Yale Institution for Social and Policy Studies

Greetings from Stephen Latham, Bioethics Center Director

Examinations and snow are upon us, marking the end of another busy semester. This fall the Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics has hosted 10 speakers, and co-presented events with the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, the Connecticut Coalition to Improve End-of-Life Care, the Yale University Art Gallery, the Yale Law Library, the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity (which has recently joined us as a program of the Institution for Social and Policy Studies) and the Yale Health Law and Policy Society. Next semester, look for more gallery events, a possible spring conference with our friends at the Program for Biomedical Ethics at the School of Medicine, more speakers on Technology and Ethics and Animal Ethics, a new series on Environmental Ethics, and possibly even a bioethics film series. Don’t forget to keep up with us on our website, and remember the website of our sister organization, the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology—which, by the way, wants you to know about the 34th Annual Winter Solstice Celebration with Paul Winter at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York, December 19-21.

Have a great break. Our next Friday Newsletter will be January 10. If there’s anything you’d like us to mention in it, please email me at Stephen.Latham@Yale.edu with the word “Frimail” in your subject line.
  Updates from the Summer Institute

Campus Events

Conferences & Off Campus Events

Grants, Fellowships & Jobs



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Updates from the Summer Institute

From Associate Director Carol Pollard

Alma Massaro writes: “I’m still in London for my internship.  This is my last week on the farm (with the cows), because in January I’ll work in an administrative office.  Of course it is nice that I’ll be working in the centre of London, but it is also hard to think that I will not see the cows any more.  Working on the farm these past two months has taught me how smart the cows are and how much they can fall in love with humans!  They recognize me and have preferences – some of them prefer me, some prefer my colleagues!  Attached is a picture of me and Poppi – a wonderful lady!”  (Please click here for Alma’s picture.  Thank you Alma for such a great update!  Good Luck with your research!)

Alexis Kaiser was offered employment next year with Orbis Education through an Orr Fellowship.  (Congratulations Alexis!)

Brianna Rader writes: “I was named a Marshall Scholar Alternate.  Here is the University of Tennessee’s press release.  I’m pleased with how far I got in the selection process, and I’m waiting to hear about options that might open up for next year.”  (Congratulations and Good Luck Brianna!)

Praveena Deekonda writes: "I'’m almost finished with my first term at the University of Exeter Medical School in Devon, England, and so far I am enjoying every day of it!  Right now formal classes have ended, and I'm just working on an essay for my student selected unit.   I'm applying for another ethics program this summer that I saw through Frimail several months ago - FASPE.   I hope you're having a pleasant winter season, & happy holidays!” (Good Luck Praveena!)

Madeline Goldberg wanted us to know about "Voice in Bioethics: An Online Journal" affiliated with Columbia University that features opinions, scholarship and news from the world of bioethics.  They welcome student submissions!  This first issue contains an article by Donna Hanrahan titled "Concussions in Sports: NFL Carrying the Ball toward Change in Brain Injury Policy." (Congratulations Donna, and Thank You Madeline for alerting us!)

Of Note:

*A Great Man has died.  Please take a look at two articles I’ve posted below on Nelson Mandela.  Last summer, my Friday Discussion Group briefly dealt with the idea of forgiveness.  Forgiveness may be a very difficult life task - for any number of reasons.  With this in mind, and with the Spirit of the Season upon us, these two articles might come in handy.

Mandela Taught a Continent to Forgive” John Dramani Mahama, The New York Times OP/ED Page, December 5th, 2013

Nelson Mandela” The Editorial Board, The New York Times, December 5th, 2013

*Please have a safe and have a Happy Holiday Season.  I’m so glad to have you all in my life!


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This Week on Campus

Wednesday, December 18

Zigler Center Lecture
Time: 4:30 PM
Location: 230 S Frontage Rd, Cohen Auditorium
Speaker: Hossam Al Tatari, MD
Topic: Pediatrics in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi: The Challenges and Rewards

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Conferences & Off Campus Events

Bioethics Commission to Hold Public Meeting to Discuss Neuroscience and Related Ethical Issues  Washington, D.C., December 18, 9:00 a.m. - 4:15 p.m.
The Hamilton Crowne Plaza Hotel, 1001 14th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20005
This meeting will focus on President Obama’s request that the Bioethics Commission examine the ethical implications of neuroscience research and the application of neuroscience research findings, as part of the federal government’s new Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative. This meeting is free and open to the public on a first come, first served basis.  The meeting will be live-streamed and live-blogged on the Bioethics Commission website at www.bioethics.gov  The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues seeks to identify and promote policies and practices that ensure that scientific research, health care delivery, and technological innovation are conducted by the U.S. in a socially and ethically responsible manner. The Commission is an independent, deliberative panel of thoughtful experts that advises the President and the Administration, and, in so doing, educates the nation on bioethical issues. Read more on our website www.bioethics.gov, follow us on Twitter@bioethicsgov, and watch our videos on YouTube.

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Liberty and Security: A Town Hall Discussion;  APPE Annual Meeting Mini-Conference
Sunday, March 2, 2014 from 9:00 – 11:30 a.m.
Hyatt Regency Riverfront, Jacksonville, Florida
When it comes to balancing liberty and security, where do you stand?  How much intrusion into citizens’ private lives is warranted in the name of security?  Is the mass collection of data on citizens “reasonable,” or an unreasonable, unwarranted search of private information?  Was Robert H. Jackson, Chief Prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials, correct when he stated in 1949 “The choice is not between order and liberty. It is between liberty with order and anarchy without either.” Are you willing to sacrifice some of your liberty in the interest of protecting each other and our country? What is a reasonable expectation of privacy in today’s world? And, where do you draw the ethical line? Register now online (http://appe.indiana.edu/) for the APPE Town Hall discussion on Liberty and Security and join in what will definitely be spirited and exciting Mini-Conference to close the 2014 Annual Meeting in Jacksonville, Florida.  All are welcome and invited to participate.

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20th International Congress on Palliative Care: 40 years of Sharing, Inspiring, Renewing
Deadline for Oral Submissions: January 17, 2014
Deadline for Poster Submissions: April 30, 2014
The next edition of the International Congress on Palliative Care will take place from September 9-12, 2014, at the Palais des Congrès in Montréal, Canada. In 2014, the Congress will mark its 20th anniversary and will also celebrate the important contribution of McGill University to Palliative Care worldwide over the last 40 years. Presented by Palliative Care McGill, McGill University, this biennial Congress has grown to become one of the premier international events in palliative care.  It offers a unique opportunity to meet, share experiences and exchange ideas with colleagues from 60 countries, representing all disciplines.  Nurses, physicians, social workers, physical and occupational therapists, music therapists, pharmacists, pastoral care persons, administrators, volunteers, psychologists… all those involved in palliative care come to renew themselves as providers of care and to obtain the inspiration that will help them shape the palliative care of the future. The Congress will present renowned speakers who deepen your understanding, and inspire you to renew your commitment to palliative care, including Stephen Lewis, former UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa; Irene Higginson of the Cicely Saunders Institute, London, UK; Sheldon Solomon, professor at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York; Carlo Leget, Tilburg School of Humanities in The Netherlands; Joan Halifax of the Upaya Zen Center, Santa Fe, New Mexico; Tanguy Châtel, Sociologist, Paris; and Nicole Poirier, Director of Carpe Diem in Trois-Rivières, Québec, to name just a few. In-depth workshops and seminars will address all aspects of end-of-life care, from the most current scientific developments in pain and symptom control to the large existential questions, to hands-on experiential sessions addressing practical issues faced every day. Click here to view the Preliminary Programme. Because the Congress is a month earlier than in 2012, the abstract submission deadline is also earlier. The deadline for submitting abstracts for oral presentation as workshops, proffered papers or research papers is January 17, 2014. Abstracts on all aspects of end-of-life and palliative care are welcome. A full list of subject categories as well as submission instructions and descriptions of each type of presentation can be found here. Poster abstracts may be submitted until April 30, 2014. Click here to go directly to the Abstract Submission page.  The pre-early bird registration deadline is March 31, 2014. For more information, to register or to submit an abstract, please visit www.pal2014.com or call 1 450-292-3456 ext. 227. We look forward to welcoming you in September!

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Grants, Fellowships, & Jobs

Research Assistant, The Hastings Center
The Hastings Center’s two Research Assistants provide support to our projects and research scholars. They are intellectually engaged with all aspects of our work, have opportunities to meet and work with leaders in the field, and in the course of their employment develop a deep familiarity with a wide range of bioethics issues. The successful candidate will be trained by and work alongside the other Research Assistant, who has been in the job for one year. Responsibilities will include journal screening, literature and web-based searches, document retrieval, bibliographic and citation services, preparation of detailed summaries of research project meetings, assistance with preparation of scholarly publications and presentations, and other research support. In addition to the formal duties of the position, our Research Assistants are encouraged to submit abstracts to academic conferences, contribute to Bioethics Forum, and seek publication of their scholarly work.  For more information:  http://www.thehastingscenter.org/BioethicsWire/Jobs/Detail.aspx?id=6665

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Articles of Interest

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In the News

Featured Articles

Gillis, Justin. The Montreal Protocol, a Little Treaty that Could. The New York Times. 9 December 2013.
Here is a remarkable fact about global warming: It might be twice as bad right now were it not for a treaty negotiated by a conservative American president, for an entirely different purpose, based on motives no one has ever quite understood. That treaty is known, in shorthand, as the Montreal Protocol. Its formal purpose is to save the ozone layer in the upper atmosphere, which protects the planet and its people from debilitating levels of cancer-causing ultraviolet radiation. Now comes a new piece of science, though, saying that the treaty may be even more important in limiting global warming than we thought. Continue reading...

Tavernise, Sabrina. F.D.A. Restricts Antibiotics Use for Livestock. The New York Times. 11 December 2013.
The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday put in place a major new policy to phase out the indiscriminate use of antibiotics in cows, pigs and chickens raised for meat, a practice that experts say has endangered human health by fueling the growing epidemic of antibiotic resistance. This is the agency’s first serious attempt in decades to curb what experts have long regarded as the systematic overuse of antibiotics in healthy farm animals, with the drugs typically added directly into their feed and water. Continue reading...


Liptak, Adam. Justices Hear Case on Cross-State Pollution Rules. The New York Times. 10 December 2013.
The Supreme Court heard arguments on Tuesday in a knotty environmental case over how to hold states responsible for air pollution that drifts across their borders and causes harm in downwind states. If there was consensus among the justices, it concerned only the complexity and difficulty of the issues before them. Continue reading...

Gu, Wei. Smog Darkens Shanghai’s Prospects For Becoming a Global Financial Center. The Wall Street Journal. 12 December 2013.
In the debate over which matters more in China, money or quality of life, the quality-of-life side may have found the ultimate argument: If you can't breathe, nothing else really matters. China's pollution problem is spreading and growing worse, a fact on stark display last week in Shanghai, the country's financial center. A stretch of filthy-air days in that coastal city so thoroughly shocked residents — who had largely escaped the smog that has long plagued the likes of Beijing and Harbin — that it inspired fresh talk about getting away from China. Continue reading...

Health and Medicine

Beaubien, Jason. Global Malaria Deaths Hit A New Low. NPR. 11 December 2013.
The death rate from malaria dropped by 45 percent globally between 2000 and 2012, the World Health Organization reported Wednesday. In Africa, the rate fell by almost half. Despite this progress, the mosquito-borne disease remains a serious problem in the developing world, said Dr. Robert Newman, who heads WHO's global malaria program. There were more than 200 million cases of malaria in 2012, and the disease killed an estimated 627,000 people last year. Continue reading...

Yu, Alan. Scientists Turn to the Crowd in Quest for New Antibiotics. NPR. 12 December 2013.
Could you dig up the next antibiotic in your backyard? Two scientists would like you and, if they're lucky, millions of other people to give it a try. The researchers hope that lots of do-it-yourself scientists around the world can come up with the next big idea for much-needed drugs. Continue reading...

Gever, John. Psychiatrists Top Cash-Only MD List. MedPage Today. 12 December 2013.
Nearly 45% of psychiatrists refuse private insurance or Medicare payments for services, and more than half do not take Medicaid -- vastly higher percentages than in other specialties, researchers found. "These low rates of acceptance [by psychiatrists] may pose a barrier to access to mental health services," study authors  wrote. "Policies to improve access to timely psychiatric care may be limited because many psychiatrists do not accept insurance." Continue reading...

Law and Bioethics

Gorman, James. Considering the Humanity of Nonhumans. The New York Times. 9 December 2013.
The Nonhuman Rights Project, an advocacy group led by Steven M. Wise, filed writs of habeas corpus in New York last week on behalf of four captive chimpanzees. Mr. Wise argues that chimps are enough like humans that they should have some legal rights; not the right to vote or freedom of religion — he is not aiming for a full-blown planet of the apes — but a limited right to bodily liberty. The suits asked that the chimps be freed to go to sanctuaries where they would have more freedom. Continue reading...

Carey, Benedict. Broader Approach Urged to Reduce Gun Violence. The New York Times. 12 December 2013.
The most effective way to reduce gun violence without significantly curtailing Second Amendment rights is to treat the problem as a public health issue, like smoking or drunken driving, rather trying to profile potential shooters, according to a report released Thursday by a panel of experts who were commissioned by the American Psychological Association to study the issue in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., massacre. Continue reading...

Medical Ethics

Grady, Denise. Men With Pelvic Pain Find a Path to Treatment Blocked by Gynecology Board. The New York Times. 10 December 2013.
Obstetrician-gynecologists are barred in most cases from treating men, even at times when many experts say they could be of help. The rule had come from the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. On Sept. 12, it posted on its website a newly stringent and explicit statement of what its members could and could not do. Except for a few conditions, gynecologists were prohibited from treating men. Pelvic pain was not among the exceptions. Continue reading...

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