Past Schirber Lectures

IVF: We Can, But Should We?: The Medical Ethis of In Vitro Fertilization and Reproductive Technologies
Jani R. Jenson, MD, Director of Third Party Reproduction at Reproductive Medicine and Infertility Associates

April 23, 2019, 6:30 p.m.

Founders Room, Quadrangle Building, Saint John's University


A doctor will discuss the medical ethics of in vitro fertilization (IVF) and reproductive technologies during the annual Schirber Lecture. Her lecture, while intended for students and professionals in the health sciences, is free and open to the public.

Jensen, the director of Third Party Reproduction at Reproductive Medicine and Infertility Associates (RMIA) in Woodbury, Minnesota, will discuss ethical questions related to egg retrieval, fertilization of eggs, embryo transfer, freezing embryos and evolving technologies to support ethical decision-making.

Prior to coming to RMIA, Jensen was the IVF director at Mayo Clinic, where she was an assistant professor with joint appointments in Obstetrics and Gynecology and Medical Endocrinology. She also served as the medical school’s Obstetrics and Gynecology clerkship director and diversity director.

Jensen is a member of the Society of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility; the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology; and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

She researches fertility preservation and improving IVF techniques and outcomes.

Watch the lecture here.

The Impact of Culture on Health Care — Striving for Inclusive Practice
David B. Hunt, J.D., President and CEO of Critical Measures, LLC.

March 29, 2017
6:30 – 9 p.m.
President’s Dining Room, Gorecki Dining and Conference Center, College of Saint Benedict

Please join us for a fascinating discussion of how three demographic megatrends (race, immigration, new cultural influences) are changing the face of American health care. In particular, we will explore critical current issues such as: racial and ethnic disparities in patient outcomes, providing language access for Limited English Proficient and Deaf and Hard of Hearing patient and the emerging discipline of global or cross-cultural medicine as it affects immigrants, refugees, and international travelers (including Americans who travel abroad and return with diseases of foreign origin.

Along the way, attendees will understand ten core, cross-cultural differences that can affect the patient provider relationship. Finally, we will explore the many ways in which culture affects healthcare (including pain styles, religion and spirituality, birth and death and dying, family, patients’ explanatory model regarding health, illness and disease, decision-making, family, cross-cultural communication etc.) 

Students planning on going into a health care related field are encouraged to attend. 

2017 Schirber Lecture

Alcohol and other Drug Addiction: Impact on students, families, communities, institutions and health care (anyone you know?) 

Annetta Sanow Sutton, CEO and founder of Five Point Consulting 

Monday, April 24
8 p.m. Lecture
Founders Room (Quad 170), Saint John's University  

SuttonAnnetta Sanow Sutton, CEO and founder of Five Point Consulting, author, former spiritual care professional at Hazelden/Betty Ford treatment center and diocesan director. For over 35 years, Annetta has been a Midwest-based national speaker with expertise in the areas of addiction, recovery, grief and spirituality. Annetta continues to speak and write on chemical dependence, recovery and human rights. As a spiritual counselor she assists others in finding their spiritual core, recovery and processing grief through addiction, trauma, death of a loved one and divorce. With a B.A. in Ministry and Addiction Counseling from the University of Mary, a Master’s in Pastoral Counseling from Emmanuel College Boston, certified through the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, Annetta is a mother of five. Annetta acknowledges her greatest education has occurred through motherhood and life. 

Annetta’s book, Catholic Alcoholic: A Witness to Addiction and Redemption was nominated for the Minnesota Book Award. It is an inspiring autobiographical work of how addiction has touched every area of her life. She quickly adds, “So has recovery.”  She continues to work on a sequel to Catholic Alcoholic and another research project called Invisible People as well as a cadre of children’s books.

Shirber Lecture

"Uncorking the Past: Alcoholic Beverages as the Universal Medicine before Synthetics-Pros and Cons"
Thursday, December 7, 2017 at 7:00 pm
Pellegrene Auditorium, Saint John's University

The historical development and use of alcohol will be discussed during the 2017 Schirber Lecture.

Author and educator Patrick McGovern will present “Uncorking the Past: Alcoholic Beverages as the Universal Medicine before Synthetics, Pros and Cons” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7, at Pellegrene Auditorium, Saint John’s University.

The lecture is free and open to the public. A book signing will follow the presentation.

McGovern is the scientific director of the Biomolecular Archaeology Project for Cuisine, Fermented Beverages and Health at the University of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia, where he is also an adjunct professor of anthropology.

In his lecture, McGovern will take participants on a journey through time to the dawn of brewing. Early beverage-makers likely marveled at the magical process of fermentation. Their amazement grew as they drank the mind-altering drinks, which were to become the medicines, religious symbols and social lubricants of later cultures.

However, fermented beverages also can became the bane of humankind when over-indulged in.  While healthful in moderate amounts, as genetically laid down in the Palaeolithic period and demonstrated by recent medical studies, the widespread availability of alcoholic beverages today, exacerbated by modern mass production, can have serious, even fatal, medical and social consequences.

Over the past two years, McGovern has pioneered the interdisciplinary field of biomolecular archaeology. His laboratory discovered the earliest chemically attested alcoholic beverage in the world (ca. 7000 B.C., from China), as well as the earliest grape wine, barley beer, mead and fermented chocolate beverages.

McGovern has published three books on ancient alcoholic beverages: “Ancient Wine: The Search for the Origins of Viniculture” (Princeton University, 2003/2006); “Uncorking the Past: The Quest for Wine, Beer, and Other Alcoholic Beverages” (Berkeley: University of California, 2009/2010); and “Ancient Brews Rediscovered and Re-Created” (New York: W.W. Norton, 2017).