Published on August 1, 2019 by Sarah Waller  
HEAL Header 2019

Registration is now open for Samford University’s annual Healthcare Ethics and Law Conference. Hosted by the College of Health Sciences’ Center for Faith and Health and its Healthcare Ethics and Law Institute (HEAL), this year’s conference will take place on Friday, Sept. 6 and discuss the topic, “Medical Marijuana: Its Benefits and Risks to Society.”

Designed to encourage dialogue about the ethical framework within health care, this year’s conference will feature five speakers from around the country, representing a diverse range of perspectives relating to medical marijuana and its risks and benefits to society.

These speakers include: 

  • David Smolin, J.D., Harwell G. Davis Professor of Constitutional Law and Director of the Center for Children, Law and Ethics at Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law
  • Tyler Gaston, M.D., assistant professor, Department of Neurology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Erik Messamore, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Psychiatry at Northeast Ohio Medical University
  • Farr Curlin, M.D., Josiah C. Trent Professor of Medical Humanities at Duke University
  • Silvia Martins, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Epidemiology, and Director of Substance Abuse Epidemiology Unit at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health

In the afternoon, all five speakers will participate in a panel discussion. “We expect this year’s conference to spark a great discussion among health care professionals in our community,” said Scott Bickel, professor and director of the Center for Faith and Health. “Our speakers will offer diverse points of view, allowing participants to hear evidence and come to their own conclusions.”

The cost to attend the conference is $50, which includes lunch and conference materials. Registration is free for all Samford employees and students. Continuing education will be available. 


Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.