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News Release

Health Care is the Focus of Moravian’s Themed Programs for 2013-14

Innovative program promotes in-depth examination of complex issues

Paul Root Wolpe, Ph.D.Bethlehem, Pa., August 23, 2013—Throughout the academic year, Moravian students will benefit from an opportunity to be part of an innovative program in health care that involves classroom activities and faculty-student scholarship focused on creating change on campus and in the broader community. It’s part of Moravian’s IN FOCUS program that examines one of four rotating issues that have been identified as central to the Lehigh Valley, the U.S. and the globe. They include sustainability, (last year’s topic), war and peace, poverty and inequality, and healthcare. Each year academic and co-curricular activity centers on one of these challenges.

Kerry H. Cheever, professor of nursing and chairperson of the Nursing Department, and Virginia Adams O’Connell, associate professor of sociology, will serve as directors of the Health Care Center of Investigation, and have been planning curricular and co-curricular events for the coming year.

The Moravian College community will take advantage of our focus on health and health care through a multidisciplinary lens,” said Kerry H. Cheever. “Looking at the intersections of the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences, we will investigate our understanding of what it means to be human. We will explore how the sciences have provided an understanding of the structure, function and potential of our physical beings, and how different human communities have expressed their own particular understanding of those “facts” through the structure and function of human societies.”

“We will explore these questions both near and far, using the Lehigh Valley, the United States and the global community as our subjects for comparison,” noted Virginia Adams O’Connell. “We will reflect on our past, take a snapshot of our current understanding of health and benchmark standards of what constitutes healthiness, and ponder our collective next steps, remembering at every point of the analysis that in our contemplation of our physical, mental, spiritual, and social well-being, we are asking the most basic questions about our understanding of the human condition.”

The programing begins as soon as Freshmen arrive on campus. This year’s common reading The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett (New York: Bloomsbury Press, 2010) is required summer reading for all new first-year students and will be discussed at First-Year Orientation as part of student’s LinC 101 course in the fall term.

The Fall Convocation for the College, Comenius Center, and Moravian Theological Seminary is scheduled for Thursday, September 12, 2013. Fall Convocation combines both a “welcome-to-the-term” event with a major speaker. It is a time Moravian gathers as a campus community to celebrate the start of a new academic year and the arrival of enthusiastic students. The Cohen keynote speaker for both the Convocation and Symposium is chosen based on the focus of the year’s thematic programming which is extend to other campus events, lectures, class discussions, and films throughout the entire academic year.

The 2013-14 Cohen keynote speaker will be Paul Root Wolpe, Ph.D., bioethicist, sociologist, educator, writer, and researcher. He will present the Cohen keynote address “Re-Creation: The Biotechnological Restructuring of Life.” Wolpe is the Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Bioethics, the Raymond F. Schinazi Distinguished Research Chair in Jewish Bioethics, a Professor in the Departments of Medicine, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, and Sociology, and the Director of the Center for Ethics at Emory University. Wolpe examines the ethical implications of new science ̶ genetic modification, neuroscience and other breakthroughs that stretch our current philosophy to the breaking point. He's the first senior bioethicist at NASA, among other appointments.

The annual Comenius Center Graduate Symposium will be held on Wednesday, September 11. providing a forum for graduate students from the MBA, MS in Human Resource Management, Master of Education, and MS Nursing programs to network and learn more about a common cross-disciplinary theme. In keeping with the last three years, the Cohen speaker provides the lecture at this symposium. Dr. Wolpe will be presenting “Building Better Brains: How Neuroscience is Altering Human Functioning.” Seating for this program is limited to invited guests and tickets will be required. The lecture will be held from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. in Foy Hall on Moravian’s Hurd Campus.


IN FOCUS is an innovative program to promote in-depth examination of complex issues from multidisciplinary perspectives. Through IN FOCUS the members of the Moravian College community engage in analysis and activism regarding important challenges facing human beings and the world in the 21st century.

Four issues have been identified as central to the Lehigh Valley, the US and the globe, including poverty and inequality, sustainability, health care, and war and peace. Each year academic and co-curricular activity will center on one of these challenges.

Our goal is for Moravian College, Moravian Theological Seminary, and the Comenius Center to realize the promise of becoming known as an institution that engages its students in the study of important issues that challenge humanity today and as we look to the future. Through grappling with complex problems, and examining them from several different perspectives Moravian’s graduates will be better prepared to contribute to a just society and a vibrant democracy.

Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America’s sixth-oldest college. Moravian partners with students to build a strong foundation for their future. Visit the College’s website at www.moravian.edu.