Yale Institution for Social and Policy Studies

Greetings from Stephen Latham, Bioethics Center Director

Don’t forget tomorrow’s amazing all-day, all-star Law School conference on implementation of exchanges under Obamacare. The event, which includes breakfast and lunch, is free to Yalies; details and registration information at the link! And on Monday morning, check out the talk by Yale’s Nicholas Christakis, MD, PhD, MPH (Sociology) on “Applying Network Science to Child Health and Policy.” The talk, sponsored by the Edward Zigler Center Child Forum, will be held at 9am in the Cohen Auditorium of the Child Study Center, 230 S. Frontage Road.

Save the date: on Wednesday the 19th our Technology and Ethics group will hear from Heidi Ravven (Hamilton College, Religious Studies) on “The Self Beyond Itself: Exploring the Moral Extension of Ourselves into Others, Environments, and Our Technologies.” The talk will be at the usual time, but not in the usual venue: 4:15pm in 100 Wall St, room 120.

And on February 26, we’ll be hosting what we hope will be the first in a series of talks on environmental ethics. Yale and Bioethics Center alumna Christiana Peppard (Fordham, Theology) will give a talk on her new book, Just Water: Theology, Ethics and the Global Water Crisis. The talk will be at 12:30pm in the RSV Room of the Yale Divinity School, and will feature pizza and tap water.

Longtime Bioethics Center supporter and end-of-life-care activist Jerome Medalie ‘45W writes to tell us that “immediately after the referendum vote on the Death with Dignity Act in Massachusetts last year, where proponents lost by 2% in a three-million-voter turnout, we filed legislatively.  On December 17, 2013, hearings on the bill were held before the MA Joint Committee on Public Health.  I and many other proponents testified. It is still in committee.” Jerome notes also the “great stride” made in New Mexico a few weeks ago, when a district court ruled that patients have a state constitutional right to seek aid in dying. “This case is undoubtedly going to be appealed, but for now [New Mexico] is the fifth state accepting ‘death with dignity.’" (Ed. note: You can read more about that case on my blog!)

If you have an event or an accomplishment you’d like to see mentioned in this newsletter, send details to 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

Calls for Papers & Nominations

Other Items



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Updates from the Summer Institute

From Associate Director Carol Pollard

*Patrick Murphy writes: “I often think about what a wonderful, enlightening summer I spent at Yale under your direction.  When you admitted me, you granted me the privilege of engaging in an academic discourse on bioethics that will forever impact the way I evaluate not just bioethical issues but also ethical issues as a whole. These days my work is primarily centered on program development, media consulting, and strategic development for companies and individuals looking to gain exposure across the various broadcast media outlets.  While traditional bioethical questions do not often present themselves in my day-to-day work, I am confronted with general ethical questions non-stop (as you might imagine, questions about the appropriate use of national media to shape public opinion necessarily arise, in the course of deciding how I and the company I work for should choose to do business).  All my best, and hoping to see you soon!”  (Good Luck Patrick!  It sounds like you are into some very exciting work!  When you come to New Haven, please let’s get together!)

*Vamshi Merugumala writes: “My graduate program is very different from clinical medicine for sure!  Apart from the essay deadlines right now, overall Brighton (UK) is a lovely place to live, and if all goes to plan (waiting for ethics approval, etc…), I will be travelling to the south of India for my summer dissertation!  So lots of planning to do this year.”  (Good Luck Vamshi!)

*Connie Phung writes: “I have submitted another paper for publication!  I am also currently doing research in preparation to present at the Symposium the day after our Banquet!”  (Yea Connie!  Let us know when the paper is published, so I can give information to our Summer Students!)

*Theodora Kwok sent me a picture that was taken recently at the University of Singapore Centre for Bioethics.  Past Summer Students Zohar Lederman (PhD Candidate), Theodora Kwok and Rachel Teo (research assistants) represent three different classes from the Summer Institute!  I’m so happy to see this happening.  You never know where you’ll meet up with Yale Summer Students!  Please click here for the photo! 

*Congratulations to Michael Young who is now a Petrie-Flom student fellow at Harvard University, on the publication of his latest paper "Ethics and Ontology in Deep Brain Stimulation" (AJOB Neuroscience, Vol. 5, Issue 1, 2014). Here is an abstract: "Rapid advancements in the fields of neurology and neuroscience over the past decade have enabled unprecedented progress toward the development of brain-modulating technologies and therapeutics. Central to these advancements are cross-disciplinary translational research efforts to engineer systems that can reliably deliver electrical, ultrasound, or magnetic impulses to specific deep cortical areas and neural circuits, with the ultimate goal of influencing abnormal patterns of neural activity implicated in disorders of the brain and nervous system (Famm et al. 2013). As knowledge of the brain's dynamic synaptic networks and microcircuitry expands, it is anticipated that deep brain stimulation (DBS) technologies will begin to target neural activity with increasingly greater precision and functional efficiency (Warner-Schmidt 2013). While research in these domains carries tremendous promise for treating many neurologic and psychiatric conditions that have long been considered refractory to traditional treatments (Lozano and Lipsman 2013; Nestler 2013; Warner-Schmidt 2013), they introduce a complex array of ethical, social, and legal questions."

David Ross-Russell and Dorothy Goldberg, presenters in our End-of-Life Issues Seminar, have been working to help set up a strong infrastructure for a Tanzanian orphanage.  They have a non-profit called "The Small Things," and if you want to find out more about it, the Nkoaranga Orphanage, its children, and the work being undertaken there, see www.thesmallthings.org.  You will find a very interesting online auction now going on called "Share the Love"; all proceeds will be used specifically to help build a children's village and outreach program.

Of Note:

*Connecticut is in the news, but not exactly for an outstanding performance.  According to a recent CNN Report, 4 of the 25 towns in the country with the highest median incomes are in Connecticut.  At the same time, Connecticut has 21% of its population living at  -  or near -  the official poverty level.  That translates to 720,000 people in the state.  Connecticut's population is 3.5 million.  Even with 21% of Connecticut's population "poor,” Connecticut remains the state with the highest per capita income in the country.  In order for this to happen, the rich have to be mega-rich.  It would therefore seem that Connecticut must have the greatest economic divide in the country.” Health is tied to wealth, and poor health outcomes are often tied to poverty…”  (Need I say more?)              

*The Catholic Social Institute is offering a European Bioethics Training Camp.  (It’s Only a few weeks in duration, it’s new, and I don’t know that much about it.  But check it out!) http://bioethicscamp.org/

*The Center for Cultural Diplomacy Studies (CCDS) is calling for applications for their “Berlin ‘Language of Art & Music’ Conference 2014.”  The topic for this conference is “Cinematic Cultural Diplomacy: Practicing Cultural Diplomacy through Film.”  It’s taking place in Berlin, February 12-14, 2014, and is being held parallel to the Berlin International Film Festival.  For more information about this conference and other academic programs and international conferences being held by CCDS, please contact: programs@culturaldiplomacy.org

*C-PET (The Center for Policy on Emerging Technologies) “has vacancies for two or three interns to collaborate within a wide network of Fellows and Advisers in research and event activities.  It’s ideal if you are located in the DC area, though not essential.  We seek a commitment of at least two days a week.  And, in common with many similar opportunities, there is no remuneration.  But there are (mostly!) interesting tasks, and you become part of our growing network.”  If interested, please contact nigel.m.cameron@c-pet.org


“Pharma and Ethics: An Item for our time….”
- Note from Dr. Edward Gabriele, Distinguished Professor, Graduate School of Nursing at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (From the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities E-Newsletter)
A colleague contacted me this morning about an issue relative to unused medications after the death of a loved one.  I thought this might be a very appropriate ethics discussion.  Perhaps if it got under the attention of the right persons, something positive might be able to be effected especially given our cost-consciousness in these times. My colleague wrote the following: "A family member recently lost a battle with cancer.  We cared for the individual at home for several weeks before death came.  One of the issues I became aware of during this time is the enormous amount of medical supplies and medicines that go to waste, when there are other people in this country and around the world who cannot afford these medicines and supplies.  I inquired about places where we could donate some medicines and medical supplies, some of which were very expensive; but it seems these items must be disposed of, even when others are in great need.  The hospice nurse had to flush full bottles of prescription medications down the toilet, and was not able to take back any of the medical supplies, even unopened ones.  A pharmacist I know said there is tremendous medical waste in the US. I wish there was some kind of clearing house that could collect these items, verify their safety and redistribute them here or abroad.  If you know of any such agency, please let me know, we have to get the word out."

It’s OK to talk about dying, physician says
Come Alive with a New, Old Liver Denise Grady, The New York Times, February 3, 2014
Blazing Trails in Brain Science, Benedict Carey, The New York Times, February 3, 2014
Six-Minute Video on New Surgery in Israel: Dream or Reality?
Grown-up Clothes Diane Johnson, The New York Times Magazine, February 2, 2014. (Why I’m including this last article: some of us have very strong attachments to inanimate objects that need to be honored.  Sometimes physical objects hold hidden meanings; they can be repositories of memories.)


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This Week on Campus

Monday, February 10

Zigler Center Lecture
Time: 9 AM
Location: 230 S Frontage Rd, Cohen Auditorium Distance Learning Center
Speaker: Nicholas Christakis, Co-Director, Yale Institute for Network Science
Topic: Applying Network Science to Child Health and Policy

Association for the Rights of Nature Talk
Time: 10:25 AM
Location: 195 Prospect St, Burke Auditorium
Speaker: Steven Donziger, legal advisor to plaintiffs in Aguinda v. ChevronTexaco case in Lago Agrio, Ecuador
Topic: Oil, Ecology, and Indigenous Rights in the Amazon

Wednesday, February 12

Environmental Law & Policy Webinar
Time: 12 PM
Location: online
Speaker: Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director, Center for Food Safety
Topic: Creating a New Food Future

Rudd Center Seminar
Time: 12:30 PM
Location: 309 Edwards St, conf room
Speaker: Jacob Hacker, PhD, Stanley B. Resor Professor of Political Science, Director of the Institute for Social and Policy Studies, Yale University
Topic: The Politics of 'Policy Feudalism': Why Corporate America Defers to Its Most Self- Interested Members on Food Policy and Much Else

Climate & Energy Bookshelf Speaker Lecture
Time: 5:30 PM
Location: 195 Prospect St, Burke Auditorium
Speaker: Brian Keane, President, SmartPower and author, Green is Good
Topic: 50 Shades of Green

Thursday, February 13

School of Forestry Lecture
Time: 12 PM
Location: 195 Prospect St, room 319
Speaker: Suedeen Kelly,  former Commissioner with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Topic: Energy Regulations

Human Rights Workshop
Time: 12:15 PM
Location: 127 Wall St, room 129
Speaker: Fernando Munoz, Assistant Professor, Universidad Austral de Chile
Topic: Morning-After Decisions: Legal Mobilization against Emergency Contraception in Chile

Friday, February 14

Agrarian Studies Colloquium
Time: 11 AM
Location: 77 Prospect St, room B012
Speaker: Tristram Stuart, Author, Activist, and “Freegan”
Topic: Why Understanding Food and Caring about It is Caring for Land

Biospheric Studies Seminar
Time: 12 PM
Location: 21 Sachem St, room 110
Speaker:   Bill Weber, Bass Distinguished Environmental Scholar, Yale Department of Anthropology; Sr. Conservationist, Wildlife Conservation  Society; Co-Founder of the Mountain Gorilla Project in Rwanda
Topic:  People, Parks and Paradigms:  Conservation Lessons from Africa and North America

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Conferences & Off Campus Events

Association for Practical and Professional Ethics Twenty-third Annual International Conference
Hyatt Regency Riverfront in Jacksonville, Florida
27 February through 2 March, 2014
Bioethics Program Track
This track will feature: Friday February 28 (Session 1)The Complicity Objection and the Return of Prescriptions (Conscientious Refusal by Pharmacists), Walter J., Riker, Ph.D., University of West Georgia;  The Utility of Medical Professionalism, Peter Koch, University at Buffalo (SUNY Buffalo);  Incentivizing Organ Donation:  A Response to Calls for Iterative Policy Implementation, James Rhea, University of South Carolina; Trading Lives: The Ethics of Killing Animals for Medical Research, Aaron Simmons, Ph.D., Marywood University; (Session 2) No Last Resort: Pitting the Right to Die Against the Right to Medical Self-determination,  Michael Cholbi, Ph.D., California State Polytechnic University – Pomona; There is No Logical Slippery Slope from Voluntary to Non-voluntary Euthanasia, Steven Daskal, Ph.D., Northern Illinois University; Deliberative Pathologies and Ethical Oversight Maximizing the Effectiveness of IRBs, Danielle Wenner, Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University;  Nursing Ethics: Healthcare and Treatment in Education and Practice, Robert Doyle, Ph.D., California State University, Northridge; (Clinical Ethics Luncheon Speaker) What Patients Teach: The Everyday Ethics of Health Care,  Joseph B. Fanning, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine, Director of the Clinical Ethics Consultations Service,  Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society, Vanderbilt University Medical Center; (Session 3) Who Should Serve? Research-based Recommendations on Ethics Committee Membership, Kathleen Raffel, Ph.D., University of San Francisco; What are Standards in Clinical Ethics Consultation For?, Lisa M. Rasmussen, Ph.D., University of North Carolina, Charlotte; Could Philosophical Counseling Alleviate the Moral Distress of Nurses Working with Culturally Diverse Populations?, Nancy Machett, Ph.D., University of Northern Colorado and Mary Jo Stanley, Ph.D., University of Colorado, Colorado Springs; Case Studies in Clinical Anesthesia: The Ethics of Informed Consent, Dan Mahoney, Ph.D., Gonzaga University and Dan O’Hare, Ph.D., New York Medical College Graduate School of Health Sciences; (Session 4) Conflicts Between Beneficence and Patient Autonomy in Physical Therapy Care, Debra Gorman-Badar, PT, Anaconda Physical Therapy Center; Improving Ethics Education in Canadian Rehabilitation Programs: Sharing the Journey of a Knowledge Exchange Project, Anne Hudon, PT, University of Montreal; The Distinct Wrong of Exploitation in Medicine, Fareed Anwar Awan, University of Washington-Seattle; The Problem with Informed Consent for Research: the Devil is in the Details, Judith Navratil, Center for Bioethics and Health, University of Pittsburgh; (Session 5) Treatment Agreements, Informed Consent and the Role of State Medical Boards in Opioid Prescribing, Summer McGee, Ph.D., University of New Haven; Biases Towards Chronic Pain: A Knowledge Translation Project for Health Care Professionals, Sabrina Morin Chabane, Universite de Montreal; Lotteries in Human Subjects Research, Trisha Phillips, Ph.D., West Virginia University; Fixing Deafness, Cynthia Jones, Ph.D., University of Texas-Pan American and Shawn P. Saladin, Ph.D., CRC, CPM, University of Texas-Pan American; Saturday Feb 29 (Session 1) Justice and the Donor Conceived Child, Sarah Vaughan Brakman, Ph.D., Villanova University; Kantian Ends and Commercial Surrogacy, Hannah Giunta, Michigan State University; A Neglected Argument Concerning Morality and Abortion, John Uglietta, Ph.D., J.D., Grand Valley State University; (Session 2) Enhancing Human Persons: Does it Violate Human 'Nature'?, Jason T. Eberl, Ph.D., Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis; Ethical Problems in Exome Sequencing in Research and Clinical Settings, Elaine E. Englehardt, Ph.D., Utah Valley University and Michael S. Pritchard, Ph.D., Western Michigan University; A New Ethics Curriculum for a Medical School, Kelly C. Smith, Ph.D., Clemson University and Wendy Cornett, MD, University of South Carolina School of Medicine; Beyond Industry Intervention: Proposals for a New Continuing Medical Education, Sarah Wieten, University of South Florida; (Session 3)The Unrepresented Patient in the ICU, Annette Mendola, Ph.D., University of Tennessee Medical Center; Best Interests and Burdens: The Role of the Burden of Care in Withdrawing Treatment from Seriously Disabled Infants, Matthew Tedesco, Ph.D., Beloit College; Narrative Ethics and Advanced Directives of the Rural, Chronically Ill, Sharon E. Hartline, Ph.D. and Jonathan Webster, Ph.D., Radford University; (Session 4) Bioethics and the Changing Healthcare Environment, Wanda Teays, Ph.D., Mount St. Mary's College, Michael Boylan, Ph.D., Marymount University, Rita Manning, Ph.D., San Jose State University, and Virginia Warren, Ph.D., Chapman University; How to Build a Better Human: An Ethical Blueprint Author Meets Critics, Gregory E. Pence, Ph.D., University of Alabama at Birmingham; Multidisciplinary Implementation of Bioethics Commission Education Modules, Misti Anderson, Research Analyst, Karen Meagher, Ph.D. Senior Policy and Research Analyst, and Nicolle Strand, J.D., Research Analyst, Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethics Issues; (Session 5) Teaching and Learning Empirical Bioethics: Resources from the Presidential Bioethics Commission, Holly A. Taylor, Ph.D., MPH, Johns Hopkins University, Michelle Groman, J.D., Associate Director, Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethics Issues, and Leila Jamal, Johns Hopkins University. The APPE International Conference is open to the public.  Registration is Required. Association for Practical and Professional Ethics, 618 East 3rd Street, Bloomington, IN  47405, PH: 812.855.6450; Fax: 812.855.4969, Email: appe@indiana.edu Website: http://appe.indiana.edu   

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Climate Change Demands We Change. Why Aren't We?
Thursday and Friday, April 24 and 25, 2014
31st Social Research conference at The New School, NYC
For more information and to register, please visit www.newschool.edu/cps/climate-change
There is no issue more urgent than climate change, yet government, corporations, and the public are reluctant to change. This conference will examine the psychological factors, money and politics, and infrastructures that impede change as well as the difficult choices that must be made to foster urban resilience in the face of climate change. Keynote address: Frances Beinecke, President of the National Resources Defense Council, at 6pm, April 24. Other speakers include Robert Inglis, former Senator, Founder of the Energy and Enterprise Initiative; Guy Nordenson, structural engineer and adviser to MoMA's Rising Currents show; Michael Oppenheimer, Professor of Geosciences at Princeton University; Elke Weber, Professor of International Affairs at Columbia University; and Paul Stern, Director of the Committee on the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change at the National Academies of Science. $35 for the full event special issue. $12 per session special issue.

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Fourth Cambridge Consortium for Bioethics Education
REGISTER TODAY! Cambridge University Press, in conjunction with Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, will host the Fourth Cambridge Consortium for Bioethics Education  on June 23-25, 2014 at Reid Hall, Paris, France. REGISTER HERE Key Themes for 2014: E-learning Techniques, Use of Social Media, The Role of Narrative, Research Ethics, and Innovative Methodologies. View the entire list of key themes here. For further information on the Consortium, including nearby accommodations, the venue, and 2013 delegates, visit cambridgebioethics.com.

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2014 Pediatric Bioethics Conference: Pediatric Research
In July 2005, Seattle Children’s hosted its first annual pediatric bioethics conference, entitled “Pediatric Research and Our Children’s Future.” Now, a decade later, we revisit the topic as we focus on the changing and challenging world of pediatric bioethics, "New Opportunities, New Challenges: Exploring the Ethical Boundaries of Pediatric Research." An impressive lineup of speakers will examine a wide range of questions and issues: Parents of seriously ill children are often desperate for new therapies, even if in early phase trials. Is truly voluntary consent possible in such a situation? Social media allows researchers to “eavesdrop” on adolescent behavior. Should there be constraints on this type of investigation? Is it ever acceptable to conduct research in developing countries that would be considered inappropriate in the US? If hospitals set up biobanks for research, what is needed to ensure public trust? You can lend your voice to this discussion, sharing your insights and experiences. We urge you to participate in this timely and important forum, as we attempt to clarify some of these ambiguous issues. Seattle Children’s Bioethics Conference has become one of the signature events in the pediatric bioethics community, garnering strong reviews from the thousands that have joined us in the last decade. We look forward to seeing you in our beautiful, waterfront city this summer. To learn more and to register, visit: seattlechildrens.org/pediatric-bioethics-conference

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Grants, Fellowships, & Jobs

DePauw University, a selective liberal arts college, is seeking an outstanding candidate for the position of Phyllis W. Nicholas Director of the Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics to begin July 1, 2014. This is a full-time, 12-month administrative position reporting to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. The position may include teaching responsibilities of up to one course each semester. Salary will be commensurate with experience and credentials.  The Director will lead the Prindle Institute, strengthening and maintaining it as a major national center for inquiry and discussion in ethics, broadly defined to include scholarly, policy, leadership, creative and artistic endeavors. The Director will lead the Institute in promoting the centrality of ethical inquiry and engagement to a liberal arts education and to one’s life. While the Prindle Institute is a freestanding enterprise with programming that advances its unique mission, it remains an integral part of the University. Thus, the Institute’s endeavors should be designed to enhance the development and education of DePauw students, enrich the intellectual life of the University community, and expand the reach and reputation of DePauw University. The successful candidate will demonstrate expertise in ethical thinking, a passion for working with undergraduate students, exceptional leadership skills, and the potential for excellence with respect to the following responsibilities: Directing the Prindle Institute and its programs, budget, and staff;  Hosting and facilitating substantive academic and creative explorations of personal and professional ethics with programming that embraces both the practical and the philosophical with strong emphasis on the spirit of inquiry; Recruiting and hosting distinguished scholars, artists and speakers to share their expertise and spark the moral imagination of the University community, including students, faculty and staff members, and alumni; Facilitating programming that enables students to translate their ethical principles into action; Providing support for DePauw faculty members to further incorporate ethics in their teaching and research; Engaging DePauw students with the Institute in shaping projects related to ethical issues and matters; Coordinating and hosting several major symposia each year that focus on important ethical concerns of our time, involving students and faculty members from both DePauw and other universities, and enhancing DePauw University’s reputation as a place of intellectual vitality; Encouraging and enabling campus organizations, community groups, corporate and other outside organizations to use the Institute as a setting for retreats that focus on leadership, values, and ethics; Leading recruitment of Nancy Schaenen Visiting Scholars at the Prindle Institute for Ethics; Capitalizing on the energy, creativity and support of the larger DePauw community, including alumni; Conducting comprehensive and continuing reviews of the programs and structure of the Prindle Institute with the aim of continually improving the effectiveness and reputation of the Institute’s activities; and, Promoting and publicizing the activities of the Prindle Institute and, together with the Vice President for Academic Affairs and with the collaboration and support of the Office of Advancement and Development, leading fundraising to support Institute programs and Prindle’s long-range development and overall mission. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable qualified individuals with disabilities to perform these functions. A terminal degree in the candidate’s field or significant successful academic program management or administrative experience that would translate effectively to an undergraduate university is required, as well as demonstrated success as a teacher or mentor of undergraduate students and two to four years of significant successful program management and administrative experience. Submit cv and letter of interest including a statement of your vision for the Prindle Institute for Ethics to:  Jane Griswold, Assistant to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, at jgriswold@depauw.edu. DePauw University is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer. Women and members of underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply. Direct specific inquiries or questions to Sharon Crary, Search Committee Chair, at scrary@depauw.edu

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Child Trends E-News announces a new summer research fellowship program for the newly-established National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families, funded by the Administration for Children & Families.  The goal of the fellowship program is to attract, develop, and expand the pool of emerging scholars focused on studying issues of relevance to low-income and vulnerable Hispanic children and families.  The fellowship will provide graduate students with the opportunity to carry out research in an applied setting, and in ways that can impact both policy and programs serving Hispanic children and families. The application deadline is March 7 at 5pm ET.

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Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program
Application Deadline: March 18, 2014 (3:00 p.m. ET)
The Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program was established to increase the number of faculty from historically disadvantaged backgrounds who can achieve senior rank in academic medicine and dentistry and who will encourage and foster the development of succeeding classes of such physicians and dentists. Four-year postdoctoral research awards are offered to universities, schools of medicine and dentistry and research institutions to support the research and career development of physicians and dentists from historically disadvantaged backgrounds who are committed to developing careers in academic medicine and dentistry and to serving as role models for students and faculty of similar background. The program defines the term "historically disadvantaged" to mean the challenges facing individuals because of their race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status or similar factors. More details and how to apply.

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Calls for Papers & Nominations

28th European Conference on Philosophy of Medicine and Health Care “Bioethics and bio-politics” Call For Abstracts
27-30 August, 2014 Debrecen, Hungary
This conference will be organised by the European Society for Philosophy of Medicine and Healthcare (ESPMH, www.espmh.org) and the University of Debrecen Medical and Health Science Center, Debrecen, Hungary. Anyone wishing to present a paper at the conference should submit an abstract (500 words max) before 1 March, 2014. For more information please contact Professor Bert Gordijn, Secretary of the ESPMH, Institute of Ethics, Dublin City University, Ireland (bert.gordijn@dcu.ie).

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Penn Bioethics Journal is currently accepting submissions for their Fall 2014 issue from undergraduates around the globe. They encourage all bioethics-related work and provide support for students who may wish to adapt coursework for submission. This is an exciting opportunity for undergraduates to be published in a print journal that is also on EBSCO. Please click here for a document detailing the call for papers. The first of three deadlines this semester is February 10, 2014. Submissions and questions can be sent to bioethicsjournal@gmail.com. For further information, you can view the most recent issue here and the rest of their website at www.bioethicsjournal.com.

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Call for Abstracts: 8th Annual Social Justice Symposium "Health Equality: From Policy to Action"
Friday, March 28, 2014  Abstract deadline: February 21
The award winning Social Justice Symposium is a day-long event to engage faculty, students, community members, and health professionals in dialogue to raise awareness of how social issues affect health. The Symposium is run entirely by students at the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health at the University of Arizona. The theme of this year's symposium is Health Equality: From Policy to Action. The mission of the Social Justice Symposium is to cultivate interdisciplinary awareness and encourage action in the pursuit of equal justice for all people in every aspect of our society.  Public health is particularly concerned with social justice because the relative (in)equality of all members of a particular society greatly determines the overall health of that society. This year's theme in Health Policy is focused on providing insight, research, and analysis on key issues affecting health in the United States, as well as around the world. The symposium focuses on the five following objectives: Raise awareness and exchange critical analysis about how social injustice impacts health outcomes; Demonstrate how cross-sectoral partnerships can effectively address health disparities; Engage students, faculty, and community members in discourse regarding ways in which social inequalities harm the health of the public; Inform how health policies and allocation of resources can substantially improve public health; Inspire action, which fosters innovative strategies to promote social equality and improve the public's health. If you are interested in sharing your experiences at the Social Justice Symposium, please see the attached information sheet for further instructions and send your abstract submission to UofASocialJustice@gmail.com by no later than 5 pm on Friday, February 21, 2014.  Decisions will be made and notifications will be sent by Friday, February 28, 2014.

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The second annual conference on Governance of Emerging Technologies: Law, Policy and Ethics is now accepting abstracts for proposed plenary and session presentations. The event, hosted by the Arizona State University Center for Law, Science and Innovation, will be held on May 27-29 and is co-sponsored several organizations with an interest in emerging technologies. The deadline for abstract submission is March 1, 2014. The discussions will encompass various fields of emerging technologies including nanotechnologies, synthetic biology, biotechnology, genomics, personalized medicine, stem cell and regenerative medicine, human enhancement technologies, telecommunications, information technologies, surveillance technologies, geoengineering, neuroscience, and robotics. The conference will be held at the Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona. For more information registrations and abstract submission, visit http://conferences.asucollegeoflaw.com/emergingtechnologies2014/

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Other Items of Interest

Ethics Storytelling Photo Contest
The Texas Tech University (TTU) Ethics Center is pleased to announce a new Ethics Storytelling Photo Contest. Contest is open to all attendees at the Fourth Annual Responsible Conduct of Research Conference, hosted by the TTU Ethics Center on April 8, 2014, and who are at least 18 years old at the time of Conference. Conference registration is required: http://www.depts.ttu.edu/ethics/RCRConference.php.  Official Rules and Entry Form can be found on www.ethics.ttu.edu

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Articles of Interest

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In the News

Featured Article

Kolata, Gina. Ethics Questions Arise As Genetic Testing of Embryos Increases. The New York Times. 3 February 2014.
Genetic testing of embryos has been around for more than a decade, but its use has soared in recent years as methods have improved and more disease-causing genes have been discovered. The in vitro fertilization and testing are expensive — typically about $20,000 — but they make it possible for couples to ensure that their children will not inherit a faulty gene and to avoid the difficult choice of whether to abort a pregnancy if testing of a fetus detects a genetic problem. But the procedure also raises unsettling ethical questions that trouble advocates for the disabled and have left some doctors struggling with what they should tell their patients.  Continue reading...


Eligon, John and Zuo, Patrick. Designer Seed Thought To Be Latest Target By Chinese. The New York Times. 4 February 2014.
China has long been implicated in economic espionage efforts involving aviation technology, paint formulas and financial data. Chinese knockoffs of fashion accessories have long held a place in the mainstream. But the case of Mr. Mo — who was arraigned last week in Des Moines, pleaded not guilty and remains in custody — and a separate one in Kansas last year suggest that the agriculture sector is becoming a greater target, something that industry analysts fear could hurt the competitive advantage of farmers and big agriculture alike. Continue reading...


Davenport, Coral. E.P.A. Staff Struggling To Create Pollution Rule. The New York Times. 4 February 2014.
In marathon meetings and tense all-day drafting sessions, dozens of lawyers, economists and engineers at the Environmental Protection Agency are struggling to create what is certain to be a divisive but potentially historic centerpiece of President Obama’s climate change legacy. If the authors succeed in writing a lawsuit-proof regulation that is effective in cutting carbon emissions from America’s 1,500 power plants — the largest source of the nation’s greenhouse gas pollution — the result could be the most significant action taken by the United States to curb climate change. Continue reading...

Health and Medicine

Scientists Say Biennial Mammographies Effective, Cost-Saving. UPI. 4 February 2014.
Screening older women for breast cancer every two years would be as effective as annual mammograms and would save billions of dollars, U.S. researchers say. "Over the last decade, in study after study, it has become very clear that -- apart from limited, specific high-risk groups -- biennial screening is as effective as annual screening mammography," Dr. Laura J. Esserman, the study leader, said in a statement. "At the same time, annual screening is associated with a greater likelihood of false positive results, which have an adverse impact on women's well-being and quality of life.” Continue reading...

Strom, Stephanie. CVS Vows to Quit Selling Tobacco Products. The New York Times. 5 February 2014.
CVS Caremark, the country’s largest drugstore chain in overall sales, announced on Wednesday that it planned to stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products by October. The company’s move was yet another sign of its metamorphosis into becoming more of a health care provider than a largely retail business, with its stores offering more miniclinics and health advice to aid customers visiting its pharmacies. Continue reading...

Law and Bioethics

Brinkerhoff, Noel. Abortion Rate Lowest in 48 Years. All Gov. 4 February 2014.
The rate that American women are having abortions has reached its lowest level since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized the procedure in the early 1970s. Fewer than 17 abortions for every 1,000 women were recorded in 2011, the most recent year for which figures are available, according a paper published by the Guttmacher Institute, which supports abortion rights. The authors of the study said the struggling economy and new, more reliable kinds of birth control may have contributed to the decline. But they rejected any connection between the lower rate and the increase in abortion restrictions adopted by many states in recent years. Continue reading...

Medical Ethics

New HHS Rule Gives Patients Better Access To Test Results. UPI. 4 February 2014.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has strengthened patients' rights to access laboratory test reports, the head of the department says. "The right to access personal health information is a cornerstone of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Privacy Rule," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement. "Information like lab results can empower patients to track their health progress, make decisions with their health care professionals and adhere to important treatment plans." Continue reading...

Kolata, Gina. As Seen On TV, A Medical Mystery Involving Hip Implants Is Solved. The New York Times. 6 February 2014.
By a strange coincidence, two leading medical journals on Thursday published case studies of the same arcane medical mystery. In one, doctors solved the riddle only after the patient, a middle-aged woman, got so sick she had to have a heart transplant. But in the other, a physician who teaches at the University of Marburg in Germany found the clues in Season 7, Episode 11, of the Fox television show “House.” It turned out that Dr. Gregory House, the cantankerous, fictional diagnostician modeled on Sherlock Holmes, had used his powers of deduction to diagnose the very same ailment in a woman played by the actress Candice Bergen on an episode that first aired in 2011. Continue reading...

Reproductive Health

Shute, Nancy. HPV Vaccine Doesn’t Promote Riskier Sexual Behavior in Teens. NPR. 3 February 2014.
More than a few parents have worried that the HPV vaccine might encourage girls to be more sexually active. But girls say that's not so, even if they think, wrongly, that the HPV vaccine protects them against other sexually transmitted diseases. Earlier studies have found that the vaccine for human papillomavirus, which is sexually transmitted and can cause cervical cancer, doesn't encourage increased sexual activity in teenagers and young women. Continue reading...

Research Ethics

Kolata, Gina. Method of Study is Criticized in Group’s Health Policy Tests. The New York Times. 2 February 2014. The idea seemed transformative. The Affordable Care Act would fund a new research outfit evocatively named the Innovation Center to discover how to most effectively deliver health care, with $10 billion to spend over a decade. But now that the center has gotten started, many researchers and economists are disturbed that it is not using randomized clinical trials, the rigorous method that is widely considered the gold standard in medical and social science research. Such trials have long been required to prove the efficacy of medicines, and similarly designed studies have guided efforts to reform welfare-to-work, education and criminal justice programs. But they have rarely been used to guide health care policy — and experts say the center is now squandering a crucial opportunity to develop the evidence needed to retool the nation’s troubled health care system in a period of rapid and fundamental change. Continue reading...


Artificial Hand Offering Immediate Touch Response A Success. Channel News Asia. 7 February 2014.
A 36-year-old man has become the world's first amputee to experience "feeling" with a sensory-enhanced artificial hand. With wires linked to nerves in his upper arm, the Danish patient was able to handle objects and instantly receive a sense of touch through the special artificial hand that was created by Silvestro Micera and researchers both in Switzerland and Italy. Continue reading...

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In the Journals

Decamp, Matthew. Chemotherapy Drug Shortages in Pediatric Oncology: A Consensus Statement. February 2014.
Shortages of essential drugs, including critical chemotherapy drugs, have become commonplace. Drug shortages cost significant time and financial resources, lead to adverse patient outcomes, delay clinical trials, and pose significant ethical challenges. Pediatric oncology is particularly susceptible to drug shortages, presenting an opportunity to examine these ethical issues and provide recommendations for preventing and alleviating shortages. We convened the Working Group on Chemotherapy Drug Shortages in Pediatric Oncology (WG) and developed consensus on the core ethical values and practical actions necessary for a coordinated response to the problem of shortages by institutions, agencies, and other stakeholders. The interdisciplinary and multiinstitutional WG included practicing pediatric hematologist-oncologists, nurses, hospital pharmacists, bioethicists, experts in emergency management and public policy, legal scholars, patient/family advocates, and leaders of relevant professional societies and organizations. The WG endorsed 2 core ethical values: maximizing the potential benefits of effective drugs and ensuring equitable access. From these, we developed 6 recommendations: (1) supporting national polices to prevent shortages, (2) optimizing use of drug supplies, (3) giving equal priority to evidence-based uses of drugs whether they occur within or outside clinical trials, (4) developing an improved clearinghouse for sharing drug shortage information, (5) exploring the sharing of drug supplies among institutions, and (6) developing proactive stakeholder engagement strategies to facilitate prevention and management of shortages. Each recommendation includes an ethical rationale, action items, and barriers that must be overcome. Implemented together, they provide a blueprint for effective and ethical management of drug shortages in pediatric oncology and beyond. Continue reading…

Prucka, Sandra K. Deliver us from evil? An Update to Returning Genetic Research Results to Individuals: Perspectives of the Industry Pharmacogenomics Working Group. Bioethics. January 2014.
The ease with which genotyping technologies generate tremendous amounts of data on research participants has been well chronicled, a feat that continues to become both faster and cheaper to perform. In parallel to these advances come additional ethical considerations and debates, one of which centers on providing individual research results and incidental findings back to research participants taking part in genetic research efforts. In 2006 the Industry Pharmacogenomics Working Group (I-PWG) offered some 'Points-to-Consider' on this topic within the context of the drug development process from those who are affiliated to pharmaceutical companies. Today many of these points remain applicable to the discussion but will be expanded upon in this updated viewpoint from the I-PWG. The exploratory nature of pharmacogenomic work in the pharmaceutical industry is discussed to provide context for why these results typically are not best suited for return. Operational challenges unique to this industry which cause barriers to returning this information are also explained. Continue reading…

Resnik, David B. Bisphenol A and Risk Management Ethics. Bioethics. January 2014.
It is widely recognized that endocrine disrupting compounds, such as Bisphenol A, pose challenges for traditional paradigms in toxicology, insofar as these substances appear to have a wider range of low-dose effects than previously recognized. These compounds also pose challenges for ethics and policymaking. When a chemical does not have significant low-dose effects, regulators can allow it to be introduced into commerce or the environment, provided that procedures and rules are in place to keep exposures below an acceptable level. This option allows society to maximize the benefits from the use of the chemical while minimizing risks to human health or the environment, and it represents a compromise between competing values. When it is not possible to establish acceptable exposure levels for chemicals that pose significant health or environmental risks, the most reasonable options for risk management may be to enact either partial or complete bans on their use. These options create greater moral conflict than other risk management strategies, leaving policymakers difficult choices between competing values. Continue reading…

Takala, Tuija. You cannot have your normal functioning cake and eat it too. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics. February 2014.
This article describes and introduces a new innovative tool for bioethics education: a rock opera on the ethics of genetics written by two academics and a drummer legend. The origin of the idea, the characters and their development, and the themes and approaches as well as initial responses to the music and the show are described, and the various educational usages are explored. Continue reading…

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Ars Technica

Timmer, John. Acid bath turns cells from any tissue into stem cells. Janaury 30, 2014.
The development of human embryonic stem cells, which have the ability to form any cell in the body, may enable us to repair tissues damaged by injury or disease. Initially, these cells could only be obtained through methods that some deemed ethically unacceptable, but researchers eventually developed a combination of genes that could reprogram most cells into an embryonic-like state. That worked great for studies, but wasn't going to work for medical uses, since one of the genes involved has been associated with cancer. Continue reading…

Timmer, John. Massive Open Lab gets volunteers to beat computers in designing RNA. Janaury 30, 2014.
Citizen science, the movement to draft non-specialists into areas of scientific research, doesn't require the volunteers to put on lab coats. In at least one case, scientists turned a prickly biochemical problem into a game and found that the gamers could typically beat the best computer algorithms out there. Continue reading…

Timmer, John. Six-month treatment limits problems with peanut allergies. February 1, 2014.
Food allergies present a significant challenge for many people since items that trigger severe reactions may show up in processed foods without anyone's knowledge. Ingesting too much of an allergen can set off anaphylactic shock or cause a swelling of the throat that makes breathing difficult. Continue reading…

Willkinson, Allie. What makes a marine protected area effective? February 6, 2014.
Even though there are about 5,000 marine protected areas (MPAs) around the planet, less than two percent of the world’s oceans are fully protected. The number of MPAs is increasing rapidly, but the benefits they generate are still difficult to predict. It would be nice to know if the ones we've already created are effective. Continue reading…

Chicago Tribune

Editorial. The decline of abortion. February 4, 2014.
As president, Bill Clinton often stated his view that abortion should be "safe, legal and rare," a summation that reflected the public's generally mixed feelings. Abortion rights opponents would certainly agree on the last goal, as would many abortion rights supporters. So the latest news on the prevalence of abortion in America should elicit approval from people who often disagree. Continue reading…


Science & Technology. Ingenious. February 8, 2014.
It sounds like science fiction, and for years it seemed as though it was just that: fiction. But the idea of gene therapy—introducing copies of healthy genes into people who lack them, to treat disease—is at last looking as if it may become science fact. Continue reading…

Los Angeles Times

Editorial. Keystone XL, a sorry symbol of a continued reliance on fossil fuels. February 2, 2014.
The State Department is probably right to conclude, as it did Friday, that the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline project would have a negligible effect on climate change. Even though the extraction of the oil would certainly cause significant pollution, Keystone XL would be only one of many dirty oil operations around the world. What's more, stopping the pipeline, which is expected to carry 83,000 barrels of oil each day 1,700 miles from the tar sands of Canada to the Gulf Coast, wouldn't stop the extraction. The only thing that would change is how the oil is transported. Continue reading…

New York Times

Editorial. Taking Tobacco Off the Shelves. February 6, 2014.
CVS Caremark, the giant drugstore chain, deserves a big round of applause for deciding to phase out the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products at its more than 7,600 stores by Oct. 1. The decision will cost the company a substantial amount of money but will place CVS where it and other pharmacy chains belong — on the side of customer health and against a product that still kills 480,000 Americans a year. Continue reading…

Editorial. A Missing Argument on Contraceptives. February 5, 2014.
One of the most anticipated showdowns of the Supreme Court’s current term will take place March 25, when the justices are scheduled to hear two cases brought by secular, for-profit corporations whose owners want an exemption, based on their religious beliefs, from the requirement that employers’ health plans cover the full range of contraceptive services without a co-payment. Continue reading…

La Puma, John. Don’t Ask Your Doctor About ‘Low T’. Ferbruary 3, 2014.
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — A funny thing has happened in the United States over the last few decades. Men’s average testosterone levels have been dropping by at least 1 percent a year, according to a 2006 study in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. Continue reading…

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