Board of Directors

David Pauls Carolyn Pura Michael Goetz Jennifer Lahl Jim Churm Ben Mitchell Elaine Petty Kenneth Schemmer

Our Directors include physicians, nurses, public health experts, and marketing and finance business people who all share with our staff—which includes consultant Wesley J. Smith, J.D.—a commitment to a truly human future. The CBC team, boasting a portfolio of leading national experts on hand to promptly address key bioethic issues, is regularly asked for feedback and background by media, individuals, and major organizations. In addition, we frequently provide speakers for national and international speeches.

David Pauls, M.D., CBC Board Chair

Dr. Pauls is General Surgeon on staff at Mercy Health Center and chair of the ethics committee. He received his B.S. from Friends University in Wichita, KS and his M.D. from the University of Kansas School of Medicine. He completed his general surgery residency with the same institution at the Wichita campus in 1993. Dr. Pauls also serves on the Christian Medical and Dental Association Ethics Commission.

Carolyn Pura M.S., M.A., CBC Treasurer

Ms. Pura is the Manager at Sandia Laboratory Exploratory Systems Technologies and the Scientific Advisor for Arms Control Technology for DTRA. She serves as the Director of Missions at Cedar Grove church in Livermore, California. Carolyn received her M.S. from University of California, Davis and her M.A. in Faith and Culture from Trinity International University.

Michael Goetz, CBC Board Secretary

Mr Goetz is the President of Calidad Industries, Inc. and Vice President of Industrial Programs for Goodwill Industries of the Greater East Bay in Oakland, CA. From 1978-1995 he served as a Senior Logistics Planner as a Commissioned Officer with the United States Army. He holds a B.A. in Economics from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI and an M.S. in Management from Florida Institute of Technology, Aberdeen, MD.


Jennifer Lahl, R.N., M.A., CBC President

Jennifer Lahl is founder and president of The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network. Lahl couples her 25 years of experience as a pediatric critical care nurse, a hospital administrator, and a senior-level nursing manager with a deep passion to speak for those who have no voice. Lahl’s writings have appeared in various publications including the San Francisco Chronicle, the Dallas Morning News, and the American Journal of Bioethics. As a field expert, she is routinely interviewed on radio and television including ABC, CBC, PBS, and NPR. She is also called upon to speak alongside lawmakers and members of the scientific community, even being invited to speak to members of the European Parliament in Brussels to address egg trafficking.

She serves on the North American Editorial Board for Ethics and Medicine and on the Board of Reference for Joni Eareckson Tada’s Institute on Disability. In 2009, Lahl was associate producer of the documentary film, Lines That Divide: The Great Stem Cell Debate, which was an official selection in the 2010 California Independent Film Festival. She made her writing and directing debut producing the documentary film Eggsploitation, which has been awarded Best Documentary by the California Independent Film Festival and has sold in more than 20 countries. An updated and expanded version of Eggsploitation is set for release in Fall 2013. She is also Director, Executive Producer, and Co-Writer of Anonymous Father’s Day, a documentary film exploring the stories of women and men who were created by anonymous sperm donation. She is currently at work on a documentary film, slated for release in 2014, that will explore the issue of surrogacy.

Promotional photo of Ms. Lahl


James W. Churm

Jim Churm is a retired investment management and mutual funds executive and attorney with considerable experience in international and emerging markets. During his professional career he was employed in senior positions at Smith Barney and PaineWebber, was General Counsel of G.T. Capital Management and the G.T. Global Mutual Funds (now part of the AIM Group), and was Managing Director in charge of investment management at a start-up emerging markets-dedicated financial services firm. He has been based in New York City, London, and San Francisco.

After receiving his J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law Jim was an associate with the Washington DC law firm Kirkpatrick & Lockhart. He earned his undergraduate degree (honors) from Northwestern, majoring in political and social philosophy. In recent years Jim has been heavily involved in church leadership, and developed the governing documents and undertook a lead role in the business and related work of a successful New York City church plant. Jim and his wife Liz currently reside in Concord CA.

C. Ben Mitchell, Ph.D.

C. Ben Mitchell is Graves Professor of Moral Philosophy at Union University in Jackson, TN, and adjunct professor of ethics and contemporary culture at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Previously he served as associate professor of bioethics and contemporary culture at Trinity International University in Deerfield, IL. He has also taught Christian ethics at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY and directed the Clarence Jordan Center there. Mitchell is editor of Ethics and Medicine: An International Journal of Bioethics, and serves as bioethics consultant for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, the moral concerns, public policy, and religious liberty agency of the Southern Baptist Convention with offices in Nashville, TN and Washington, DC.

Dr. Mitchell received the Ph.D. degree in philosophy with a concentration in medical ethics at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. His dissertation was entitled: Patenting Life: An Examination of Some Ethical Implications of Biopatents. He is also a graduate of Mississippi State University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. During the Spring of 2001 he was visiting scholar at Green College, the medical college at Oxford University. He has done clinical ethics rotations at a number of institutions including the University of Tennessee Medical Center, the East Tennessee Mental Health Institute, and Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and has completed the intensive in genetics for non-scientists at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories.

He has written widely in bioethics and publishes regularly in professional journals and the popular press. He has served as a peer reviewer for the Journal of the American Medical Association. Futhermore, he is general editor of the New International Dictionary of Bioethics published by Paternoster Press in 2002. In addition, he is a Fellow of the Wilberforce Forum, Prison Fellowship’s research arm located in Reston, VA, and is a Fellow of the Carl F. H. Henry Institute at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also on the Board of Advisors for the University Faculty for Life at Georgetown University, Washington, DC.

Dr. Mitchell has appeared on numerous radio and television programs, has given testimony to several committees of Congress, and is often cited by the national press.

His areas of special interest include end-of-life decision making, the ethical implications of the new genetics, and the ethics of biotechnology.

Elaine Petty

Elaine Petty works with the Endowment for Community Leadership, an organization committed to building individuals in personal, professional, and spiritual leadership in cities around the world. She equips professionals by inspiring them to aspire to use their talents, passions, and gifts to make a positive impact on their communities, businesses, families, and culture.

Elaine’s background includes working both in the U.S. and internationally. Her experience ranges from working as a pediatric oncology nurse at Children’s Hospital in Washington, DC to training groups, coaching individuals, and conducting events among university students, business and government leaders in the U.S. and internationally. She served as a Congressional Fellow in the office of U.S. Senator Connie Mack, where she addressed human rights issues concerning international religious freedom, including writing legislation, briefing interest groups, and dealing with individual cases of religious persecution.

Elaine has lived in Western and Eastern Europe and Russia. She was an Associate Director for the International School Project, a joint venture with the Russian Ministry of Education training Russian teachers to use a curriculum teaching Biblical morals and ethics. She has also done training and been the keynote speaker for professional groups in Europe, Asia, North Africa, and the Middle East.

Elaine has a B.S. in Nursing from Carlow University, Pittsburgh, PA, and she received her Master’s Degree in Ethics and the Professions from Georgetown University, graduating summa cum laude. Her article on Moral Implications of Embryonic Stem Cell Research was published by Georgetown University and her master’s thesis, entitled Women for Sale and Eggs Needed: Is the Market for Egg Donation Developing Without Oversight That Protects Organ Donors? addresses ethical concerns surrounding the growing market for human egg donors.

Elaine and her husband Tim presently reside on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

Kenneth Schemmer, M.D.

Dr. Schemmer is a general surgeon on staff at four hospitals in Orange County, CA. He serves on each of those hospitals’ ethics committees. He graduated from George Washington Medical School and performed his residency at the University of Cincinnati. Dr. Schemmer speaks to university, community and church groups on the subject of suffering, death, and dying. He is the author of several books including Between Life and Death: The Life Support Dilemma and Tinkering with People.