This conference will focus on health, healing, health care, and individual and community welfare and well-being in Amish life. Since at least 1964, with the publication of the essay “Genetic Studies of the Amish,” by Victor McKusick, John Hostetler, and Janice Egeland, scholars have identified the unique contribution that Amish communities play in advancing medical knowledge. In the years since then, clinical studies, ethnographic research, and creative new avenues for providing health care have flourished with the active participation of the Amish.
The three-day event, cosponsored by WellSpan Health and open to the public, will highlight topics such as genetics, culturally appropriate care, Amish understandings of healing and well-being, mental health, alternative and complementary medicine, preventive medicine, insurance, aging, and death and dying. Speakers will address cultural resources for, as well as barriers to, health and well-being. (View conference brochure.)
***This activity has been submitted to the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association for approval to award contact hours. The Pennsylvania State Nurses Association Approver Unit is accredited as an approver of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.***
The conference will include presentations in a variety of formats: lectures, academic paper presentations, workshops, seminars, and poster sessions.
Who should attend? Health care providers, hospital administrators, social workers and mental health professionals, medical researchers, and others who study or serve members of the Amish or other Plain communities. The conference will provide a forum for exploring the intersection of medical and cultural factors in understanding and promoting health, healing, and well-being; enhancing service to Plain communities in culturally sensitive ways; learning about new developments in Amish-related medical research; and considering questions of health care policy and access for a distinctive minority population.
Joseph B. Martin is the Edward R. and Anne G. Lefler Professor of Neurobiology, Emeritus, at Harvard Medical School. Martin received his medical degree from the University of Alberta, completed a residency in neurology and fellowship in neuropathology at Case Western Reserve University, and received his PhD in anatomy from the University of Rochester. Martin is the author or coauthor of more than 300 scientific articles and reviews, and a former editor of Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, a widely used medical textbook. He has received numerous national and international distinctions throughout his career.
Katherine Hempstead is a senior policy adviser at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, where she works on health care issues, mostly related to coverage, cost, and access. Hempstead previously ran a data center in New Jersey state government, where she also worked in the office of the attorney general. Hempstead has a PhD in demography and history from the University of Pennsylvania.
Martha King is a teaching assistant professor in the anthropology department at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Her current research considers the bodily care employed by the Amish and their relationships with biomedicine. King received an MA in folklore and a PhD in anthropology from UNC Chapel Hill.
Title: “Medicine and the Modern Amish”
Melissa Thomas is an assistant professor at Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, Athens. The founding director of the nonprofit Center for Appalachia Research in Cancer Education (CARE), she has worked on addressing health disparities through community-engaged research and outreach models for over 20 years, with a specific emphasis in rural and Appalachia Ohio.
“An Introduction to Amish and Plain Anabaptist Groups” by Edsel Burdge, research associate at the Young Center
“One Community’s Effort to Control Genetic Disease” by Kevin Strauss, Erik Puffenberger, and Adam Heaps, Clinic for Special Children
“End-of-Life Care with the Amish” by Ann Marie Ackerman, Ann Bach, Ellen Liberto, and others from Hospice and Community Care
“New Developments at the Clinic for Special Children and the University of Maryland Amish Research Clinic” by Erik Puffenberger and Karlla Brigatti, and Alan Shuldiner and Susan K. Shaub
“Minimizing Barriers to Care” by Joanne Eshelman and WellSpan panel
“Dealing Effectively with Mental Health” by Karla Campanella, Sarah Elaine Martin, Clair D. Stauffer, and Allen Hoover
“Issues in Primary Care” by Joel E. Yeager and LuAnne D. Yeager, Heritage Family Health
“Dealing with Abuse” by Robin Boyer and Allen Hoover
For an additional fee, conference attendees may register for one of three tours on Thursday, June 6:
Agriculture: Participants visit Amish farms, including a dairy farm and an herb farm, and see new agricultural ventures developed by Amish farmers.
Business Enterprises: Participants visit with Amish entrepreneurs, including the owner if a metal fabrication business and a snack food vendor.
Health Care and Medical Services: Participants visit a facility that provides medical treatment for Amish patients, a center for women's health, and conversation with a physician who uses some alternative health therapies.
The tours leave the college at 8:00 am and return by 3:00 pm. A box breakfast and lunch in an Amish home are included.
The conference opens at 3:00 pm on Thursday, June 6, and closes at noon on Saturday, June 8. See the detailed schedule for specifics.
Full Conference Rates
(Includes Thursday dinner, Friday breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Saturday breakfast, and all refreshments and receptions)
Registration by May 1: $240
Registration after May 1: $265
Full-time student, registration by May 1: $140
Full-time student, registration after May 1: $165
Daily Rates (if attending for less than the full conference)
(Includes meals and refreshments on the days of attendance)
Thursday, June 6: $100
Friday, June 7: $140
Saturday, June 8: $65
Full-time student: Thursday, June 6: $55
Full-time student: Friday, June 7: $75
Full-time student: Saturday, June 8: $35
Members of Plain communities may register at the student rate.
(1) Register online and pay by credit card
(2) Fax your registration form and payment information to 717-361-1443
(3) Mail your registration form and payment to Amish Conference 2019, Young Center, Elizabethtown College, Elizabethtown, PA 17022-2298
The registration deadline is May 20.
Elizabethtown College is located in northwestern Lancaster County, approximately 90 minutes from Baltimore, two hours from Philadelphia, three hours from Washington, D.C., and four hours from New York City and Pittsburgh. The interactive campus map and the campus map pdf show the location of the Young Center and other facilities on the college campus.