Prayers to Death and Dying: A Trivium of Sorts to a "Santa Muerte" Book of Devotions

Eduardo Garcia Villada

Associate Professor of Spanish, Drake University

Thursday, November 17, 7:00 p.m.
Sussman Theater, Olmsted Center, Drake University
In this presentation, Prof García interprets the texts of Santa Muerte prayers through the study of their grammar, logic, and rhetoric and in relation to social factors in contemporary Mexico. This presentation also examines Christian and Aztec/Mexican views on life, death, and dying along with the dynamics of conqueror-conquered.

Garcia Villada’s research interests are in the areas of Spanish language proficiency assessment, and Latin American cultural studies in computer-assisted language learning environments. He has published his research in CALICO Journal, Hispania, Journal of Latinos and Education, and Critical Inquiry in Language Studies.

Video of the Lecture

Community Interfaith Dialogue

Moderator:Norma Hirsch
  • Norma Hirsch, Professor of Osteopathic Medicine at Des Moines University
  • Eugene Kiruhura, pastor of the Urban Heights Covenant Church
  • Tanka Dhital, president of the Hindu Cultural and Educational Center
  • Nijaz Valjecvic, imam at Ezan Islamic and Educational Center

Thursday, October 27, 7:00 p.m.
Iles Funeral Homes, Dunn’s Chapel
2121 Grand Ave, Des Moines

Among other questions, the panel seeks to explore beliefs about what happens after death and practices concerning what must be done before and after death. Representatives of three different local refugee communities will explore these beliefs and practices from the perspectives of their religious traditions: Bhutanese Hinduism, Bosnian Islam, and Congolese Christianity. The panelists will focus particularly on the tensions between traditional theologies and rituals of death, and the way in which death has increasingly become the domain of medicine and law.

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The Ritualization of Death: The Journey from the Living-living to the Living Dead in African Religions

Herbert Moyo

Director of the Practical Theology Programme, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Thursday, October 6, 7:00 p.m.
Sussman Theater, Olmsted Center, Drake University
Dr. Herbert Moyo’s talk will address Ndebele theologies and rituals of death and dying, especially as these involve ongoing relationships with the ancestors. Moyo will focus on the ways in which the modern medicalization of life and death offer challenges to these traditional philosophies and practices.
Dr. Moyo teaches practical theology, religion and governance, and church leadership in the School of Religion, Philosophy, and Classics at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Moyo’s research focuses on church and state relations in Africa, the relationship between traditional African religions and the Christian church, and coping with death and dying in Africa.
Response by Willy Mafuta, United Methodist minister and adjunct professor of religion

“A Time to Be Born, and a Time to Die” (Ecclesiastes 3:2): A Jewish View of the Modern Medical Complexities of Dying

Elliot Dorff

Elliot Dorff Rector 2011

Rector and Sol & Ann Dorff Distinguished Service Professor in Philosophy, American Jewish University
Thursday, September 15, 7:00 p.m.
Sussman Theater, Olmsted Center
Dorff will be discussing how the medical and social features of contemporary societies make treating the dying much more morally fraught than it was in the past, and, given that, what the Jewish tradition can advise us on how to treat the dying not simply as patients, but as people worthy of respect.

Elliot Dorff is Rector and Distinguished Service Professor at American Jewish University and Visiting Professor at UCLA School of Law. He served on three federal commissions on matters of health care and now serves on a commissions on matters of health care and now serves on a commission for the State of California. He is the author of Matters of Life and Death: A Jewish Approach to Modern Medical Ethics.

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Embrace Aging: Aging and the Law

Denise HillhillDenise2

Director of Health Law Programs, Drake University Law School

Tuesday, June 21, 7:00 p.m.
Sussman Theater, Olmsted Center, Drake University
Hill’s innovative use of health law simulations, learning communities, and other active learning strategies have been recognized by her selection as the Faculty Member of the Year three times. Hill maintains a part-time legal practice to stay in touch with the practice of law.

Moderator: Anthony Carroll, AARP Iowa lobbyist, attorney, and Associate State Director for Advocacy

Carroll has served Iowa AARP since October 2005. Before joining AARP, he was the Voter Outreach Coordinator and State Legislative Liaison for the Iowa Secretary of State’s office and has practiced health and labor law.

Continuing education credit is available for nurses and other healthcare professionals who attend this event. It is approved by Iowa Board of Nursing Provider #302, HCI Care Services for 0.15 CEUs or 1.5 contact hours of continuing education.

Embrace Aging: Economic Security


Managing Partner, Syverson & Strege Company

Tuesday, May 24, 7:00 p.m.
Sussman Theater, Olmsted Center, Drake University
 A graduate of Drake University, Strege is an award-winning financial planning professional who exemplifies excellence and high standards in the field of financial planning and community service.

Moderator: Mark Teigland, President and CEO, Calvin Community

Teigland’s healthcare management career began in 1987. He has been with Calvin Community since 2008 and has served as President and CEO since 2013. Mark is a licensed nursing home administrator, received his Bachelor of Science degree from Iowa State University, and his Law Degree from Drake University.

Video of the Lecture

Continuing education credit is available for nurses and other healthcare professionals who attend this event. It is approved by Iowa Board of Nursing Provider #302, HCI Care Services for 0.15 CEUs or 1.5 contact hours of continuing education.

The Ethical Engagement With the Medicalization of Death in the Catholic Tradition

Gerard Magillmagill%20photo
Vernon F. Gallagher Chair and Professor of Healthcare Ethics, Duquesne University
Thursday, May 5, 7:00 p.m.
Reading Room, Cowles Library

To engage the medicalization of death & dying ethically, the Catholic Sacramental tradition provides the context for its Natural Law approach. This recognizes both dignity and futility in the dying process and uses double effect reasoning to resolve medicalization-related dilemmas. The presentation discusses a variety of scenarios in end-of-life care including PVS patients, maternal-fetal conflicts, and terminal sedation in palliative care (as a response to assisted suicide).

In 2007 Professor Gerard Magill was appointed as the the Vernon F. Gallagher Chair for the Integration of Science, Theology, Philosophy, and Law at Duquesne University. He is a tenured Professor in Duquesne University’s Center for Healthcare Ethics where he mentors students in its Master’s and Doctoral programs.

Video of the presentation

Embrace Aging: Managing Chronic Diseases

Yogesh ShahDr.%20Y.%20Shah%202013

Geriatric Specialist, Des Moines University

Tuesday, April 26, 7:00 p.m.
Sussman Theater, Olmsted Center, Drake University
Dr. Shah is a triple board-certified in family medicine and specializes in geriatrics, hospice, and palliative medicine. His primary interest is in early detection of memory problems and supporting families and patients with different forms and at different stages of dementias.
Moderator: Connie Eastman, AARP Iowa Community Outreach Associate State Director
Connie coordinates AARP’s statewide community serve, advocacy, and educational activities and programs.

Continuing education credit is available for nurses and other healthcare professionals who attend this event. It is approved by Iowa Board of Nursing Provider #302, HCI Care Services for 0.15 CEUs or 1.5 contact hours of continuing education.

Secular Death

Amy Hollywoodhollywoodamy_0
Elizabeth H. Monrad Professor of Christian Studies, Harvard University
Thursday, April 14, 6:00 p.m.
Sussman Theater, Olmsted Center
Amy Hollywood came to Harvard Divinity School after teaching at Rhodes College, Dartmouth College, and the University of Chicago. She is the author of The Soul as Virgin Wife: Mechthild of Magdeburg, Marguerite Porete, and Meister Eckhart, which received the Otto Grundler Prize for the best book in medieval studies from the International Congress of Medieval Studies.  Professor Hollywood is currently exploring the place of the mystical, often redescribed as enthusiasm, within modern philosophy, theology, and poetry.
Listen to the audio of the presentation below:

Giving Back: Above + Beyond Cancer's 2015 Trip to Nepal

Member of Above + Beyond Cancer’s 2015 mission trip to Kathmanduabc2
Dr. Richard Deming and Jake DeHaai
Thursday, March 24, 7:00 p.m.
Cowles Reading Room, Cowles Library, Drake University

On September 9, 2015, 23 cancer survivors and caregivers travelled to Kathmandu, Nepal for a week-long medical mission trip as part of the Above + Beyond Cancer Foundation. While at Baktapur Cancer Hospital, they donated medical supplies, built a garden for patients, and shared stories of cancer journeys and surviorship with patients and doctors. During this lecture, Dr. Richard Deming and Jake DeHaai will talk about their experiences on the trip.

Dr. Richard Deming is medical director of Mercy Cancer Center in Des Moines. He is the founder and chairman of the Above + Beyond Cancer Foundation and the Dr. Richard Deming Foundation.

Jake DeHaai is from West Des Moines, Iowa and is a senior at Iowa State studying Political Science, International Relations, and Economics. He was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer at the age of 10.

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