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Katie McLean | Staff PhotographerChristina Puchalski, founder and director of the George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health, lectures on the importance of caring for a patient beyond their physical well-being Thursday afternoon in the Hall of Philosophy. Puchalski suggests that doctors should spend just as much time caring for their patients on a mental, social, and spiritual level.

Puchalski: ‘Healing is not one of only mechanical repair but one of regaining relatedness itself’

Medical patients have physical needs as well as spiritual ones. And Dr. Christina Puchalski doesn’t believe health care professionals should limit themselves to just the former.

She said that 73 percent of cancer patients said they’ve experienced at least one instance of spiritual need; 40 percent of newly diagnosed cancer patients said they have a significant level of spiritual distress.

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Katie McLean | Staff PhotographerStephen M. Sager delivers Wednesday’s Interfaith Lecture, titled “Spiritual Malaise in Modern Health Care,” in the Hall of Philosophy.

Sagar: The key to health care is caring

In Dr. Stephen Sagar’s view, medicine has become a dystopian business enterprise. There are so many rules and regulations for health care professionals to deal with that it is becoming increasingly difficult for them to provide compassionate health care. Bureaucratic systems are taking the soul out of health care organizations, he said, by pulling physicians and nurses out of the front lines and into a culture detached from patients, one that values efficiency and productivity over personal interaction. “You may be surprised to learn that physicians are losing their power to make decisions and moral choices,” Sagar said. “A major contributor to that is micromanagement of the physician and nurse by a burgeoning bureaucracy of administrators and managers who impose a top-down approach to controlling clinicians.”

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Brian Smith | Staff PhotographerDr. Richard Fratianne, retired director of the Comprehensive Burn Center at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, speaks on the importance of showing patients unconditional care, love and understanding.

Fratianne: Physically healing burn victims is not enough

Soon after becoming director of the Comprehensive Burn Center at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, Dr. Richard Fratianne met a young woman named Gloria who had been burned from the waist up. A life-threatening injury, her burns covered 60 percent of her body.

Those at the burn center put Gloria through five major surgical procedures, Fratianne said. They rebuilt her face with skin grafts so she could open and close her eyes normally and so she could eat and drink without drooling; though her cheeks were stiff, she could still smile. A job well done, the surgeons thought to themselves.

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Brian Smith | Staff PhotographerDr. Timothy Johnson, former chief medical editor for ABC News, delivers Monday afternoon’s Interfaith Lecture in the Hall of Philosophy.

Johnson: ‘It makes sense to have basic health insurance for everybody’

The United States spends almost twice as much per person on health care as any other developed country.

“ ‘Where is this money going?’ is the question that ought to haunt us,” Dr. Timothy Johnson said, “and will be hanging over our heads the rest of this afternoon.”

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Benjamin Hoste | Staff PhotographerOri Soltes, Goldman Professorial Lecturer in Theology and Fine Arts at Georgetown University, speaks on the history of Jews in Turkey at Thursday afternoon’s Interfaith Lecture in the Hall of Philosophy.

Soltes weaves tale of Jews’ history in Turkey

For his Interfaith Lecture at 2 p.m. Thursday in the Hall of Philosophy, Ori Soltes took the audience on a journey through the history of Jews in Turkey. Soltes teaches theology, philosophy and art history at Georgetown University. For seven years, he was the director and chief curator of the B’nai B’rith Klutznick National Jewish Museum in Washington, D.C.

Emperor Justinian I was the first in the history of the Byzantine Empire to make decrees specifically related to Jews, Soltes said. One of the decrees, for example, required that any synagogue that was needed as a church should be converted to one.

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Roxana Pop | Staff PhotographerElizabeth Prodromou, affiliate scholar at Harvard University’s Center for European Studies, delivers Wednesday’s Interfaith Lecture in the Hall of Philosophy.

Prodromou discusses Turkey’s historical, ongoing erasure of Christianity

Turkey is located at the crossroads of many faiths, Elizabeth Prodromou said. Nonetheless, the country’s government is systematically driving out what religious minorities it once harbored, particularly Christians.

“If there’s anything to be learned from Turkey when it comes to the future of democratization and peace in the region,” she said, “I think it’s that violations of religious rights and religious freedom and … what can be defined as policies of religious cleansing against Christianity need to be avoided.”

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Katie McLean | Staff PhotographerSoner Cagaptay, Beyer Family Fellow of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute, delivers Tuesday afternoon’s Interfaith Lecture in the Hall of Philosophy.

Cagaptay discusses Western and Middle Eastern identities of Turkey

The early Ottoman Empire was a global power for more than 200 years before it was defeated during the Siege of Vienna in the 16th century. And it took the Ottomans about 150 years to figure out what they did wrong.

“They tried many things,” Soner Cagaptay said. “In the end, they concluded that the only way to catch up with the Europeans was to become a European society.”

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Brian Smith | Staff PhotographerJohn Bryson Chane, the retired bishop of the Episcopal Washington diocese, speaks during Tuesday’s Interfaith Lecture in the Hall of Philosophy on the important role of Turkey in Iranian-American relations.

Chane argues need for Turkey in negotiations with Iran

During his Interfaith Lecture on Monday, the Right Rev. John Chane demonstrated that Turkey and Iran share similar political and economic interests: Both are concerned about the plight of those living in the Palestinian territories, and soon the trade volume between the two countries is expected to exceed $30 billion, he said.

However, Chane noted that Iran and Turkey also have their differences. Iran sees Syria’s Assad regime as its ally and as a distribution point for weapons, arming both Syrian forces and also Hezbollah. Turkey, on the other hand, views Syria as a destabilizing presence in the region and has directly opposed its leadership.

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