Tag: managers

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Are We All Flint? by Catherine Fennell

[This article originally appeared in Limn, Issue No. 7, “Public Infrastructures / Infrastructural Publics”.]

For the past several decades, Flint, Michigan, has staggered under waves of deindustrialization, disinvestment, and abandonment that have left the city depopulated, its built environment in shambles, and its remaining residents reeling from high unemployment and crime rates, a decimated tax base, and dwindling municipal services. While grim, Flint’s decline is by no means unique in a region whose cities have become synonymous with the booms and busts of twentieth century American manufacturing. Nor is the degree of its decay unusual. Aficionados of ruin will find crumbling infrastructures arresting and aplenty in most any “Rust Belt” city. What is singular, however, is the attention that Flint’s contaminated water has received in recent months, an attention that is now amplifying ongoing debates concerning America’s ailing and aging infrastructures. That amplification is especially apparent in variations of a phrase that has recently echoed through local, regional, and national media and activist circles: “We are all Flint.”

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With every disclosed email, alleged wrongdoing, and denial of responsibility, the course of Flint’s contamination grows as murky and foul as the water that began flowing from its taps in 2014. In April of that year, the city switched its water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River. The switch unfolded amid a climate of intense fiscal austerity in which state-appointed emergency managers pushed Michigan’s most financially beleaguered cities to cut costs. In Flint, part of this push included a proposal to bypass Detroit’s Water and Sewerage Department as the city’s water supplier, and to instead source cheaper water through a newly constructed pipeline into Lake Huron.

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.

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In The Journals – November by Christine Sargent

Hello trusty readers. Check out November’s haul for “In The Journals,” and be sure to check out the special issue of Science, Technology, and Human Values: Feminist Postcolonial Technosciences.

 

American Ethnologist:

Memory, body, and the online researcher: Following Russian street demonstrations via social media (open access)

Patty A. Gray

The Moscow street demonstrations of 2011–12 were the largest public gatherings in Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union. They were also the largest-ever gathering of Russians on social media. While using the Internet to follow such large-scale social movements remotely, researchers experience social media as a context in which anthropology happens. They may think about “being there” in new ways that shift their focus to their own processes of memory making and sense of bodily presence. Experiencing and remembering social media in the body challenges the distinctions we might otherwise make between virtual and physical encounters.

Royal pharmaceuticals: Bioprospecting, rights, and traditional authority in South Africa

Christopher Morris

The translation of international biogenetic resource rights to a former apartheid homeland is fostering business partnerships between South African traditional leaders and multinational pharmaceutical companies. In the case of one contentious resource, these partnerships are entrenching, and in some instances expanding, apartheid-associated boundaries and configurations of power. The state and corporate task of producing communities amenable to biodiversity commercialization and conservation is entangled with segregationist laws and spatial planning. Rather than exclusion and the closure of ethnic boundaries, resource rights in this context foreground forced enrollment and the expansion of indigenous group-membership as modes of capitalist accumulation in an extractive economy.

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.

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End-of-Life Care for Older People in Long-term Care Facilities – International Conference

This conference (March 31st-April 1, 2017 in Kraków, Poland) is focused on the issue of improving end-of-life quality of care in long-term care facilities (LTCFs) across Europe with a special focus on the Polish context. 

The conference is targeted at healthcare and social workers, nursing staff as well as managers of LTCFs. Through presentations and workshops the conference participants will be familiar with the latest guidelines of care principles and tools for implementation and execution of a high-quality end-of-life care. 

The conference is organized as the part of the PACE project – Comparing the effectiveness of Palliative Care for Older People in long-term care facilities in Europe which overall aim is to develop tools to assist practitioners and policy- and decision-makers to make evidence-based decisions regarding best end-of-life care.  

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.

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Contraception: Past, Present and Future And Why It Matters

September 27, 2016

(World Health Organization) – Despite the positive global trends there are large differences among and within countries. Over 200 million women worldwide would like to avoid a pregnancy but are not using an effective method of contraception. Reasons for this vary from each country but are related to a lack of supplies, cultural and political barriers and poor quality of services. For policy-makers and programme managers it is critical that their decisions are informed by important lessons that we can learn from history and knowledge of what opportunities the future holds.

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.

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In the Journals – September 2016, part one by Aaron Seaman

Welcome to part one of September’s journal post. We start off with a few special issues, which have been highlighted earlier, followed by a great batch of interesting articles for fall reading. Enjoy!

Transcultural Psychiatry – “Practical Anthropology for a Global Public Psychiatry

Medical Anthropology – “Nonsecular Medical Anthropology

New Genetics & Society – “Private, the Public, and the Hybrid in Umbilical Cord Blood Banking

 

Appetite

The traditional food of migrants: Meat, water, and other challenges for dietary advice. An ethnography in Guanajuato, Mexico

Carolyn Smith-Morris

The term “traditional diet” is used variously in public health and nutrition literature to refer to a substantial variety of foodways. Yet it is difficult to draw generalities about dietary tradition for specific ethnic groups. Given the strong association between migration and dietary change, it is particularly important that dietary advice for migrants be both accurate and specific. In this article, I examine the cultural construct of “traditional foods” through mixed method research on diet and foodways among rural farmers in Guanajuato, MX and migrants from this community to other Mexican and U.S. destinations. Findings reveal first, that quantitatively salient terms may contain important variation, and second, that some “traditional” dietary items –like “refresco,” “carne,” and “agua” – may be used in nutritionally contradictory ways between clinicians and Mexican immigrant patients. Specifically, the term “traditional food” in nutritional advice for Mexican migrants may be intended to promote consumption of fresh produce or less meat; but it may also invoke other foods (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.

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Special Issue! Private, the Public, and the Hybrid in Umbilical Cord Blood Banking by Aaron Seaman

“First, it critically examines the dichotomy between public and private cord blood banks, and shows that the mechanism and network of cord blood banks is far more complex than indicated by the dichotomy of the public and the private. …

“Second, there is an increased interest in the social, ethical and political aspects of cord blood banking as a location where scientific, economic, governmental and personal expectations converge. Cord blood banking attracts various actors with common, and competing, interests, including regulators, scientists, business people, medical staff, donors, patients and customers. Although academic publications have appeared on some of the contested values and discourses around UCB banking, such as waste, gift, hope, insurance and venture…, there is still little we understand about the collaborations, alliances and competition among these actors and stakeholders, as the processes involved in cord blood banking remain opaque. This special issue brings together the perspectives of midwives, managers in cord blood banks, parents, scientists and policymakers in different countries. Their standpoints highlight various perspectives on cord blood banks, as well as how a panoply of opinions and actions come about in their specific socio-cultural, economic and political context.”

As such, the articles’ abstract are below. Enjoy!

Hybrid practices in cord blood banking. Rethinking the commodification of human tissues in the bioeconomy

Christine Hauskeller and Lorenzo Beltrame

The STS and bioethical literature on umbilical cord blood (UCB) banking nowadays discusses the field as divided into opposite institutional arrangements, public versus private banking.

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.

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Gouging

Jumping to the defence of pharmaceutical companies over their pricing policies isn’t fashionable – and a lot of the time, it’s not going to end prettily.  But it’s perfectly coherent to think that the profit motive is one of the motors of innovation, and that it’s part of the quid pro quo for spending money on drugs that may do nothing; in fine, that the profit motive may actually be a necessary part of getting the good stuff we want.  To an economist, the phrase “normal profit” means the minimum profit necessary to keep a firm going – where average revenue equals average total cost.  But if that was all that was on offer, there’d be no incentive to enter a market in the first place: if you’re (on average) in the same place as you were before entering the market, why bother?  So it’s reasonable to think that there ought to be some level of supernormal profits.  They help ensure we get a world that’s better tomorrow than it was yesterday.

On this account, the problem is not with making a supernormal profit – oh, all right then: what in everyday English we’d simply call a profit – but with gouging and/ or profiteering.  The question that needs to be addressed is one of what level of profit, and what kind of return on investment, is reasonable.  In some sectors of the economy, it may be quite high.  For example, if I can manufacture a luxury good for which people are willing to pay through the nose, and make a stonking great profit from it… well, all hail me.

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.

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A Healthcare Consumer Gender Gap

August 16, 2016

(Managed Care Magazine) – It’s long been recognized that women interact with the health care system more than men—as patients, as caregivers, as coordinators of care for their loved ones, as the managers of medical bills. Given their regular exposure to a dysfunctional, disjointed system that dumps much of the burden of its inefficiency on patients, women take on more of the burden. And they’re angry about 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.

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Humanitarianism in the Anthropocene by Sverre Molland

The decade has been conceptually rich for anthropologists. From multi-species ethnography to the practice of care, the past several years have seen a flourish of analytical concepts and theoretical preoccupations. Two key developments among these emergent and often-interlinked topics are anthropology’s focus on international humanitarianism and the Anthropocene. To date these two important research streams have not been linked. This seems destined to change, since the questions that underlie the anthropological study of humanitarianism—fundamental questions about our moral and political stance towards human life—overlap considerably with the central preoccupations of the Anthropocene debate—which asks what future forms life and politics will take on this planet. This short reflection hopes to encourage the discussion.

In its most defuse form humanitarianism is an ethos: the insistence that all people are fundamentally alike and thus deserve a certain equity of consideration. The concept of humanity implies a certain biological sameness, but also moral equality (Fassin 2012:1-17). Thus humanitarian discourse simultaneously universalizes and essentializes. It insists that—in our biological needs, our ability to feel pain, to suffer and to hope—we are all alike. Because we are all subject to the same vagaries of time and trauma the very fact of being human merits dignity and respect. Since we are all united in our weaknesses, certain elementary levels of substance—freedom from starvation, or arbitrary dislocation or death—should be guaranteed to all humans. People should not be instrumentalized, made tools of others’ selfish pursuits. Humans have a basic duty of care to other humans, especially in times of extremity. These are moral prescriptions, but they have the character of fact; in the present day the humanitarian argument is so pervasive that it seems axiomatic.

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.

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National Consensus Statement: Essential Elements for Safe and High-quality Paediatric End-of-life Care

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care has just released National Consensus Statement: Essential Elements for Safe and High-quality Paediatric End-of-life Care.  


They are seeking consultation.  To ensure that this draft document accurately reflects the expected standard of care and agreed practices for paediatric end-of-life care, comments and feedback are now being sought through this consultation process.


The death of a child is a rarity in Australia. A child’s death can have a profound and lasting impact on their parents, siblings, carers, friends, health professionals, and communities. The health care that children with life-shortening conditions receive in the last years, months and weeks of their lives can help families to manage the distress and grief associated with death and dying, and maximize the child’s quality of life.


The purpose of this national consensus statement is to describe the elements that are essential for delivering safe and high-quality end-of-life care to children in Australia. The Consensus Statement sets out suggested practice for the provision of pediatric end-of-life care in settings where acute care is provided.  Clinicians, health service executives and managers, policy-makers, educators and training providers can use the principles and elements of the Consensus Statement as a guide to improving the safety and quality of pediatric end-of-life care.  

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.