CU Center for Bioethics and Humanities Boulder, CO

Where's God in Healthcare Today?

Thursday, Jan. 22 6:00 p.m.



Held on January 22, 2015.

In the past century, with the advance of medical technology, the health care system has extended itself into almost every facet of American life. In 2013, 18% of GDP was spent in the health care sector. Even as we are grateful for the ways healthcare can cure a wide array of illnesses and diseases today,  in many ways medicine is broken. Burnout and early retirement among physicians is at a record high; many low-income patients do not have access to quality care; contemporary end-of-life debates remind us of the limits of medicine in the face of death.


Abraham Nussbaum

Denver Health

Abraham Nussbaum, M.D., M.T.S., is the Chief Educational Officer at at Denver Health and an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. He earned a master’s degree in Medicine and Theology from Duke Divinity School and is the author of The Pocket Guide to the DSM-5(TM) Diagnostic Exam. His recent book The Finest Traditions of My Calling received national acclaim.

Ray Barfield

Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Christian Philosophy

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 called The Book of Colors.

William Wright

Colorado Permanente Medical Group

Dr. William Wright is the former executive medical director of the Colorado Permanente Medical Group, which is comprised of 1,100 physicians and more than 540,000 members. Prior to becoming executive medical director, Dr. Wright was CPMG’s associate medical director of market and networks where he developed community network relationships with Kaiser.