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Bioethics Commission to Offer Presentations at ASBH This Week

The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (Bioethics Commission) is pleased to offer multiple presentations at the American Society for Bioethics and the Humanities (ASBH) Annual Meeting, scheduled for October 16-19 in San Diego, Calif. Over the course of the four day conference Bioethics Commission staff will highlight a number of bioethical issues, including bioethics literacy, incidental findings, and the integration of ethics into neuroscience research.

Executive Director Lisa M. Lee, along with Mildred Solomon, President and CEO of the Hastings Center, will present “Bioethics Literacy across the Lifespan” on October 17 at 10:45 a.m. According to Lee, the talk will focus on more than just ethics education. “Just like bioethics is multidisciplinary, bioethics education is also multidisciplinary. It is not just about a bioethicist teaching a scientist,” said Lee. “Everyone, from organizational leaders to primary school teachers, has a role in ethics education.” The talk comes on the heels of the recent release of the Sept.-Oct. issue of The Hastings Report. The issue, themed “Teaching Bioethics,” is co-sponsored by the Commission and highlights a collection of papers on bioethics education, the Commission’s newly announced project.

On October 16 at 4 p.m., Bioethics Commission Associate Director Michelle Groman, along with representatives of the New York State Task Force on Life and the Law, will lead the panel “Take it or Leave it: the Role of Bioethics Advisory Bodies in Effecting Policy Change.” The panel will use several case studies in order to examine how the features and structure of a bioethics commission, along with the political and social climate, can impact a commission’s influence on changes to policy and law. Jason Schwartz, a former Commission staff member and current research associate and lecturer in bioethics at the Princeton University Center for Human Values, will moderate.

In addition to Lee’s presentation, October 17 will feature a second presentation by Bioethics Commission staff. At 8 a.m., Research Analyst Nicolle K. Strand will present her paper “The Cost of Misinformation: Consumer Remedies for Misleading Genetic Test Results,” examining the potential legal solutions for consumers to respond to misleading genetic test results, and considering questions of compensation.

On October 18 at 11 a.m., Bioethics Commission Associate Director Kayte Spector-Bagdady, Senior Policy and Research Analyst Karen Meagher, and Executive Director Lisa M. Lee will lead the panel “Applying the Ethical Management of Incidental and Secondary Findings in Context,” moderated by Research Analyst Nicolle Strand. The panel will build on the Commission’s recommendations on the management of incidental and secondary findings, discussing staff work from philosophical, public health, and legal perspectives.

Finally, on October 19 at 8 a.m., Michelle Groman, Bioethics Commission Associate Director; Debra Matthews, former Bioethics Commission staff member and current Assistant Director for Science Programs at the Berman Institute of Bioethics; and William Casebeer, formerly of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), will lead the panel “Integrating Ethics and Neuroscience Research: Recommendations from the Presidential Bioethics Commission and Integration in Practice.” The panel will focus on the Commission’s recommendations for ethics integration throughout neuroscience research, as presented in its most recent report Gray Matters: Integrative Approaches for Neuroscience, Ethics, and Society. DARPA’s efforts to integrate ethics into neuroscience research, as well as the integration of ethics and science through all levels of education will be discussed.

With a busy schedule, the Bioethics Commission looks forward to an educational and informative meeting. Be sure to stop by our booth in the exhibit hall. See you at ASBH!

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