Program on Medicine and Religion

John D. Yoon, MD

Program Director

John D. Yoon, MD is Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Chicago, and Visiting Kern Research Scholar for Physician Character Development and Professional Formation at the Kern Institute (Medical College of Wisconsin). Dr. Yoon has been with the Program on Medicine and Religion since its inception in 2009. He is an academic hospitalist, clinical ethicist, and medical educator with research interests in the fields of virtue ethics, moral psychology, and character development and professional formation in medical education. He was a co-investigator on the Project on the Good Physician, a longitudinal study of medical students funded by the New Science of Virtues Project at the University of Chicago. He maintains a faculty affiliation with the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics, Center for Health and the Social Sciences (CHeSS), and the Bucksbaum Institute for Clinical Excellence. His area of scholarship has addressed professional identity formation of physicians, physician well-being, and the role of religion/spirituality in shaping the moral and professional formation of physicians-in-training. Dr. Yoon has been deeply involved in generating new educational initiatives at the University that promote the study of Religion, Ethics, and Medicine to Medical Students, Divinity Students, undergraduates in the College, and other residents and trainees in health care.

Dr. Yoon’s long-term vision for the Program is to establish a new field of Medical Education Chaplaincy ultimately through the development of a Chaplain Scholars Training Program. These “medical education” chaplains would be trained to provide spiritual care and cultivate the whole-person flourishing of clinicians in health care who are training to care for others, particularly in light of the existential challenges of clinician burnout and moral distress in the midst of the ongoing COVID19 pandemic. He is in the process of being ordained as a minister and Spiritual Director to practicing clinicians, students, and resident trainees in health care. Toward that end, Dr. Yoon has completed a four-year certificate program of study and Internship in Spiritual Direction in the Ignatian Tradition (Society of Jesus, Jesuits Midwest Province). 

For those in health care who are interested in exploring sessions of Spiritual Direction on matters related to vocational discernment, medicine-as-a-calling, well-being and human flourishing in the practice of medicine, Dr. Yoon may be contacted for an initial consultation at:

Chaïma Ahaddour, PhD

Visiting Scholar (Guest Scientist)

Chaïma Ahaddour is the assistant professor of Islamic Ethics at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, KU Leuven, where she is a member of the Research Unit Theological and Comparative Ethics. Her areas of specialization are: Islamic ethics, ethical issues at the beginning and end of life, end-of-life care.

Chaïma obtained her doctoral degree in Religious Studies at the KU Leuven. She has worked on a doctoral dissertation on the attitudes, beliefs and practices regarding death and dying among middle-aged and elderly Moroccan Muslim women living in Antwerp, Belgium. Currently, Chaïma’s research focuses on Islamic perspectives on issues at the beginning of life, including prenatal diagnosis and termination of pregnancy.

Mariana Cuceu, MD, MPH, PhD(c)

Visiting Scholar

Dr. Cuceu received her medical degree from the University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Iuliu Hatieganu (Cluj Napoca, Romania). She is currently pursuing a PhD focusing on the intersection of medicine, religion and ethics with the University of Medicine and Pharmacy Gr. T. Popa Iasi, Romania. She earned an MPH focused on Health Policy and Administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and she currently teaches clinical skills with Kaplan Medical while pursuing research to improve the clinical communication and interpersonal skills of medical doctors. In that respect, she is particularly interested on how educators can foster empathy and compassion in physicians, and sustain the humanity of the doctor-patient relationship in contemporary medicine. With respect to patients, Dr. Cuceu is interested in exploring how religious faith supports their responses to suffering and limitations brought on by illness and disability.

In her community Dr. Cuceu serves as President and co-founder of Saint Paraskeva Orthodox Charity, whose primary mission is to provide aid to orphaned and ill children. A former member of the Romanian National Olympic Team of Chemistry, Dr. Cuceu is the recipient of several awards, including a top 100 “Eastern European Students Award“ (Washington, D.C.) and the “John and Grace Nuveen International Award” (UIC) for excellence in school performance and dedication in community service and public health.

Marie Kim

Program Manager

Marie Kim is the Program Manager for the Program on Medicine and Religion and a fourth year undergraduate student in the College, studying Chemistry on the pre-medical track. On campus, she also works on researching rehabilitation techniques in the ICU and serves on the leadership team for Multi-Ethnic Intervarsity, where she enjoys leading Bible Discussions for those interested in learning more about the Christian faith.