Tag: empirical research

Bioethics Blogs

Introducing New Deliberative Scenario and Facilitator Guide from the Bioethics Commission: “MMR Vaccination in a Local Immigrant Community”

The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (Bioethics Commission) has released two new educational materials, Deliberative Scenario: MMR Vaccination in a Local Immigrant Community and Facilitator Guide for Deliberative Scenario: MMR Vaccination in a Local Immigrant Community. This new deliberative scenario and facilitator guide build on the work of two of the Bioethics Commission’s reports, Ethics and Ebola: Public Health Planning and Response (Ethics and Ebola) and Bioethics for Every Generation: Deliberation and Education in Health, Science, and Technology.

This deliberative scenario and facilitator guide draw from contemporary ethical questions and are designed to provide public health professionals with the means to integrate bioethics into public health practice. As outlined in Bioethics for Every Generation, democratic deliberation is a method of decision making that can help groups to identify reasonable options for action when faced with questions or complex topics without a clear consensus about the way forward.

Deliberative Scenario: MMR Vaccination in a Local Immigrant Community highlights contemporary ethical questions about the administration of measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccinations in immigrant communities, including challenges that might arise when MMR vaccination requirements are linked to access to community resources. This deliberative scenario presents an outline of ethically challenging situations that can be incorporated into deliberation process, providing public health professionals with the opportunity to practice the decision-making method.

The Facilitator Guide for Deliberative Scenario: MMR Vaccination in a Local Immigrant Community includes specific instructions for facilitating deliberations for the situations outlined in this deliberative scenario. This facilitator guide provides public health professionals with specific instructions for facilitating deliberations about the potential social, economic, and cultural effects of vaccination policies on an immigrant community.

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

Introducing New Deliberative Scenario and Facilitator Guide from the Bioethics Commission: “Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Policy for a Local Public Health Department”

The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (Bioethics Commission) has released two new educational materials, Deliberative Scenario: Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Policy for a Local Public Health Department and Facilitator Guide for Deliberative Scenario: Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Policy for a Local Public Health Department. This new deliberative scenario and facilitator guide build on the work of two of the Bioethics Commission’s reports, Ethics and Ebola: Public Health Planning and Response (Ethics and Ebola) and Bioethics for Every Generation: Deliberation and Education in Health, Science, and Technology.

This deliberative scenario and facilitator guide draw from contemporary ethical questions, and are designed to provide public health professionals with the tools to integrate bioethics into public health practice. It highlights contemporary ethical questions about policies related to the administration of seasonal influenza vaccinations for employees in local public health departments, and whether or not employees should be required to receive vaccines annually.

This deliberative scenario presents an outline of ethically challenging situations that can be incorporated into deliberation process, and provides an opportunity to practice the method of deliberation decision-making. The Facilitator Guide for Deliberative Scenario: Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Policy for a Local Public Health Department includes specific instructions for facilitating deliberations for the situations outlined in this deliberative scenario.

As outlined in Bioethics for Every Generation, democratic deliberation is a method of decision making that can help groups to identify reasonable options for action when faced with questions or complex topics without a clear consensus about the way forward. This facilitator guide provides public health professionals with specific instructions for facilitating deliberations about a challenging decision and the potential impacts of policy changes on various stakeholders.

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 News

Postdoctoral/Post Baccalaureate Fellowship Opportunity: Bioethics Fellowship at the National Institutes of Health

October 4, 2016

The Department of Bioethics is pleased to offer a limited number of two-year post-doctoral and pre-doctoral (post-baccalaureate) fellowships. Fellows participate in the activities and the intellectual life of our interdisciplinary department and study ethical issues related to the conduct of research, clinical practice, genetics, and health policy. They conduct mentored theoretical and empirical research on a range of bioethical fields of interest. For a typical fellow, this research yields multiple first-authored publications in premier academic journals. In addition to research and writing, fellows participate in weekly bioethics seminars, case conferences, ethics consultations, and IRB deliberations, and have access to multiple educational opportunities at NIH.  No prior bioethics experience is required or expected.

Fellowships begin in September 2017. Students planning to pursue MD, JD, PhD or other graduate degrees, or those who have achieved these degrees, are encouraged to apply. Salary is commensurate with Federal guidelines. Non US citizens are welcome to apply but must have a doctoral degree.  Applicants for the postdoctoral fellowship must have earned their degree no more than 5 years prior to the start date of the fellowship and applicants for the post baccalaureate fellowship must have earned their degree no more than 3 years prior to the start date of the fellowship.

Applications consist of: resume/CV, undergraduate and graduate transcripts, one to three writing samples (not to exceed total of 30 pages double-spaced), that demonstrate analytical or critical thinking ability three letters of recommendation (preferably from individuals familiar with your academic work), and a statement of interest explaining how the fellowship fits into your career goals and potential bioethics topics you would like to investigate (up to 1000 words).

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

Introducing New Deliberative Scenario and Teacher Companion from the Bioethics Commission: “Return of Genetic Research Results”

The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (Bioethics Commission) has released two new educational materials, “Deliberative Scenario: Return of Genetic Research Results” and “Teacher Companion for Deliberative Scenario: Return of Genetic Research Results.” This new deliberative scenario and teacher companion build on the work of two of the Bioethics Commission’s reports, Anticipate and Communicate: Ethical Management of Incidental and Secondary Findings in the Clinical, Research, and Direct-to-Consumer Contexts (Anticipate and Communicate) and Bioethics for Every Generation: Deliberation and Education in Health, Science, and Technology.

Deliberative Scenario: Return of Genetic Research Results” highlights contemporary ethical questions about incidental and secondary findings that can result from genetic testing.

This scenario, like others the Bioethics Commission has released, presents an outline of ethically challenging situations that can provide students an opportunity to practice deliberation.

The “Teacher Companion for Deliberative Scenario: Return of Genetic Research Results” provides teachers with specific instructions for facilitating deliberations for the scenarios in “Deliberative Scenario: Return of Genetic Research Results.” These new educational materials are designed to facilitate deliberation on bioethical issues that have been addressed by the Bioethics Commission, and provide students and teachers with the means to enhance and enrich interdisciplinary ethics education.

These new educational resources are part of a collection of over 60 educational materials that the Bioethics Commission has developed throughout its tenure to support the integration of bioethics education in many disciplines in traditional and nontraditional educational and professional settings. This collection includes a series of teaching tools for students at various educational levels, including topic-based modules, case studies, deliberative scenarios, videos, webinars, and empirical research resources, that address a variety of ethical issues related to public health emergencies, whole genome sequencing, human subjects research, and more.

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

Introducing the Bioethics Commission’s New Educational Resource: “Classroom Discussion Guide on Ethics and Incidental Findings”

The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (Bioethics Commission) has released a new discussion guide titled “Classroom Discussion Guide on Ethics and Incidental Findings.” This guide is designed to facilitate students’ engagement with the ethical issues surrounding incidental and secondary findings. This guide builds on the work of the Bioethics Commission’s report Anticipate and Communicate: Ethical Management of Incidental and Secondary Findings in the Clinical, Research, and Direct-to-Consumer Contexts

This guide introduces students of various levels to the ethical issues related to incidental and secondary findings. The guide provides a set of discussion questions to help students understand, evaluate, and reflect on these ethical challenges. The guide also includes three case studies that demonstrate the real-life impact that incidental and secondary findings have had in clinical, research, and direct-to-consumer settings.

This guide is part of a series of classroom discussion guides that have been developed for students at various educational levels, and includes discussion guides on ethical issues related to public health emergencies and neuroscience. We have also developed a series of teaching tools, including topic-based modules, case studies, deliberative scenarios, and empirical research resources. All resources are available for free download, and can be integrated into existing science or ethics curricula, or used to create a new course.

Please stay tuned for forthcoming educational materials, including a new deliberative scenario and teacher companion about incidental findings.

All Bioethics Commission educational materials are free and available at www.bioethics.gov/education. The Bioethics Commission encourages feedback on its materials at education@bioethics.gov.

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

Weeding Out the Truth: DEA’s New Stance on Marijuana Largely the Same as the Old

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

According to the Department of Justice, marijuana offenses account for 12.5% of all people in federal prisons for drug offenses. The FBI reports that 42.4% of all drug offense arrests are for possession of marijuana, which comes to about 620,000 people. Not only is marijuana illegal on the federal level, but it has historically been classified as a Schedule I drug, a designation that is supposed to mean that a substance is highly addictive and has no medical use.

With four states (CO, OR, WA, AK) permitting recreational marijuana and 25 states plus DC, Guam, and Puerto Rico enacting medical marijuana programs, the federal government recently re-examined its long-standing positions on marijuana. Under requests of two governors, the Drug Enforcement Agency was asked to look at rescheduling marijuana so that it is no longer a schedule 1 drug. Part of the reason is that marijuana can now legally (on the state level) be used as a health treatment in over half the country. New studies show medical benefits of marijuana including a RAND study that found a decrease in opioid use (abuse and related deaths) in states with medical marijuana programs.

Last week the DEA announced its findings: It denied the two petitions to reschedule marijuana, mainly on a lack of evidence of efficacy. The irony is that the reason there are few studies on efficacy is because marijuana is schedule I. To conduct a study on medical marijuana (apart from those that show it’s dangers) requires an institution to go through a long and drawn out approval process.

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 – June 2016, Part II by Anna Zogas

We have three special issues to conclude our highlighting of new articles in June! Here they are:

  • Surveillance and Embodiment: Dispositifs of Capture, in Body & Society
  • Perspectives on patienthood, practitioners and pedagogy, in Medical Humanities
  • Childbirth and Reproduction, in Sociology of Health & Illness

And, if you’re looking for more to read, the first part of this month’s roundup is here.

Body & Society

Surveillance and Embodiment: Dispositifs of Capture
Martin French, Gavin JD Smith 

This article provides an introduction to a special issue of Body & Society that explores the surveillance-embodiment nexus. It accentuates both the prevalence and consequence of bodies being increasingly converted into ‘objects of information’ by surveillance technologies and systems. We begin by regarding the normalcy of body monitoring in contemporary life, illustrating how a plurality of biometric scanners operate to intermediate the physical surfaces and subjective depths of bodies in accordance with various concerns. We focus on everyday experiences of bodily intermediation by surveillant dispositifs, and consider the broader political, epistemological, and ontological significance of these processes. We then point to the substantive intersections and divergences existing between body and surveillance studies. We conclude with an overview of the five articles appearing in this special issue. We describe how each contribution creates a template for imagining what a body is, and what a body might become, in a culture defined by proliferating data sharing behaviours, systems of codification, and practices of intermediation.

Surveillance, Privacy and the Making of the Modern Subject: Habeas what kind of Corpus?
Charlotte Epstein

In this article I consider how our experiences of bodily privacy are changing in the contemporary surveillance society.

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

Best intentions, worst outcomes: Ethical and legal challenges for international research involving sex workers

Central America hosts a thriving sex work industry that is a key source and transit region for sex trafficking and undocumented migrants engaged in sex work. Sex workers – particularly those who are migrant – are at high risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections as well as physical abuse and in some cases murder. However, the existing network of international, national, and local criminal and human rights policies applicable to sex workers can be confusing and contradictory, not only in the context of access to sexual health preventions and interventions, but also for investigators seeking to conduct that can lead to effective sexual health services.

The dense web of existing regulations – everything from criminalizing sex work, to being illegally present in a country, to mandatory public health testing to extortion by police – means that U.S. based researchers hoping to illuminate these health disparities while well-intentioned, can ultimately put persons involved in sex work in harm’s way, including arrest or deportation.

In many instances, while sex work is illegal nationally, it is condoned and supported by local officials. Knowledge of existing laws, but more importantly, the way they are implemented is thus crucial for investigators in this region if they are to avoid recruitment and data collection activities that compromise the safety of potential research participants.

On June 8 and 9, 2016, Fordham University Center for Ethics Education Director and Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)-funded HIV and Drug Abuse Research Ethics Training Institute (RETI), Dr. Celia B.

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

The Disorientation of Illness

Ami Harbin considers how positioning health as the personal responsibility of individuals may contribute to the disorientation of illness.

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Being diagnosed with an illness, undergoing treatment, and being identified (by oneself and others) as sick can be very difficult. In my recent book, I argue that illness is sometimes disorienting. Like other disorientations, it can be a major, sustained experience that makes it difficult to know how to go on.

A great deal of empirical research I survey investigates the ways that illness can be disorienting.  A number of studies show how cancer, HIV, arthritis, heart conditions, ALS, organ transplants, and many other illnesses can make it difficult, for both people with illness and their loved ones, to know how to go on. As one participant in a study of women with lupus described her experience, “Illness is like an unexpected thief that attacks one’s life and destroys one’s life expectations. With illness, goals in life fade away…One has to painfully reconstruct one’s expectations.”

We know that serious illnesses are possible and, if we live long enough, increasingly likely.  Why, then, would we be disoriented by them?

A life event can be fully expected, or even deliberately pursued, and still disorient us. Even if one fully expects to face illness at some point, illness can still be a major, sustained experience that makes it difficult to know how to go on. We don’t yet know how to be a person with this illness, and we don’t yet know how our life plans will need to change in light of 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

Democratic Deliberation in Bioethics for Every Generation

On May 12, 2016 the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (Bioethics Commission) issued its tenth report Bioethics for Every Generation: Deliberation and Education in Health, Science, and Technology. In the first section, the report addresses how a pluralistic, democratic society can make policy decisions about complex topics in the realm of bioethics—which involves deeply held values regarding health, bodies, identities, and life and death—using democratic deliberation.

In an era in which complex topics often become mired in polarized debate, the Bioethics Commission’s recommendations for democratic deliberation provide a method for constructive public engagement. Democratic deliberation, characterized by mutual respect and reason-giving, offers a way to find acceptable solutions to complex policy challenges in bioethics. During its tenure, the Bioethics Commission has demonstrated the effectiveness of democratic deliberation by using this method to analyze and make policy recommendations about a variety of challenging bioethical topics.

Three of the eight recommendations that the Bioethics Commission made in Bioethics for Every Generation are about democratic deliberation. First, the Commission recommended that stakeholders in the democratic process inform bioethics policy decisions with democratic deliberation. Examples of stakeholders include government officials, health plans, researchers, and members of the public who are trying to set policies about health, science, and technology with important ethical dimensions. Democratic deliberation can promote understanding, mutual respect, and greater legitimacy for the resulting policy outcomes, even when the issues under discussion seem intractable at the outset.

Second, the Bioethics Commission recommended that organizers of deliberative activities conduct deliberative activities in ways conducive to mutual respect and reason-giving among participants in accordance with best practices.

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.