. He is an at-large member of the United Network for Organ Sharing/Organ Procurement and Transplant Network Ethics Committee, serves on the editorial advisory board of the Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, and serves as an associate editor of the American Journal of Transplantation. He has written extensively in defense of a regulated market in organs and lectures widely on the subject.

2. The Practice of Medicine Dr. Paul McHugh, MD, is Henry Phipps Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and Psychiatrist-in-Chief of the Johns Hopkins Hospital. A member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, McHugh is currently co-chairman of the Ethics Committee at the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. He has served on the President’s Council on Bioethics. He also serves on the board of The American Scholar. His writings include Genes, Brain, and Behavior (1991), The Perspectives of Psychiatry (1998), and essays on assisted suicide, memory loss, and the misuse of psychiatry. His most recent book is Try to Remember: Psychiatry’s Clash over Meaning, Memory, and Mind (Dana Press, 2008).

3. Health Care in an Aging Society Mr. James C. Capretta, a Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC), was an Associate Director at the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) from 2001 to 2004, where he was the top budget official for health care, Social Security, education, and welfare programs. At EPPC, Mr. Capretta studies and provides commentary on a wide range of public policy and economic issues, with a focus on health and entitlement reform, Social Security, U.S. fiscal and tax policy, and global population aging. His essays and articles have appeared in numerous publications, including The Weekly Standard, National Review, National Review Online, The Washington Times, and Tax Notes, among others. Mr. Capretta is also a Contributing Editor at The New Atlantis, and is the author of that journal’s health care policy blog, Diagnosis. Earlier in his career, Mr. Capretta served for a decade in Congress as a senior analyst for health care issues and for three years as a budget examiner at OMB. He has an MA in Public Policy Studies from Duke University, and he graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1985 with a BA in Government. His most recent book is Improving Congressional Spending Habits (Hudson Institute, 2007).

 4. Higher Education Dr. Jean Bethke Elshtain is the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics at The University of Chicago. She received her Ph.D. from Brandeis University in 1973. After working at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Elshtain joined the faculty of Vanderbilt University in 1988, where she became the first woman to hold an endowed professorship in the history of that institution. She was appointed to her current position at the University of Chicago in 1995. Professor Elshtain is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; a Guggenheim Fellow; a Fellow at the Bellagio Center of the Rockefeller Foundation; holder of the Maguire Chair in Ethics at the Library of Congress; a Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton, where she also served on the Board of Trustees. She received the Goodnow Award, the highest award bestowed by the American Political Science Association for distinguished service to the profession, in 2002. She has served on the Board of the National Humanities Center and currently she is a member of the Council of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Scholars Council of the Library of Congress, and the Board of the National Endowment for Democracy. In 2008 she was appointed to the President’s Council on Bioethics. Professor Elshtain also currently serves as co-chair of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life; and chair of the Council on Families in America. A prolific writer and editor, her most recent of many boosk is Sovereignty: God, State, and Self (Basic Books, 2008).


Up Next