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12/01/2015

Catching up with the Commission: Fall Conference Season Wrap-up

The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (Bioethics Commission) recently ended a very busy fall conference season. Bioethics Commission staff members presented at major bioethics, public health, and specialty conferences across the country in order to promote the work of the Commission.

Former Bioethics Commission staff member Misti Ault Anderson kicked-off conference season at the International Conference on Science in Society, held October 1-2, 2015 in Chicago, Ill. Anderson gave a plenary address on the integration of ethics into science education to an audience of science scholars and professionals from across the world. The following week, Anderson traveled to Greenville, S.C. where she presented “Global Public Health Planning and Response Case Studies as a Teaching Tool,” highlighting the Commission’s new Ebola educational materials at the 17th International Conference on Ethics Across the Curriculum.

On October 16, the Bioethics Commission was back in Chicago for the International Neuroethics Society’s annual meeting. At this meeting, Commission member Dr. Daniel Sulmasy moderated the panel “Implementing Gray Matters: Perspectives on Bioethics Commission Recommendations.” Dr. Sulmasy was joined by William Casebeer of Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Laboratories, Debra Mathews of Johns Hopkins University, and Hannah Maslen of the University of Oxford for a discussion about the Commission’s report on neuroscience and the implementation of recommendations.

October 22-25, Bioethics Commission staff headed to Houston, Texas for the American Society for Bioethics + Humanities’ (ASBH) 17th Annual Meeting. The Commission’s Ethics and Ebola report was highlighted in the presentation “Ethics and Ebola: Bioethical Approaches to Global Public Health Emergencies.” The Commission’s work on neuroscience was featured in several presentations, including the panel “Considerations of Topics at the Intersection of Neuroscience, Ethics, and Society” as well as the paper “Neuroscience and Public Policy: A Responsible Path Forward.” In addition, Commission staff and Mark Hakkarinen of Georgetown University’s Kennedy Institute of Ethics discussed the communication techniques employed by the Commission in order to disseminate its work in the presentation “Public Bioethics in the New Millennium: Creatively Communicating the Work of the Presidential Bioethics Commission.” The Commission also had an informational booth with hardcopies of its reports available in the ASBH exhibition space.

Quickly following ASBH, the Bioethics Commission was at the 64th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Tropical Medicine & Hygiene in Philadelphia, Pa. On October 27, Associate Director Kata Chillag moderated the conference’s scientific session on Ebola, where she also presented “Ethics and Ebola: Recommendations of the U.S. Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues.”

The Bioethics Commission ended October at the 2015 American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting, held October 31-November 4 in Chicago. Three staff members gave presentations during the roundtable on the ethical conduct of public health practice and research in challenging situations: Kata Chillag presented “Moral Distress among Public Health Professionals: Lessons from the West African Ebola Virus Disease Epidemic for Future Public Health Emergencies”; Karen Meagher presented “Feeling torn, tough choices, and troubled thoughts: The concept of moral distress”; and Executive Director Lisa M. Lee, who also moderated the roundtable, presented “Ethics and Ebola: Recommendations from the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues”. Copies of Commission reports Ethics and Ebola and “Ethically Impossible” were also distributed.

Finally, the Bioethics Commission closed out conference season at the Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research (PRIM&R) 2015 Advancing Ethical Research (AER) Conference, held November 12-15 in Boston, Mass. On November 13, Commission Member Dr. Christine Grady and Commission staff Elizabeth Fenton and Kata Chillag presented “Clinical Research During the Ebola Epidemic: Recommendations from the Bioethics Commission,” highlighting the Commission’s research-related recommendations in its Ethics and Ebola report. The following day, Commission staff Elizabeth Fenton and Nicole Strand presented “A Dialogue with the Bioethics Commission,” providing insight into how a Presidential commission functions.

The Bioethics Commission has had a busy and successful fall season sharing its work with a variety of important stakeholders. Thanks to all who attended! The Commission is already looking forward to an equally successful 2016.

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