Each year, the Romanell Center hosts speakers, lectures, conferences, debates, and other events. Most of our events are free and open to the public.

In addition to conferences and workshops, the Romanell Center has a long tradition of hosting the Third Tuesday Lecture Series. We invite you to join us for presentations by colleagues and other distinguished speakers. Generally, the lectures are held during the fall and spring semesters on the third Tuesday of each month.

Contact: For more information or advanced copies of the papers, contact David Hershenov,

Fall 2018 Events


TEDMED Live 2018  Simulcast for UB Community
Nov. 14, 15, 16
UB Access Code: *L78443

Session 1: (8:00 pm EST)  5:00 pm PST, November 14

Session 2: (6:00 am EST)  9:00 am PST, November 15

Session 3: (8:00 AM EST) 11:00 am PST, November 15

Video streaming of each session continues on-demand, through Dec 4.

The entire program, direct from the TEDMED stage, is simulcast via the Internet, live and on-demand. Content can be streamed on personal computers, laptops, tablets, mobile devices, and projected in classrooms and auditoriums. Each session lasts approximately 90 minutes and is comprised of 5-7 curated talks on important and/or provocative health and medicine topics.

Thursday, November 15, 7:00-10:00 pm
Working Dinner: Pat Daly (Boston College) “Concise Guide to Clinical Reasoning”Journal of Evaluation of Clinical Practice 

Friday Nov. 16, 3:30-5:30, Park Hall 141
Governor’s Lecture: Pat Daly (Boston College) “An Integral Approach to Health Science and Health Care” Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics

Friday Nov. 30, 3:30-5:30, Park Hall 141 
Governor’s Lecture: Shane Hemmer (UB)
"The Conceptual Incoherence of Biological Approaches to Personal Identity."


Recent Events

Sept. 7, 2018
3:30, Park Hall 141
Governor’s Lecture: David Hershenov (UB) and Rose Hershenov (Niagara University) “Do Fission Puzzles Provide Reason to Doubt that your Organism was ever a Zygote?”

Sept. 14, 2018
3:30, Park Hall 141
Governor’s Lecture: Barry Smith (UB) "The Chicken and the Egg: Response to Kingma on Babies as Parts of Their Mothers”

Sept. 20, 2018, Working Dinner
7:00-10:00 pm
End of Life Issues Reading group. Neil Feit choice: Jens Johansson’s “The Preemption problem” Philosophical Studies.

Sept. 25, "Defining Disability"
Tuesday, 10:00 a.m.
UB Medical Campus
77 Goodell Street, Buffalo, NY
Presentation by Barry Smith

Friday/Saturday, Oct.5/6, Ostapenko Center Symposium
"Doctor-patient Relationship: Does Christianity Make a Difference?"
Contact: Jim Delaney, Director, Ostapenko Center for Ethics in Medicine and Health Care, Niagara University
Speakers include David Hershenov and Phil Reed.
See program here.

Friday Oct. 19, Patrick Lee (Franciscan University)
“New vs. Old Natural Law Theories”

3:30-5:30 pm, Governor’s Lecture, Park Hall 141
7:00-10:00 pm, Working Dinner

Monday, Oct. 22, 6:00-7:30 pm, Physician-Assisted Death: Panel Discussion
Dozoretz Auditorium (Room 2220), Jacobs School of Medicine
Phil Reed, Panelist. See flyer here.

Friday Oct. 26, 3:30-5:30, Park Hall 141 
Governor’s Lecture: Eric Merrell topic: van Inwagen, death, and suspended animation

Romanell Workshop

Saturday Oct. 27, 141 Park Hall

Workshop Program:
10:00 – 10:50am, No Longer a Young Scholar Award Lecture:  David Hershenov (UB) and Rose Hershenov
(Niagara University). “The Metaphysical Error Underlying Tooley’s Defense of Infanticide”

11:00-11:50am, Elie Wiesel Profile in Courage Weekend Lecture: Harvey Berman. (UB Medical School) “Conscientious Objection: Whose Conscience? Whose Burden”?

12:00-12:50pm, The Scholar who is Least Likely to ever Win the American Catholic Philosophical Association’s Aquinas Medal Lecture: Steve Kershnar. (SUNY Fredonia); “The Doctrine of Double Effect Fails Miserably: Jim Delaney’s, John Keller’s and Phil Reed’s Ethical Theory Gets Two in the Back of the Head”

2:00-2:50pm, My Earlier Temporal Part Memorial Lecture: Shane Hemmer. (UB) Topic: Personal Identity

3:00-3:50pm, Keynote Lecture: Michael Rembis. (UB History, Director of UB Center for Disability Studies). “Nothing about us, without at least, perhaps, possibly, hopefully some of us”

4:00-4:50pm, Runner up for the Keynote Lecture: Travis Timmerman (Seton Hall University). “How to be an Actualist and Blame People.”

5:00-6:00pm, Panel Discussion: “What do Embryos Rescue Cases Reveal about the Moral Status of the Unborn”  

5:00-5:20pm, Plenary Lecturer: Jim Delaney (Niagara University – but on the job market). “Embryo Rescue”

5:20-5:40pm, First Runner up for Plenary Lecturer: Steve Kershnar. (SUNY Fredonia, but on probation) “Of course you Save the Adult over the F****** Embryo.”

5:40-6:00pm, Second Runner up for Plenary Lecturer. David Hershenov (UB). “Even a Cloned Embryo of Steve Kershnar Deserves to be Saved"


Saturday, Nov. 11, 2018 Conference, San Diego, CA.
American Catholic Philosophical Association
Romanell Center Satellite Session, 3:30-5:30p.m.

"What do embryo rescue scenarios reveal about the moral status of the unborn?” The panel consists of three Romanell fellows, David Hershenov, Jim Delaney and Steve Kershnar. The moderator is Jason Eberl. See conference program here.

Conference Program

Thursday July 26 - Park Hall 141
Metaphysical Foundations of Bioethics Talks/Debates

9:00-9:30 Breakfast

9:30 -10:30 Adam Taylor, "The Incompatibility of Four-Dimensionalism and Bioethics."

10:30-10:45 Break

10:45-11:45 Shane Hemmer, "The Compatibility of Four-Dimensionalism and Bioethics."

11:45-12:00 Break

12:00-1:00 David Hershenov, "If Fetuses are Parts of their Mothers, then Three Popular Abortion Defenses Fail on Purely Conceptual Grounds.”

1:00-2:00 Lunch - Barry Smith Trivia Quiz with Smith Book as prize

2:00-3:00 Derek Doroski, “A Biological Approach to When Human Organisms Begin”

3:15-4:15 Pat Daly, "A Critical Realist Appraisal of the Russo-Williams Thesis."

4:15-4:30 Break

4:30-5:30 Yishai Cohen, "Reductive Omnism"

6:30 Dinner

Friday June 27 – Park Hall 280 (note conference switches rooms)
Bioethics Talks/Debates

9:00-9:30 Breakfast

9:30-10:30 Phil Reed, "How Suicide and Assisted Suicide Overlap." 

10:30-10:45. Break

10:45-11:45 Harvey Berman, “Conscientious Objections and the Goals of Pharmacy Practice."

11:45-12:00 Break

12:00-1:00 Travis Timmerman, "The Problem with the Person-Rearing Accounts of Moral Status."

1:00-2:00 Lunch, Trivia Quiz about Pat Lee with Lee Book as prize

2:00-3:00 Don Marquis, “Defense of the Pro-life Position and Critique of Patrick Lee.”

3:00-3:15 Break

3:15-4:15 Patrick Lee, “Defense of The Pro- Life Position and critique of Don Marquis.”

4:15-4:30 Break

4:30-5:30 Steve Kershnar, "Problems with Informed Consent."

6:30 Dinner

Saturday July 28 - Park Hall 280
Philosophy of Medicine Talks/Debates

9:00-9:30 Breakfast

9:30-10:30 Bob Kelly, “Wakefield and Lewis on Addiction: Who is the Real Winner?”

10:30-10:45 Break

10:45-12:15 Keynote Topic: Jerry Wakefield on the Nature of Addiction (See UB News)

12:15-1:00 Lunch, Trivia Quiz about Jerry Wakefield with Wakefield Book as Prize

1:00-2:00 David Limbaugh, "Defense of Disorders as Harmful Dysfunctions: Critique of Feit”

2:00-2:15 Break

2:15-3:15 Neil Feit, "Defense of Harmless Disorders: Critique of Limbaugh.”

3:15-3:30 Break

3:30-4:30 Jelena Krgovic, “Need Based Account of Mental Health”

4:30-4:45 Break

4:45-5:45 Barry Smith, "Capabilities Disabilities, and Disorders"

6:30 Dinner

(Conference program subject to change.)


Metaphysical Foundations of Bioethics Talks/Debates

Conference poster by Antonette Thérèse Nolan.

Past Events on this page

Third Tuesday Lecture Series

All Lectures: Third Tuesday at Noon, at locations listed on the UB Downtown Campus.


March 20, 2018
Phil Reed
“Does Morphine Kill?: Opioids and Double Effect at the End of Life”
JSMBS, Room 6128, 955 Main St.

April 17, 2018
Peter Koch
“The good life for patients with psychiatric disorders”
, Room 7002

May 15, 2018
Joseph Fins (Cornell)
"Covert Conscious in Severe Brain Injury: Clinical and Ethical Challenges”
CTRC, Room 5019

June 19, 2018
Dan Miori
"Applying the ethics of belief to medical decision-making in a big data era"
Location TBA

2017 -2018 Third Tuesday Lectures

  • 11/21/2017 David Limbaugh, UB,  "The Harm of Disorder as Harm in the Damage Sense"
  • 12/19/2017 Tim Madigan, St. John Fisher College, Rochester, “Patrick Romanell: Pioneer in Medical Ethics”
  • 1/16/2018  Stephen Kershnar, Fredonia, "On what basis should medical schools admit students?"
  • ​2/20/2018  Harvey Berman, UB

2017-2018 Romanell Working Committees/Reading Groups Schedule

Note: Committees meet the third Tuesday of each month.

  • June 20, 2017, Ontology of Medicine Reading group. David Hershenov paper choice, Kingma’s “Naturalism about Health and Disease: Adding Nuance for Progress”, and David Limbaugh’s “Harm in the Damage Sense: The Concept of ‘Harm’ in the Concept of Mental Disorder”.
  • July 22, 2017, Romanell Conference keynote papers by Schechtman, Marquis and Lizza on personal identity and our Origins.
  • September 19, 2017, Health, Harm and Well-Being reading group. Jim Delaney paper choice, "Harm and the Boundaries of Disease” by McGivern and Sorial.
  • October 17,  2017,  End of Life Issues Reading group. Neil Feit choice “The Time of Death’s Badness” by Jens Johansson.
  • November 21, 2017, Clinical Ethics Reading Group. Harvey Berman paper choice, tba.
  • December 19, 2017, Creation and Enhancement Reading group. Rose Hershenov paper choice, tba.
  • January 16, 2018, Ontology of Medicine Reading Group. John Keller paper choice, Peter Graham selections from George Graham’s An Introduction to Philosophy of Mind and Mental Illness.
  • February 20, 2018, Autonomy, Addiction and Accountability Reading Group, Rob Kelly paper choice, “Addiction and the Concept of Disorder by Jerry Wakefield.
  • March 20, 2018, Foundations of Bioethics Reading Group. Steve Kershnar paper choice, “Can Consequences be Right Makers”.
  • April 24, 2018, Health, Harm and Well-Being Working group. David Limbaugh paper choice, Stephen M. Campbell's: The Concept of Well-Being.
  • May 22, 2018, Geert Craanen paper choice, Onora O’Neil’s “Autonomy and Trust in Bioethics”.
  • June 19, 2018, End of Life Reading Group: Phil Reed paper choice, Jukka Varelius “ Mental Illness, Natural Death, and non-Voluntary Passive Euthanasia.”
  • July 17, 2018, Keynoter papers in preparation for 2018 Romanell Conference.


Romanell Center Spring 2018 Workshop

MARCH 10, 2018
Saturday Afternoon
Park Hall 141, UB North Campus

11:00-12:15 Yuichi Minemura (UB Alum)
A  Romanell Lecture
“The Transplant Intuition and Animalism”

12:15-12:45 Lunch

12:45-2:00 John Lizza (Kutztown University)
Lynne Baker Memorial Lecture
“Is Brain Death a Legal Fiction”

2:15-3:30  Jack Freer (UB Med School),
Harvey Berman (UB Med School)
People’s Choice Award Lecture.
Topic: Dissociative Identity Disorders and Psychological Accounts of Personal Identity

3:45-5:00  Peter Koch (Villanova)
The "I Can't Let Go Of Grad School" Dissertation Re-Defense Lecture
“Capabilities and the Welfare of Patients with Disorders of Consciousness”

5:15-6:30 Barry Smith (UB)
NCOR Workshop on Defining “Capability” Lecture
“What Do IQ Tests Measure?”

Barry Smith Lecture Multimedia Resources

Romanell Center Spring 2018 Workshop

FEBRUARY 17, 2018
Park Hall 141, UB North Campus

12:00-1:00 David Limbaugh (UB).
Western New York Philosophical Hall of Fame Inductee Lecture

Paper Title: Potential, Degrees, and Patrick Lee: The powers of the fetus and the powers of me”

1:15-2:15 Rose Hershenov (Niagara University) and Derek Doroski (Franciscan University)
Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?" Fission and Fusion Lecture.

Paper Title: “Twin Inc.”

2:30-3:30 Rob Kelly (UB).
The Betty Ford Recovery Lecture
Paper Title: "The Systematic Loss of Control in Addiction: Beyond Disease and Choice"

3:45-4:45 Shane Hemmer (UB)
I Should Have Written a Dissertation in Bioethics Lecture

Paper Title: "Conscientious Objection and the Internal Morality of Medicine"

5:00-6:00 David Hershenov (UB)
The Dewey-Like Lecture

Paper Title: “Three Mistakes about Personal Identity and Harm to Embryos”

Romanell Center Fall 2017 Workshop

NOVEMBER 18, 2017
Park Hall 141 (Seminar Room)
UB North Campus

12:30-1:30pm Governor’s Lecture:  Steve Kershnar (SUNY Fredonia)
“Desert and Organ Transplantation:  Should Addicts, Criminals, or Welfare Recipients go the End of the Line?

1:45-2:45pm Derek Parfit Memorial Lecture: David Hershenov (University at Buffalo)
“Are Psychological Accounts of Personal Identity Compatible with the Whole Brain Death Criterion?”

3:00-4:00pm Regents Lecture: Jake Monaghan (University at Buffalo)
“Informational Obligations and Consent”

4:15-5:15pm The Phil Reed Friends Lecture: James Delaney (Niagara University)
“Causing/Removing Disability and Noninterference”

Debate: Drs. John Keller and Stephen Kershnar debate the moral status of abortion

November 7, 2017 at 7:00pm, in Science Center 105, SUNY Fredonia

Romanell Conference, July 28 & 29, 2017

Media Coverage of 2017 Romanell Conference

The Romanell Conference on Bioethics and the Philosophy of Medicine recently featured keynotes by Jerome Wakefield and Christopher Boorse, pictured above on Buffalo's Niagara River shore, with Canada's shore on the horizon.

The Romanell Conference on Bioethics and the Philosophy of Medicine recently featured keynotes by Jerome Wakefield and Christopher Boorse, pictured above on Buffalo's Niagara River shore, with Canada's shore on the horizon.

PANTC 2016

PANTC 2016

PANTC 2015

PANTC 2015

PANTC 2014

PANTC 2014

PANTC 2013

PANTC 2013

2016-2017 Featured Speakers

  • David Koepsell JD, PhD, Mexico Comisión Nacional de Bioética, "The Blockchain and Personal Genomics: tracking rights and responsibilities securely", 9/20/16.
  • Stephen Kershnar, JD, PhD, Fredonia, "People are not morally responsible and why this matters for medical ethics", 10/18/16.
  • Miriam Shuchman MD, University of Toronto, 11/15/16.
  • Barry Smith PhD, UB, "Document-Driven Healthcare", 12/20/16.
  • Joseph Fins MD, Cornell Univ, 1/17/17.
  • David Essi, UB, Comparative Effectiveness Research: Case studies in Germany & the United States, 2/21/17.
  • Steven Fliesler PhD, UB, "Scientific Misconduct: The Nature of the Beast", 3/21/17.
  • Heather Ochs-Balcom, UB, 4/18/17.
  • Susan Smith, UB, 5/16/17.
  • Peter Koch, Baylor, 6/20/17.

2011 to 2016 Archive Listing

  • Sean Philpott PhD, Union Graduate Program in Bioethics. "Gonorrhea, Guatemala and Gung-Ho Researchers: The Scandalous History of Research Ethics." 10/17/11.
  • Stephen Wear PhD, UB. "Informed Consent." 12/19/11.
  • Katie Grimm MD, UB: "Population Health: Applying an ethics lens to public health initiatives." 02/20/12.
  • Susan Smith PhD, UB: "The Use of Race in Clinical Research and Practice." 03/19/12.
  • Miriam Shuchman MD, University of Toronto: "Doing research on a vulnerable population: the case of psychotic individuals." 04/16/12
  • Peter Winkelstein, MD, MBA, UB: "Medicine 2.0: Ethical Challenges of Social Media for the Health Profession." 05/21/12.
  • Ana Iltis PhD, Wake Forest: "'Research ethics consultation in a clinical and translational science setting." 06/18/12.
  • David Doukas MD, University of Louisville: "Cultivating Humanism in the Clinical Scientist." 07/24/12
  • Jack Freer MD, UB: "Return of individual research results." 09/18/12.
  • Harvey Berman PhD, UB "How Vioxx exposed conflicts of interest at FDA and The New England Journal." 10/16/12.
  • Barry Smith PhD, UB. "Ethics, Informatics and Obamacare." 11/20/12.
  • Stephen Wear PhD, UB, "Informed Consent: what should it ideally/practically involve?" 01/15/13.
  • Steven Fliesler PhD, UB. "Research Misconduct: The Nature of the Beast." 02/19/13.
  • Jim Lavery MSc, PhD, Univ Toronto, "Re-thinking the ethical foundations of community engagement in research." 03/19/13.
  • Dorothy Wright MA, MLS, UB, "Informed Consent: The Role of Trust and Assurances." 04/16/13.
  • Nancy Rourke PhD, Canisius, "Swallowing Sacrament: Dementia and the Eucharist." 05/21/13.
  • Jack Freer MD, UB, "Vulnerability and research at the end of life" 06/18/14.
  • D.Alan Shewmon MD, UCLA, "Vegetative State: Clinical and Ethical Update." 08/20/13.
  • Diane Schwartz MLS, Kaleida, UB, "Evidence Based Medicine & Critical Appraisal of the Literature; Supporting Ethical Clinical Decisions." 09/17/13.
  • Stephen Wear, PhD, UB, .Lies to the Sick and Dying Revisited. 11/19/13.
  • Nicoleta Voian, MD, MPH, RPCI, "Ethics and Genetics", 12/17/13.
  • Barry Smith, PhD UB, ""Clinical Trial Data Wants To Be Free: Lessons from the NIAID Immunology Database and Analysis Portal", 01/21/14.
  • Harvey Berman PhD, MPH, UB, "Noninvasive Prenatal Testing: Has the slippery slope become slipperier?" 02/18/13.
  • Jason Eberl PhD, Marian University and Indiana University Center for Bioethics, Richard Gronostajski PhD, UB, Western New York Stem Cell Culture and Analysis Center (WNYSTEM), "Societal Issues in Stem Cell Research." 03/18/14.
  • Camille Wicher PhD, RN, RPCI,"What Research Reveals about the African American Perception of Hospice", 04/15/14.
  • Jack Freer MD, UB, "The Research-Treatment obsolete concept?" 05/20/14.
  • David Hershenov PhD, UB Philosophy, Rose Hershenov PhD, Niagara U Philosophy, "Health, Harm and Potential", 06/17/14.
  • Laurene Tumiel-Berhalter PhD, UB Family Medicine. "Patient Voices Network: Ethical considerations in Participatory Research", 09/16/14.
  • Miriam Shuchman MD, UB, U Toronto, "Research Collaborations Between High- and Low-income Countries -- equity, ethics, and Ebola research", 10/21/14.
  • Lisa Lehman MD, PhD, Harvard Medical School, "High Value Care and the Physician-Patient Relationship", 11/18/14.
  • Kim Griswold MD, UB Family Medicine, "Ethical issues in providing services to refugee and asylum seekers", 12/16/14.
  • Nicoleta Voian, MD, MPH, RPCI, "Ethical aspects of genetic testing for hereditary cancer syndromes", 1/20/15.
  • Steven Fliesler PhD, UB Ophthalmology, "Plagiarism: Walking on the Dark Side", 2/17/15.
  • Barry Smith PhD, UB Philosophy, "Ontology of Aging and Death", 3/17/15.
  • David Kaye MD, UB Psychiatry, "Ethical Questions in Pediatric Primary Care/Psychiatry Collaborative Care Programs", 4/21/15.
  • James DuBois DSc PhD, Washington Univ St. Louis, "Responding to Wrongdoing in Research", 5/19/15.
  • Stephen Kershnar PhD, Fredonia, "Quantifying Health", 6/16/15.
  • Camille Wicher PhD, RN, RPCI,"Incidental Findings in Research", 10/20/15.
  • Harvey Berman, PhD, UB Pharmacology, "Scientific Fraud." 11/17/15.
  • Timothy Quill MD, Univ of Rochester, "Last Resort Options for Intractable Suffering: What is possible in New York now and in the future?" 12/15/15
  • Nancy Rourke PhD, Canisius, "The Ethics Beyond Ugly Sweaters: Lying and Advanced Dementia", 1/19/16.
  • David Hershenov PhD, UB Philosophy, "Death and Dignity." 2/16/16.
  • Phillip Reed PhD, Canisius, "Suicide and Assisted Dying." 3/15/16.
  • Jack Freer MD, UB Medicine, ".Decision Making Capacity and Aphasia." 4/19/16.
  • Laurene Tumiel-Berhalter PhD, UB Family Medicine, (co-presented with Sarah Reilly, UB IRB), "Describing the role of community members in research: Researcher and IRB perspectives." 5/17/16.
  • Geert Craenen MD, Buffalo VA, UB Ophthalmology, "The Moral Agency of Virtual Surgical Simulators." 6/21/16.