Date & Time

Tue, 05/10/2005


Manchester Conference Center
University of San Diego


The goal of this meeting will be to use the case of Terri Schiavo to better understand the diversity of religious perspectives on the Terri Schiavo case in particular and on end-of-life issues in general. The panel represents diverse religious traditions, including Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Islamic, and Jewish. We live in a religiously diverse society, and on issues such as these one of the challenges we face is understanding the foundations of various religiously-based views on difficult ethical and scientific issues.


John Gillman
Vitas Innovative Hospice Care

John Gillman , Ph.D., is a supervisor of Clinical Pastoral Education at VITAS Innovative Hospice Care, a nationally recognized hospice program. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Louvain, Belgium, and is currently a lecturer in Religious Studies at San Diego State University . In April he co-presented a seminar on “Spiritual and Cultural Sensitivity in End-of-Life Decision Making” at the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s annual conference in Atlanta , GA. He is the author of several publications including Luke: Stories of Joy and Salvation (2002).

Rabbi Ralph Dalin
San Diego County

RABBI RALPH A. DALIN graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of California at Berkeley with a bachelor’s degree in history. He was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, where he also earned a master’s degree and completed doctoral studies in the field of liturgy.

Rabbi Dalin is the Jewish Community Chaplain for San Diego County and Rabbinic Director of Ohr Ami – The Jewish Hospice Program. He is a member of the faculty of the Florence Melton Adult Jewish Mini-School and has served as Adjunct Professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of San Diego.

Khaleel Mohammed
Department of Religious Studies, San Diego State University

Khaleel Mohammed, PH. D, McGill University (2001). Asst. Professor of Religion. specializes in Islam, Islamic Law, Comparative Religion; he teaches courses in world religions, the Qu’ran, and Sex and Gender in Islam. He has been trained as a jurist in both the Sunni and Shia schools.

Lance Nelson
Department of Religious Studies, University of San Diego

Lance E. Nelson, who received his Ph.D. in Religious Studies from McMaster University , is Associate Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of San Diego , where he teaches courses on world and Asian religions. Dr. Nelson’s research focuses on medieval Hindu theology. His writings on aspects of South Asian religious and philosophical thought have appeared in books and scholarly journals in the United States and India . Dr. Nelson is a past-president of the Society for Hindu-Christian Studies.

Karma Lekshe Tsomo
Department of Religious Studies, University of San Diego

Assistant Professor, Department of Theology & Religious Studies, USD. BA, Japanese, University of California at Berkeley; MA, Asian Studies, University of Hawai`I; MA, Religion (Asian) , University of Hawai`I; PhD, Comparative Philosophy, University of Hawai`i. Her doctoral research focused on death and identity in China and Tibet . Her primary academic interests include women in Buddhism, Buddhism and bioethics, religion and cultural change, and Buddhism in the United States . In addition to her academic work, she is actively involved in interfaith dialogue and in grassroots initiatives for the empowerment of women. She is president of Sakyadhita: International Association of Buddhist Women ( and director of Jamyang Foundation (, an initiative to provide educational opportunities for women in the Indian Himalayas.