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Harvard Grad Students: Apply Now! Petrie-Flom Center Student Fellowship, 2017 – 2018

The Center and Student Fellowship The Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics is an interdisciplinary research program at Harvard Law School dedicated to the scholarly research of important issues at the intersection of law and health policy, … Continue reading

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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Confronting Medicine in the Holocaust & Beyond

By Hedy S. Wald

Galilee, Israel, May 7-11, 2017. I was privileged to be at the Second International Scholars Workshop on “Medicine in the Holocaust and Beyond.” Why so meaningful?  Why so needed? 140 purposeful, passionate scholars from 17 countries delved into the past history of medicine at its worst in order to inform the future.  From 1933-1945, presumed healers within mainstream medicine (sworn to uphold the Hippocratic Oath) turned into killers (1).  Yes, medical ethics in Nazi-era medical school curricula existed, yet included “unequal worth of human beings, authoritative role of the physician, and priority of public health over individual-patient care”(2).  In Western Galilee College, (Akko), Bar-Ilan University Faculty of Health Sciences (Safed), and Galilee Medical Center and Ghetto Fighters’ Museum, (both in Nahariya), historians, physicians, nurses, medical and university educators, medical students, ethicists and more gathered to grapple with this history and consider how learning about medicine in the Holocaust can support healthy professional identity formation with a moral compass for navigating the future of medical practice with issues such as prejudice, assisted reproduction and suicide, resource allocation, obtaining valid informed consent, and challenges of genomics and technology expansion (3)…

The conference, in essence, served as a lens for the here and now, reinforcing my contention (and others’) that history of medicine in the Holocaust curricula including confronting the Nazi physicians’ and scientific establishment’s euthanasia of “lives unworthy of life,” forced sterilizations, horrific experimentation on their victims, and medicalized genocide (leading to the destruction of a third of the European Jewish population and many others) is a “moral imperative” in healthcare professions education (1,4).

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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Living with Moral Disagreement: Activism, Advocacy, and Interaction

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This May, the Center for Ethics Education at Fordham University oversaw it seventh successful installment of installment of Theories and Applications in Contemporary Ethics. The theme of this year’s intensive ethics workshop was Living with Moral Disagreement: Activism, Advocacy, and Interaction. In this course, students from Fordham University and around the world engaged with faculty members from six disciplines on how to live in a world with a vast and deep moral disagreement

The Center brought together Michael Baur, PhD on Law, Melissa Labonte, PhD on Political Science, Charlie Camosy, PhD on Theology, Orit Avashai, PhD on Sociology, Gwenyth Jackaway, PhD on Communication and, the Center’s new Director of Academic Programs, Bryan Pilkington, PhD on Philosophy. From each of these distinct perspectives, the faculty engaged with students on topics about which we deeply disagree, including rights to healthcare, religious and legal exemptions around the concept of death and female genital mutilation or cutting. The conversation was lively, practical and steeped in the deep theoretical commitments.

The Center was pleased to have Lerato Molefe as a participant in this workshop, thanks to the Fordham/Santander Universities International Scholarship in Ethics Education. Lerato Molefe visited Fordham from Johannesburg, South Africa where she is the founding and managing director of Naaya Consulting, a legal and strategy consulting firm for large and high growth organizations spanning a range of industries across the African continent. She has degrees from Harvard Law School, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and Smith College.


How to Apply for the International Santander Universities International Student Scholarships

For information on how to apply to the 2018 Workshop or Fordham University’s Master’s in Ethics and Society program, please visit our Santander Universities scholarship page.

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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Living with Moral Disagreement: Activism, Advocacy, and Interaction

Image via

This May, the Center for Ethics Education at Fordham University oversaw it seventh successful installment of installment of Theories and Applications in Contemporary Ethics. The theme of this year’s intensive ethics workshop was Living with Moral Disagreement: Activism, Advocacy, and Interaction. In this course, students from Fordham University and around the world engaged with faculty members from six disciplines on how to live in a world with a vast and deep moral disagreement

The Center brought together Michael Baur, PhD on Law, Melissa Labonte, PhD on Political Science, Charlie Camosy, PhD on Theology, Orit Avashai, PhD on Sociology, Gwenyth Jackaway, PhD on Communication and, the Center’s new Director of Academic Programs, Bryan Pilkington, PhD on Philosophy. From each of these distinct perspectives, the faculty engaged with students on topics about which we deeply disagree, including rights to healthcare, religious and legal exemptions around the concept of death and female genital mutilation or cutting. The conversation was lively, practical and steeped in the deep theoretical commitments.

The Center was pleased to have Lerato Molefe as a participant in this workshop, thanks to the Fordham/Santander Universities International Scholarship in Ethics Education. Lerato Molefe visited Fordham from Johannesburg, South Africa where she is the founding and managing director of Naaya Consulting, a legal and strategy consulting firm for large and high growth organizations spanning a range of industries across the African continent. She has degrees from Harvard Law School, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and Smith College.


How to Apply for the International Santander Universities International Student Scholarships

For information on how to apply to the 2018 Workshop or Fordham University’s Master’s in Ethics and Society program, please visit our Santander Universities scholarship page.

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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Cool Videos: A Biological Fireworks Display

Let’s kick off the Fourth of July weekend with some biological fireworks! While we’ve added a few pyrotechnic sound effects just for fun, what you see in this video is the product of some serious research. Using a specialized microscope equipped with a time-lapse camera to image fluorescence-tagged proteins in real-time, an NIH-funded team has captured a critical step in the process of cell division, or mitosis: how filaments called microtubules (red) form new branches (green) and fan out to form mitotic spindles.

In this particular experimental system, the team led by Sabine Petry at Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, studies the dynamics of microtubules in a cell-free extract of cytoplasm taken from the egg of an African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis). Petry’s ultimate goal is to learn how to build mitotic spindles, molecule by molecule, in the lab. Such an achievement would mark a major step forward in understanding the complicated mechanics of cell division, which, when disrupted, can cause cancer and many other health problems.

A recipient of an NIH Director’s 2016 New Innovator Award, Petry has previously shown that at the start of cell division a small protein called Ran, which gets activated around the chromosomes, stimulates microtubule branching [1]. The activation of Ran, like clicking on a master switch, frees up hundreds of other proteins to self-assemble and form into the complex molecular machinery required for cell division. Petry found that one of these “freed-up” proteins, called TPX2, appears to team with certain protein complexes and potentially other still-unknown proteins, to stimulate the microtubule branching shown in this video.

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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The Moral Question That Stanford Asks Its Bioengineering Students

June 28, 2017

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When students in Stanford University’s Introduction to Bioengineering course sit for their final exams, the first question that they have to answer is about our ability to write DNA.

Scientists have fully sequenced the genomes of humans, trees, octopuses, bacteria, and thousands of other species. But it may soon become possible to not just readlarge genomes but also to write them—synthesizing them from scratch. “Imagine a music synthesizer with only four keys,” said Stanford professor Drew Endy to the audience at the Aspen Ideas Festival, which is co-hosted by the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic. Each represents one of the four building blocks of DNA—A, C, G, and T. Press the keys in sequence and you can print out whatever stretch of DNA you like.

In 2010, one group did this for a bacterium with an exceptionally tiny genome, crafting all million or so letters of its DNA and implanting it into a hollow cell. Another team is part-way through writing the more complex genome of baker’s yeast, with 12 million letters. The human genome is 300 times bigger, and as I reported last month, others are trying to build the technology that will allow them to create genomes of this size.

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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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GBI Summer School on Global Bioethics, Human Rights and Public Policy

GBI Summer School on Global Bioethics, Human Rights and Public Policy –  Our First Educational Field Trips

by Anaeke Paschal Chinonye

I am a Ph.D. in Philosophy, at the University of Lagos, Nigeria. I am the winner of a partial scholarship which gave me the possibility to attend this unique and very interesting program hosted by GBI.

Friday, June, 23, was a day for field trips. First to the United Nations Headquarters and then to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre. Initially, I thought field trips would be mere social outings and sightseeing with opportunities to take a lot of pictures. The trips proved far more than that; it was rather educational trips loaded with significance. As I got to the main entrance, some basic facts about the UN which I learnt during my Master of International Law and Diplomacy class in the University of Lagos, Nigeria began to flash in my mind. Chiefly, a commitment to international peace and security.

One of my colleagues called me across the road to take pictures, immediately I crossed the road, my eyes went straight to an inscription from the Prophet Isaiah: They shall beat their swords into plough-shares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall no longer lift up sword against nation. Neither shall they learn war anymore. At this point, though the world is still ravaged by wars, terrorism, and insecurity, I felt the UN has a divine mandate which thus must be commended and supported.

Now, after the security check, as I walked into the compound, still lost in wondering contemplation of the critical need for global peace and security, I spotted the statue of a gun with a tied barrel…signaling no more wars.

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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As Johns Hopkins Summer Jobs Program Kicks Off, A Special Celebration of Opportunity

June 22, 2017

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In offices across Johns Hopkins campuses Monday, 400 Baltimore City students met the professionals who will guide and mentor them during their eight-week, paid summer internships offered through the Summer Jobs Program, a Hopkins tradition now in its 23rd year.

For the students who attended a reception on the East Baltimore campus, the program began with an opportunity to meet and network with the leaders of the company who helped make their internships possible.

Westnet, a medical and laboratory equipment supplier, sponsored the placement of eight students in STEM internships across Johns Hopkins through an $18,000 donation to the Summer Jobs Program. The company, based in Massachusetts, moved its operations to Baltimore four years ago to strengthen its relationship with Johns Hopkins by participating in the HopkinsLocal initiative, which aims to provide economic support to Baltimore by partnering with city-based businesses to build, hire, and purchase locally.

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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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Global Bioethics Initiative (GBI) launches its third edition Summer School Program

Global Bioethics Initiative (GBI) launches its third edition Summer School Program

New York, New York June 19, 2017, GBI starts its summer school program sponsored by Pace University, College of Health Professions and New York Medical College. Lead by experts in the field of Bioethics, students and professionals will witness Bioethics in various forms such as film screenings, field trips, and lectures/seminars, ending with a completion ceremony. Topics addressed in the program are: embryonic stem cell research, cloning, gene therapy, end-of-life care, genetics, reproductive technologies, human subject research, organ transplantation and access to health care.

“I am absolutely confident you leave this program enriched,”said Dr. Bruce Gelb, President of GBI. “You will find that what you learn over the coming days, will impact how you interact and engage with the world in many aspects of life.”

“There is a lack of opportunities for undergraduate, graduate students and professionals to learn about practical bioethics and GBI summer school helps to fill this void,” said​ Ana Lita, Co-Founder and Executive Director of GBI.

GBI is a not-for-profit international educational organization founded in 2011, by Dr. Ana Lita. GBI keeps the international community, policy decision-makers, the media, and the public versed in bioethical concepts. GBI provides this level of knowledge through an annual summer school program, human rights advocacy, and public policy reviews. GBI is associated with the United Nations Department of Information (UNDPI) with special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

Attendees are encouraged to join Dr. Harriet R. Feldman, Dr. Charles Debrovner, and Dr. Ana Lita for the program’s introductory cocktail reception on June 20th, from 6-9PM at Pace University’s Aniello Bianco Room, 1 Pace Plaza, New York, New York,  featuring the singer, Sarah Hayes and​ her Trio​.

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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Case-Based Study Guide for Addressing Patient-Centered Ethical Issues in Health Care

The American Society for Bioethics and Humanities (ASBH) announces the publication of A Case-Based Study Guide for Addressing Patient-Centered Ethical Issues in Health Care.


Authored by the ASBH Clinical Ethics Consultation Affairs Committee, this 160-page study guide provides an unfolding approach to 12 cases—9 involving adult patients, 3 involving minors—on various topics in clinical ethics. The presentation of these complex cases mimics the way that they evolve incrementally in the clinical setting: Patient and family narratives are interwoven with skills-based, reflective study questions that encourage critical thinking on the part of ethics consultants, ethics committee members, students, and other healthcare professionals.


All healthcare professionals and students seeking to build their competencies, from the basic skills used to address common ethical issues to advanced consultative skills that can be used to address complex ethical concerns, will find this resource useful. 


Included are tips related to communication and decision making in medicine, including strategies for guiding fruitful patient interviews, elucidating patients’ or surrogates’ concerns or perspectives, and conducting family meetings. 

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.