Bioethics Blogs

Roundtable Discussion: Bioethics Advisory Bodies Past, Present, and Future

The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (Bioethics Commission) closed its reflections on the impact of national bioethics advisory bodies with a roundtable discussion involving Commission members and the day’s presenters.

Amy Gutmann, Ph.D., Chair of the Bioethics Commission, began the session by asking each panelist to articulate an important takeaway from the previous discussions about what the future holds for bioethics advisory bodies. She invited panelists and members to reflect upon what they would recommend to the next bioethics commission, in terms of either topic selection or structure/function.

Highlights from the discussion include:

Jason L. Schwartz, Ph.D., M.B.E., Assistant Professor of Health Policy and the History of Medicine at Yale University School of Public Health, talked about continuity between commissions, and how retaining their names might ensure a smoother transition and better continuity between administrations.

Nandini Kumar M.B.B.S., D.C.P., M.H.SC., Dr. TMA Pai Endowment Chair at Manipal University in India, emphasized the importance of including a member fluent in issues of international research, especially taking place in developing countries.

Tom L. Beauchamp, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy and Senior Research Scholar at Georgetown University’s Kennedy Institute of Ethics, discussed the role of philosophy and philosophers in the conversations of bioethics advisory bodies.

Ruth Faden, Ph.D., M.P.H., Andreas C. Dracopoulos Director and Philip Franklin Wagley Professor at Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics stressed that human rights and health should be emphasized by future bioethics commissions, as opposed to emerging technologies. She also referred to accountability and the importance of signaling independence and authority, helping to ensure that the government responds to recommendations by commissions.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.