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Impressionist Staggs uses laughter for medicine

The Rev. Al Staggs can trace his love of comedic performance back to one moment when he was 17: His mother, who suffered from lifelong depression related to an abusive, alcoholic husband and the early deaths of her parents, was ironing bed sheets with a sad expression on her face. To cheer her up, Staggs jumped in front of her and impersonated comedian Jonathan Winters’ grandmotherly character Maude Frickert, wearing a wig, high heels and a dress. His mother laughed so hard that she sobbed.

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Puchalski advocates spiritual assessment in patient treatment

Before going to medical school, Christina Puchalski worked at the National Institutes of Health, a medical research agency that typically treats patients who did not respond to conventional treatments. She began to realize that spirituality is important for coping with physical distress; despite their illnesses, many NIH patients had a real sense of purpose because of their faith.

When Puchalski lost a family member in her youth, she found exploring her spirituality and participating in support groups to be beneficial to her own healing.

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Sagar to speak on ‘spiritual malaise’ of health systems

Sickness within the health care system doesn’t stay inside the walls of a patient’s room, said Dr. Stephen Sagar. The entire system is ill, and Sagar believes the cause is a lack of compassion.

Sagar, a radiation oncologist and professor of oncology at Canada’s McMaster University, will speak at 2 p.m. today in the Hall of Philosophy in an Interfaith Lecture on the spiritual malaise plaguing health care systems.

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Fratianne’s burn center shows need for competency, compassion in health care

Dr. Richard B. Fratianne retired 11 years ago, but he still drives to the Comprehensive Burn Center at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland twice a week.

Fratianne was the director of the burn center from its founding in 1969 until he retired in 2002. Upon his retirement, he promised his patients — some whose bodies are more than 50 percent covered in scars — that he would never abandon them.

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Johnson breaks down five major issues with health care in U.S.

Dr. Timothy Johnson began pondering the problems of the United States health care system in the last five years of his career as chief medical editor for ABC News. He began to shift his coverage from developments in medicine such as news drugs and devices to problems with the health care system as a whole.

“I started to realize how devastating the problems with American health care are in terms of impact on people, especially those without insurance,“ he said.

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Saritoprak focuses on culture, religion, Gülen movement in Turkey

Zeki Saritoprak, the Nursi Chair in Islamic Studies at John Carroll University, considers Fethullah Gülen to be one of the most influential Muslim Turkish scholars in the late 20th century, citing his contributions to education, aid organization and interfaith dialogue.

Gülen leads the Gülen movement, also known as Hizmet, which began in the 1960s. In his 2 p.m. Interfaith Lecture today in the Hall of Philosophy, Saritoprak will discuss the movement’s significance, as well as religion and culture in Turkey.

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Soltes to explain Gülen movement, Judaism in Turkey

Some of the earliest remains of Jewish synagogues in Turkey date back to the second century, but many more Jews migrated to the area in 1492 after being exiled from Spain. They brought knowledge of the printing press, the trading network and gunpowder that helped to transform the Ottoman Empire into a dominant global power.

Ori Soltes’ Interfaith Lecture at 2 p.m. today in the Hall of Philosophy will focus on how Jews fit into the climate of modern Turkey. Soltes teaches theology, philosophy and art history at Georgetown University. He was director and chief curator of the B’nai B’rith Klutznick National Jewish Museum in Washington, D.C., for seven years and has lectured at dozens of other museums.

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Turkey not a model but a cautionary tale, says Prodromou

At the Republic of Turkey’s founding in 1923, approximately 200,000 Greek Orthodox Christians lived in the country. Ninety years later, that number is about 2,000 — significantly less than 1 percent of the country’s entire population.

Those statistics, provided by Elizabeth Prodromou, make it difficult for her to consider Turkey a model of democracy for the Middle East. At today’s 2 p.m. Interfaith Lecture in the Hall of Philosophy, she’ll explain how the religious persecution that has been persistent since the fall of the Ottoman Empire makes Turkey more than anything a cautionary tale.

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