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Death With Dignity: Examining Both Sides Of The Physician Assisted Suicide Debate

September 16, 2017 @ 9:30 am - 1:00 pm

Death With Dignity: Examining Both Sides Of The Physician Assisted Suicide Debate

Jointly Provided by the Maryland Psychiatric Society and MedChi, The Maryland State Medical Society

Saturday September 16, 2017
MedChi’s Osler Hall



Background: The topic of physician assisted suicide (PAS) is being debated throughout the country.  Six states have established physician-assisted suicide via legislation, while 44 states consider PAS illegal. In 2017, legislation was filed (for the third year) in the Maryland General Assembly that would allow doctors to legally prescribe a lethal dose of medicine at the request of a patient who has been deemed mentally competent and who has received a terminal diagnosis. These bills — HB 370 and SB 354 — were both ultimately withdrawn from consideration. However, legislation will be filed again during the 2018 Maryland General Assembly.



9:30AM-10:00       Registration & Continental Breakfast

10:00                     Welcome/Introductions

10:05-10:50           Mr. Whitaker

10:50-11:35           Dr. Donovan

11:35-11:45           Break

11:45-12:30           Panel Discussion: Drs. Hanson, Komrad, Morrison, Donovan, Levin, Riley & Mr. Whitaker

12:30-1:15            Question/Answer/Discussion



Kevin Donovan, M.D., MA, is the Director of the Center for Clinical Bioethics. In addition to his responsibilities as director, he is a professor at Georgetown University Medical School, co-directs medical student education in ethics, bioethics education for resident physicians, and directs the ethics consultation service for MedSTAR Georgetown University Hospital. He is also a Senior Clinical Scholar at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics. Dr. Donovan has been chair of the bioethics section of the American Academy of Pediatrics and its Committee on Bioethics. Dr. Donovan was awarded the Humanism in Medicine award in 2005 from the Gold Foundation, which recognizes physicians who have successfully integrated humanism into the delivery of care to patients and families.


Annette Hanson M.D. is a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Maryland with a dual appointment at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institute. She directs the University of Maryland forensic psychiatry fellowship program, and is co-chair of the Maryland Psychiatric Society’s legislative committee.


Mark Komrad M.D. is the Ethicist-in-Residence for the Sheppard Pratt Health Systems, where he chaired the Ethics Committee for over 20 years. He is a member of the APA Assembly and previously served 6 years on the APA Ethics Committee. He lectures widely through the U.S., Canada, and Europe to address ethical concerns.


Michael L. Levin, M.D., FACP, FIDSA specializes in internal medicine, infectious disease and HIV/AIDS. He is Assistant Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions and at University of Maryland Medical Institutions (Clinical). Dr. Levin is a well renowned speaker on the topics of HIV/AIDS and has served as an infectious disease consultant to many organizations throughout Maryland.


Elizabeth Morrison, M.D., DLFAPA has been in private practice in Chevy Chase, MD for 31 years. Previously, she was a major in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, serving at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.  She completed her A.B. in history from Oberlin College, her M.D. from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, and her medical internship and psychiatric residency at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.


Anthony Riley, M.D. has been Medical Director of Gilchrist Hospice Care since its inception in 1994 and also serves as Medical Director for Gilchrist Greater Living, a group of physicians who serve frail and elderly patients across the health care continuum – from Greater Baltimore Medical Center (GBMC) to nursing homes and assisted living facilities to palliative care, and finally, to hospice. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine, Hospice and Palliative Medicine and Geriatrics and a certified Medical Director.


Robert Roca, M.D. MPH MBA  (Moderator) has been Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of the Sheppard Pratt Health System since 2000.  Prior to moving to Sheppard Pratt in 1993, he was director of consultation and geriatric psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, where he also chaired the ethics committee.   He is a past president of the MPS and of the Baltimore County Medical Association. He is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Maryland and Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.


Matt Whitaker is a former clinician with extensive experience in health policy and advocacy. He most recently served as Compassion & Choices Oregon State Director before stepping into his new role as a Multi-State Implementation Manager. Matt has spoken at numerous conferences on bioethics and person-centered care across the country and testified as an expert resource on end of life choice to numerous legislative committees. Matt is a board-certified music therapist with clinical experience in long term acute care and geriatrics and a passion for improving end-of-life care through patient empowerment and education.



  •  Compare the benefits and burdens to society posed by laws permitting Assisted Suicide
  •  Recognize the challenge to the profession by participating in PAS
  •  Assess the inadequacy of protections included in such laws, due directly to the justification for their passage
  •  Review the information on the past 20 years of experience in Oregon with medical aid in dying and the relevant information about how the practice has developed.



This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of MedChi, The Maryland State Medical Society, and the Maryland Psychiatric Society. MedChi is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

MedChi designates this live educational activity for a maximum of 3 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits.  Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.







September 16, 2017
9:30 am - 1:00 pm


Maryland Psychiatric Society


MedChi’s Osler Hall
1211 Cathedral Street
Baltimore, 21201 United States
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