Tag: cultural diversity

Bioethics News

Successful Launch of the 2nd Edition Global Bioethics Summer Program in Manhattan, NYC 2016!

Interested in getting involved in bioethics? Join Global Bioethics Initiative’s summer program organized annually in Manhattan, NYC and Dubrovnik, Croatia, where we discuss controversial issues such as embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, gene therapy, human genetic engineering, organ trafficking, euthanasia, and human enhancement.

Our notable faculty and eager participants are exceptional, with complex multicultural backgrounds, educations, and experience. Over the past couple of days in Manhattan, we have enjoyed lectures and film screenings during the week and field trips on the weekend.

Here are some testimonials from the international participants of our Manhattan session, July 11-18, 216.

“As a Biomedical Engineer working in research at a university in Bogota, Colombia, I have experience both in structuring, reviewing and presenting research proposals. I decided to attend the Global Bioethics Initiative Summer Program to inform myself about current bioethical issues facing the scientific community, so that I could apply that knowledge to my own work in order to make better informed decisions. The program has far exceeded my expectations. The diversity of the lecturers and the other participants both in their professional backgrounds and cultural diversity allows for so much insight. We have had lecturers speak to us about topics ranging from human stem cell culture to in-vitro fertilization to forced human organ trafficking. The expertise of those involved has allowed me to grow personally, and the networking opportunities have been priceless. I can’t wait to see what else is in store for us in this once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Luis Martinez, Ph.D. Biomedical Engineering, Bogota, Hospital Universitario La Samaritana

“I was motivated to attend the Global Bioethics Initiative Summer School in Manhattan because of my desire to expand my knowledge of the bioethical issues that surround us.

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.

Bioethics Blogs

Expanding The Moral Community: Why is it so hard?


Much of American history can be described as the struggle to
expand the moral community in which an increasing number of human beings are
seen as having basic rights under the constitution. We forget sometimes that
though the inclusion of all people was perhaps implied in our early documents,
as in “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created
equal…” from the Declaration of Independence, it has taken historical time and
struggle to come closer to realizing that ideal. This struggle has been the
quest for recognition of more and more individuals not assumed initially to have
the right to vote and exercise control over their lives, which included African
Americans, women, minorities, and more recently the LGBT community. The growing
recognition of more and more individuals as being full fledged citizens has
been a slow, often painful, birthing process of freedom, in the sense of
unleashing human potential and possibilities, within the democratic process.


 


The recent uproar over the
Anti-LGBT law
passed in North Carolina is a reminder of how difficult it is
for many states and communities to accept and accommodate historically
marginalized people into the mainstream of society. This law was a quick
reaction by the right wing North Carolina legislature and governor to an
ordinance passed in Charlotte, similar to what other cities around the country
are doing, allowing transgender people to use restrooms according to their
gender identity. Perhaps this law also should be seen as a reaction to the
Supreme Court ruling in 2015 legalizing same-sex marriage, which has been
propelling society toward greater openness and acceptance of LGBT life styles,
integrating them into the mainstream.

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.

Bioethics Blogs

Traumatic Brain Injury and Cultural Diversity

Tracey Landmann, a traumatic brain injury survivor, advocates greater respect and recognition for the individual differences presented by persons living with traumatic brain injury.

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People generally like to organize things, including other people. We construct figurative containers and compartments, and then sort through the chaos of the planet’s population, often negatively judging those who do not share in our own culture’s belief system. We frown on people we view as incapable, unethical, or irrational, doing so even when we are only familiar with stereotypes about these individuals. Even the simplest deviations become suspect.

Lately, there has been an energized effort to rectify this lack of acceptance. For example, corporate/medical/societal Cultural Diversity Training programs are increasing. These programs aim to educate people as to the value of everyone in the office, to inspire people to work better with each other, and to avoid lawsuits. That any effort is being made to broaden compassion anywhere is encouraging. But this kind of training is, at best, just a beginning towards achieving greater tolerance and respect for diversity and difference.

Bosnian Renaissance by Tracey Landmann

Acknowledging cultural diversity is intimidating enough; relating to the human elements within ‘other’ cultures can sometimes be downright frightening. Doing this for the medically labelled community of traumatically brain injured survivors can be especially challenging. Even medical professionals, who are supposed to be well-versed in traumatic brain injury, seldom take the individual into account. They affix a label to the disability alone and ignore the complexity that makes up the individual’s life behind it.

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.

Bioethics Blogs

In the Journals — February 2016, Part II by Aaron Seaman

And now for a very belated February post (not even the extra day could help this year…). However, there is much to dig in to here, including two special issues, “The Sociology of Health Care Safety and Quality” in Sociology of Health & Illness and “Anthropology and Medical Photography: Ethnographic, Critical and Comparative Perspectives” in Visual Anthropology. Enjoy!

Social Science & Medicine

Invisible walls within multidisciplinary teams: Disciplinary boundaries and their effects on integrated care

Elisa Giulia Liberati, Mara Gorli, Giuseppe Scaratti

Delivery of interdisciplinary integrated care is central to contemporary health policy. Hospitals worldwide are therefore attempting to move away from a functional organisation of care, built around discipline-based specialisation, towards an approach of delivering care through multidisciplinary teams. However, the mere existence of such teams may not guarantee integrated and collaborative work across medical disciplines, which can be hindered by boundaries between and within professions. This paper analyses the boundaries that affect collaboration and care integration in newly created multidisciplinary teams. Empirical data are drawn from an ethnographic research conducted in the sub-intensive stroke unit of an Italian public hospital. Data collection involved 180 h of observations and conversations with 42 healthcare providers. Findings show that disciplinary boundaries hinder both intra-professional and inter-professional collaboration. Doctors from different disciplines adopt different, and sometimes conflicting, clinical approaches, doctors and nurses construct discipline-specific professional identities, and conflicts emerge between doctors and nurses from different disciplines over the regulation of the medical–nursing boundary. Achieving collaboration and integration between professionals from different disciplines may be particularly challenging when the group with less institutional power (nurses, in this case) has developed a high level of expertise on the needs of the patients targeted by the team.

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.

Bioethics Blogs

“Bioculturalism” — An interview with Daniel Hruschka by Daniel Hruschka

This series aims to get anthropologists and closely-related others talking seriously, and thinking practically, about how to synergize biological and social scientific approaches to human health and well-being, and to what positive ends. In this interview, Daniel Hruschka responds to questions posed by Jeffrey G. Snodgrass.

 

How and why might cultural anthropologists and social scientists interested in health benefit from integrating biological variables/biomarkers into their research and analysis?

I was originally drawn to biocultural anthropology because of its open-minded approach to answering questions and solving problems. Rather than requiring the use of a specific method as a litmus test for quality work, the biocultural approach permitted me to use any combination of study designs and methods that were best suited to answering my specific questions. A common form of integration in biocultural anthropology is to study both biological and sociocultural variables to understand how social, political, and cultural forces shape human health and functioning. However, the integrative promise of a biocultural approach goes far beyond this specific set of health-related problems. Rather, I see biocultural anthropology as creating a free space for researchers to experiment with whatever set of empirical approaches—whether they are quantitative, qualitative, experimental, observational, subjective, objective—to best answer their questions.

In addition to helping researchers better answer their question, this methodological open-mindedness also equips biocultural researchers to critique work in other fields where methods not traditionally available in a cultural anthropologist’s toolkit are more highly valued. For example, in recent studies, colleagues and I have used a diverse set of methods including on-the-ground fieldwork, open-ended interviews and observations, behavioral experiments, and quantitative analyses of secondary data to challenge popular theories in evolutionary psychology about the origins of cross-cultural diversity in collectivism and parochialism.

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.

Bioethics Blogs

Fernando Vidal’s and Nélia Dias’s Endangerment, Biodiversity and Culture by Frédéric Keck

Endangerment, Biodiversity and Culture

By Fernando Vidal and Nélia Dias (editors)

Routledge, 2016, 264 pages

What do natural reserves, botanical and zoological parks, anthropology museums and department of linguistics have in common? They all describe their objects as endangered beings. The series of essays collected by Fernando Vidal and Nélia Dias start from this diagnosis. If there is a contemporary “endangerment sensibility” in global communities of experts, what is its history, and what kinds of assemblages does it produce?

Raising such historical questions involves stepping back from the catastrophic discourse on species extinction and the sense of crisis that often accompanies environmental humanities. When so many different objects are described and conceived as endangered, what does it tell about our contemporary ontologies? First and foremost, it means that the classical distinction between a stabilized nature and a realm of culture opened to human initiative is obsolete. At the age of the ‘anthropocene’ (beautifully evoked by Julia Adeney Thomas in her coda to Vidal’s and Dias’s volume entitled “Who is the ‘We’ Endangered by Climate Change?”), when the human species appears as a geological force able to transform its environment permanently, all the beings we live with appear as more or less endangered.

The two terms that constitute the title of this book—biodiversity and culture—do not rely, therefore, on the classical distinction between nature and culture. On the contrary, the editors rely on Philippe Descola’s argument that the problem of biodiversity forces us to think “beyond nature and culture”, since natural diversity is as endangered as cultural diversity.

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.

Bioethics Blogs

Developing Innovative Curricula in Public Health Ethics Using an Empirical Approach

Behrmann and colleagues argue that curriculum improvements are needed to support Canadian ethics educators in their training of future public health professionals

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The recent Ebola outbreak highlights the complexity of contemporary public health interventions that pose challenging ethical issues at the interface between research (e.g., the use of experimental medicines), health policy (e.g., resource allocation), and professional practice (e.g., who and how to intervene). And so public health professionals – whether they are frontline workers, researchers, or decision-makers – need to be equipped to deal with these challenges.

The field of public health is comprised of students, practitioners and researchers from a diversity of academic backgrounds; as such, they may come to this field with various norms of practice or codes of ethics, some of which may not be well aligned. To do their jobs well, they must interact with a diversity of other professionals (e.g., clinicians, scientists, and policy-makers) and at multiple levels (e.g., from the local to the global), all the while respecting the cultural diversity of the populations they serve. Such complex professional work environments thus require thorough and nuanced professional and public health ethics education. Yet, few jurisdictions have adopted either a formal professional code of ethics for public health, or a model curriculum for public health ethics education, and there are merely a handful of ethics-related teaching resources for continuing education in this field. As a result, trainees and professionals may not know where to turn for guidance, feel ill-equipped to negotiate divergent obligations arising from different codes of ethics (e.g.,

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.