The National Catholic Bioethics Center Professional Staff
John M. Haas, Ph.D., S.T.L., K.M., President
John M. Haas is the President of The National Catholic Bioethics Center. The Center was established in 1972 to apply the teachings of the Catholic Church to ethical issues arising from developments in medicine, the life sciences and civil law. It is the largest Catholic publisher of books and periodicals on bioethics in the country. Dr. Haas received his Ph.D. in Moral Theology from The Catholic University of America and his S.T.L. in Moral Theology from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. He also has a Master of Divinity degree and has studied at the University of Munich and the University of Chicago Divinity School. Before assuming the Presidency of The National Catholic Bioethics Center, Dr. Haas was the John Cardinal Krol Professor of Moral Theology at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and Adjunct Professor at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies in Marriage and the Family, Washington, D.C.
Dr. Haas also served as a member of the Medical Moral Commission of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and was a faculty member of the Commission for Inter-professional Education and Practice at Ohio State University. He was also Professor of Moral Theology at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Worthington, Ohio. Dr. Haas has testified before the Joint Judiciary Committee of the Massachusetts Legislature on physician-assisted suicide and before the US Senate Committee on Health and Public Safety on the subject of cloning humans. He has also provided testimony to the President’s National Bioethics Advisory Commission. He has written many articles on topics ranging from the role of the laity in the Church, to sexual morality, social justice issues and bio-ethics. He is the editor of and a contributor to Crisis of Conscience (Herder/ Crossroads), a contributor to Christian Marriage: A Historical Study (Herder/Crossroads), has written Marriage and the Priesthood and Contraception: A Personal Odyssey (Scepter Press), and is a contributing editor to Crisis, the St. Austin Review and Touchstone magazines. His Opinion Pieces have appeared in the New York Times, the Boston Globe and the Philadelphia Inquirer. He has lectured extensively in the United States and abroad, including Peru, Mexico, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Canada, and at the Vatican. He is a consultant to the Committee for Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. He is a former board member of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars and is a board member and faculty member of the International Catholic University. In 2002 Dr. Haas was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Christian Ethics by the Franciscan University of Steubenville. In 2004 he was elected to the board of the International Federation of Bioethics Centers and Institutes of Personalist Inspiration based in Rome under the leadership of Bishop Elio Sgreccia and in 2006 he was appointed an Ordinary Member of the Pontifical Academy for Life by Pope Benedict XVI. For a number of years Dr. Haas produced and hosted a national television program known as The St. Charles Forum which was carried on the Catholic network EWTN.
Dr. Haas is also Founder and President of the International Institute for Culture based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Institute promotes international understanding through cultural means. It organizes and sponsors international conferences, a two month intensive summer classics institute offering instruction in Greek and Latin which draws people from around the country, a choral group known as Schola Nova which specializes in Gregorian Chant and Renaissance Polyphony, a Spanish language program in Mexico for high school students, another for executives and one for Catholic seminarians and priests. The Institute also organizes a three week international cultural program in Bavaria on the relationship between faith and culture.
In the early eighties Dr. Haas was a registered foreign agent for the National Bank of Mexico and Executive Director of Banamex Cultural Foundation, a Washington, D.C. based non-profit educational corporation which sought to promote bi-lateral relations and understanding between the United States and Mexico through cultural means. He also served as a consultant to the Department of Justice on Hispanic and Family Issues during the first Reagan Administration. He is a Knight of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta.
Dr. Haas and his wife Martha have nine children and a growing number of grandchildren and reside in Philadelphia.
John F. Brehany, Ph.D., S.T.L, Director of Institutional Relations
John Brehany, Ph.D., S.T.L., joined The National Catholic Bioethics Center as Director of Institutional Relations in January 2015. Prior to that, he served as executive director and ethicist of the Catholic Medical Association from 2006-2014, where he was responsible for coordinating efforts to strengthen the CMA internally and to enhance its ability to witness effectively in the public square. This included supporting membership and guild development, creating educational programs, developing position statements on healthcare ethics and public policy, and serving as spokesman to the media. Dr. Brehany serves as a consultant to two committees of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and has worked on national partnerships addressing conscience rights, healthcare reform, and respect for human life.
Before joining the Catholic Medical Association, Dr. Brehany served as Executive Director of Mission Services and Ethics for Mercy Medical Center, Sioux City, Iowa from 2000-2006, where he was responsible for mission integration, ethics consultation and education, pastoral care, and the community benefit ministry program. Prior to that, Dr. Brehany taught courses in systematic and moral theology at Mount Angel Seminary in St. Benedict, Oregon, from 1991-1997. He has lectured at a number of other institutions of higher learning, including Saint Louis University Schools of Medicine and Public Health, the College of Pharmacy at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, and the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine.
In addition, Dr. Brehany has given multiple presentations at conferences, secular ethics workshops, and Catholic universities (serving as a keynote speaker in Benedictine College’s John Paul the Great Distinguished Speaker Series, 2012; giving Franciscan University of Steubenville’s 2008 Gemelli Lecture) and has been frequently interviewed on a wide range of ethics and public policy topics by secular and religious print, radio, and television media, including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Dallas Morning News, the National Catholic Register, Our Sunday Visitor, Newsweek-The Daily Beast, EWTN’s The World Over, and the Christian Broadcasting Network. Dr. Brehany received a Ph.D. in Health Care Ethics from Saint Louis University, a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family in Washington, D.C., and a M.A. in Philosophy from University of St. Thomas, Houston, Texas. While earning his B.A. at the University of San Francisco, Dr. Brehany studied for a year at the University of Innsbruck, Austria.
John A. Di Camillo, Ph.D., Be.L., Staff Ethicist
John A. Di Camillo, Ph.D., Be.L., has been a full-time staff ethicist at The National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC) since 2011. He and his wife Serena have been blessed with four children and reside in Glenside, PA. Dr. Di Camillo earned his doctorate in bioethics summa cum laude from the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome (2016), and received the Academic Excellence Award for his dissertation. He holds a licentiate in bioethics from the same institution (2009), and a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania (2006), where he double majored in the Biological Basis of Behavior and Italian Studies, receiving distinctions for most outstanding academic performance in each field.
Prior to joining the NCBC, Dr. Di Camillo worked as a freelance Italian translator and interpreter in health care, bioethics, and theology. He contributed significantly to the translation and editing of Personalist Bioethics: Foundations and Applications (Philadelphia: NCBC, 2012), the English edition of a seminal Italian work authored by Elio Cardinal Sgreccia. He also gained experience as a hospital pharmacy technician, editor of Dappled Things Magazine, and instructor of subjects including Italian language and culture, Church history, physical sciences, and bioethics, at levels ranging from middle school to university and adult learning.
Dr. Di Camillo’s work at NCBC focuses on moral analyses of collaborative arrangements between Catholic and non-Catholic health care organizations. He has spoken and written on numerous subjects, including maternal-fetal vital conflicts, reproductive technologies, end of life ethics, the determination of death, sexual orientation and gender identity issues, and cooperation with evil.
DiAnn Ecret, PhD(c), MSN, RN, MA, Adjunct Lecturer and Nurse Planner
DiAnn Ecret joined the National Catholic Bioethics center as the nurse planner and adjunct lecturer ethicist during the summer of 2016. DiAnn graduated from Our Lady of Lourdes School of Nursing in 1987, completed her BSN & MSN from Wilmington University, an MA certification in theology/ethics from Villanova University, and is currently a PhD candidate in Health Care Ethics at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. DiAnn successfully defended her proposal: Using an Ethics of Care to Re-interpret Consent in the Management of Care for Addiction Disorders this March, 2017.
DiAnn has 30 years of combined nursing experience in pediatric and adult critical care, nursing management and nursing education. DiAnn is full time nursing faculty member at Thomas Jefferson University/ Jefferson College of Nursing, she teaches undergraduate and accelerated BSN students, presents ethical decision-making strategies for the new employee nurse residency program at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and she is a member of the Hospital’s ethics committee and ethics committee restructuring team.
Additionally, DiAnn completed a two year ethics residency program at the Veterans Administration Maryland Healthcare System (VAMHCS), as an Integrated Ethics Team Member; she participated in ethics rounds with the University of Maryland’s Health Care system’s medical team and co-chaired/ coordinated two fiscal year preventative ethics quality improvement plans. DiAnn has 4 children and lives in New Jersey with her husband and sons.
Edward J. Furton, Ph.D., Director of Publications
Dr. Furton is one of the Center’s seven ethicists and also Director of Publications. He is Editor-in-Chief of The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly, the award-winning journal that examines medico-moral questions from within the Catholic tradition, and of Ethics & Medics, a monthly bulletin on moral issues in the health and life sciences. He also supervises the production of the various books published by the Center, most recently, the New Charter for Health Care Workers, by The Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers, under special license from the Libreria Editrice Vaticana.
He received his master’s and doctoral degrees in philosophy from The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., and has taught at St. Charles Borromeo Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, LaSalle University in Philadelphia, and Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Missouri. He has been a member of the National Catholic Bioethics Center since 1997. Dr. Furton subscribes to the natural law theory of ethics, and has written and spoken on many topics in bioethics, including stem cell research, vaccine use, brain death, organ donation, and physician-assisted suicide. He is also interested in the role of religion in American public life and the philosophy of the American Founders. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife and children.
Marie Hilliard, J.C.L., Ph.D., R.N., Director of Bioethics and Public Policy
Dr. Hilliard holds graduate degrees in Maternal-Child Health Nursing, Religious Studies, Canon Law and a Ph.D. in Professional Higher Education Administration, as well as a doctorate in Christian Ethics honoris causa from the Franciscan University of Steubenville. She is the former tenured Chair of the Division of Nursing of Saint Joseph University in Connecticut. She has an extensive professional background in medical ethics and public policy and advocacy as former Director of the Connecticut Catholic Conference.
She is a registered nurse who has been substantially involved in health care regulation at the state and national level. In addition, she is a canon lawyer and serves as a resource for the implementation of the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services as well as Church - State relations. Dr. Hilliard has published extensively and was awarded 2nd place by the Catholic Press Association for “Best Essay” in a Scholarly Magazine.
She is an elected member of a number of boards, including the Canon Law Society of America, the National Association of Catholic Nurses-U.S.A., and the International Catholic Committee of Nurses and Medico-Social Assistants. Dr. Hilliard is a Colonel (Ret.) in the U.S. Army Reserve, where she served as a registered nurse for over 20 years, most recently as the Acting Deputy Brigade Commander of the 5th Brigade, 98th Training Division, which was responsible for all U.S. Army Reserve medical training for the northeastern United States. She is a recipient of the United States Army Meritorious Service Medal.
Rev. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, Ph.D., Director of Education
Fr. Tad currently serves as the Director of Education at The National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia and directs the Center's National Catholic Certification Program in Health Care Ethics. He is a priest of the diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts. He writes and speaks widely on bioethics and medical ethics. Since 2001, he has given several hundred presentations and invited lectures, and participated in debates and roundtables on contemporary bioethics throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe. He has taught bioethics classes at St. John's Seminary in Boston, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. and Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Connecticut.
As an undergraduate Fr. Tad earned degrees in philosophy, biochemistry, molecular cell biology, and chemistry, and did laboratory research on hormonal regulation of the immune response. He later earned a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Yale University, where he focused on cloning genes for neurotransmitter transporters which are expressed in the brain. He worked for several years as a molecular biologist at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School. Father Tad studied for 5 years in Rome at both the Gregorian University and the Lateran University, where he did advanced work in dogmatic theology and in bioethics, examining the question of delayed ensoulment of the human embryo.
He has testified before members of the Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Virginia and Oregon State Legislatures during deliberations over stem cell research and cloning. He writes a monthly newspaper column on bioethics that is nationally syndicated to more than 40 diocesan newspapers in the U.S., and which has also been carried by newspapers in England, Poland and Australia. He has done commentaries for numerous media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, CNN International, ABC World News Tonight, National Public Radio, the Wall Street Journal, the Dallas Morning News, and the New York Times.
Jozef Zalot, Ph.D., Staff Ethicist
Dr. Jozef Zalot joined the NCBC as a staff ethicist in July, 2017. Prior to coming to the Center, he served from 2015-2017 as the Regional Director of Ethics and Spiritual Care for Mercy Health-Cincinnati. In this role he chaired the regional ethics committee, offered ethics consultations for both patients and staff, reviewed and drafted ethics policies, and started a nurse ethics education program. During this time, he also served as a Lecturer at the Athenaeum of Ohio/Mount St. Mary’s Seminary where he taught courses in Medical Ethics and Morality and Justice in Catholic Life. From 2004-2015, Dr. Zalot was a tenured professor at Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati where he taught courses in Health Care Ethics, Business Ethics, Sexual & Reproductive Ethics, Introduction to Catholic Theology, and Marriage. Dr. Zalot also taught student travel courses to Rome that integrated the Catholic faith with both history and art. He earned a Ph.D. from Marquette University in 2002, an M.Ed. from Boston College in 1997, an M.Ed. from Springfield College in 1991,and a BA from St. Anselm College in 1989. Dr. Zalot has written two books, Catholic Ethics in Today’s World (2011) and The Roman Catholic Church and Economic Development in Sub-Saharan Africa: Voices Yet Unheard in a Listening World (2002). He has also written various articles and reviews, and has presented at academic conferences both domestically and internationally. He is the founder and President of Dr. Z Travel, LLC, a faith-based travel company that offers parish pilgrimage trips to Europe. Joe is married to his wife Susan (1994) and they have a daughter, Maria.