Bioethics Forum 2012: Summary



HELD: April 26-27, 2012 - BTC Institute, Madison, WI


OVERVIEW: Coordinated by Promega Corporation and the BTC Institute, the 2012 Bioethics Forum offered two days of thoughtful information-sharing and discussion regarding Final Passages: Research on Near Death & the Experience of Dying.

Designed for the general public, it focused on the sharing of scientific research and the consideration of related social and ethical issues. Many questions related to near death experiences (NDE), dying, and consciousness were addressed by global experts, including:

  • What is a near death experience (NDE)?
  • What has scientific research revealed about NDEs? Are the phenomena associated with NDEs caused simply by chemical activity in the brain – or is something more going on?
  • What do NDEs suggest about the possibility of consciousness continuing after death?
  • What do we know about the experience of dying? How is this knowledge shaped by different cultural and spiritual contexts?
  • What is a “good death”?
  • How does the study and exploration of mystical experiences and altered states of consciousness contribute to our understanding of death and dying?
  • How do interpretations of NDEs and the experience of death inform life choices? How can a heightened awareness of death lead to a more fulfilling life?
  • How do life choices influence NDEs and the experience of death?


Eben Alexander III, M.D. (Neurosurgeon, Near-Death Experiencer, Research Director for The Monroe Institute, Faber, Virginia)

Stanislav Grof, M.D., Ph.D. (Professor of Psychology, Department of Philosophy, Cosmology and Consciousness, California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, CA)

Jeffrey Guss, M.D. (Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY)
2011 PRG Training Program course syllabus
2008-09 NYU Training Program course syllabus

William Linton (Chairman & CEO, Promega Corporation)

Raymond Moody, M.D., Ph.D. (Author, Scholar/Researcher, Lecturer, Instructor and Private Counselor, Anniston, AL)

Steve Paulson (Executive Producer, To The Best of Our Knowledge, Wisconsin Public Radio and Public Radio International, Madison, WI) (Moderator)

William A. Richards, Ph.D. (Psychologist, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Baltimore, MD)

Peter Russell, (Fellow, Institute of Noetic Sciences, The World Business Academy and The Findhorn Foundation) (Closing Meditation)

Penny Sartori, Ph.D. (Nurse and Medical Researcher, The Intensive Therapy Unit, Morriston Hospital, Swansea UK)

Marilyn Schlitz, Ph.D. (President and CEO, Institute of Noetic Sciences, Petaluma, CA)

Alexandre Tannous (Musician, Educator, Composer and Ethnomusicologist, New York, NY) (Sound Meditation)

Pim van Lommel, M.D. (Cardiologist, Department of Cardiology, Rijnstate Hospital; NDE Researcher and Author, Arnhem, The Netherlands)

Eric Weiss, Ph.D. (Psychotherapist; Adjunct Professor, California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, CA and Sophia Center of Holy Names College, Oakland, CA; Distinguished Scholar, Esalen Center for Theory and Research, Big Sur, CA)





Open to 350 participants, the Forum began each day with continental breakfast and registration at 7:30am, followed by the start of the program at 8:30am. It concluded with a late afternoon reception. The registration fee ($175) included breakfast, lunch and a reception both days.

Attendees also had the unique opportunity to join a small group dinner conversation with a presenter on Thursday evening for an additional charge of $65.


From Simon Powell: an essay, "Death and Beyond"

From Caitlin McKenna, as posted on A New Perspective on Death and Life: The 2012 Bioethics Conference “Final Passages: Near-Death and The Experience of Dying”

QUESTIONS? Please send an e-mail to Karin Borgh (Executive Director, BTC Institute). Thank you!

For information regarding other previous forums, please visit our ARCHIVE.