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Author Archive: Blog Editor


Ethical Guidelines for DNA testing in Migrant Family Reunification

This blog post will appear in a future issue of the American Journal of Bioethics

by Nita Farahany, JD, PhD; Saheel Chodavadia; and Sara H. Katsanis, MS

In the summer of 2018, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers removed over 2,600 migrant children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border (Gonzalez, Republic, & Gomez 2018). The rationale behind the separations ranged from the criminal prosecution of illegally entering adults accompanying the children to uncertainty over the true relationships between the adults and children. By July, the U.S. government announced its intent to use genetic testing as a way to ascertain the alleged biological relationships between the children and accompanying adults (Buncombe 2018).…

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This entry was posted in Editorial-AJOB, Featured Posts, Genetics, Justice, Pediatrics, Politics, Privacy. Posted by Blog Editor. Bookmark the permalink.


Open Letter to Trump, Whitaker and Nielsen: Give safe passage to legal asylum seekers

“A group of ethicists, public health and health policy experts, healthcare providers, and lawyers has composed an open letter to President Donald J. Trump, acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen that calls for immediately halting the unethical treatment of asylum seekers on the southern border of the United States.
“If you are interested in reading and signing this open letter, please follow this link – Open Letter Regarding Asylum Seekers Ethical Treatment


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Artist’s Note

Original art and artist’s blurbs are presented in collaboration with the students of the University of Illinois Chicago program in Biomedical Visualization. 

by Edith March

This illustration represents the article: “Health Research Priority Setting: The Duties of the Individual Funder”. The wealthy businessman symbolizes the top 1% of the population who are wealthy enough to fund research. The scientists underneath symbolize the researchers who have no choice but to follow research opportunities that are funded. Meanwhile, the general public underneath is unaware of this funder and researcher dynamic. Since funding for research is scarce, researches are often forced to study topics that benefit the funder rather than the general population.…

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This entry was posted in Featured Posts, Institutions, Centers, Funding, Media, Uncategorized and tagged . Posted by Blog Editor. Bookmark the permalink.


Aligning Research Priorities to Improve Equity: A Challenge for Health Funders

This post can also be found as the November 2018 editorial in the American Journal of Bioethics

by Alonzo L. Plough, MD, MPH

In their paper, “Health Research Priority setting: The Duties of Individual Funders,” Pierson and Millum raise an important set of ethical questions of great relevance to grant making organizations. What values and implicit prioritizations guide which research topics we chose to fund? How do we balance our duty to our organization and its goals and mission with the need for knowledge generated from research to address broader societal issues and concerns? What are the obligations of funders of research to consider who benefits from the new knowledge?…

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ASBH Lifetime Achievement Award-Jonathan Moreno

The following post is the speech that Jonathan Moreno is giving upon acceptance of his award. This text is being released simultaneously with his speech in Anaheim. 

Today I want to spend a few minutes talking about the importance of current geopolitical events for the future of what I will call modern bioethics, a field that became self-conscious in the late 1960s.  But its roots can be found 25 years earlier, in a variety of institutions and mechanisms created following World War II, which political scientists sometimes call the international liberal order.

The deep relationship between modern bioethics and the liberal order, the global system of the rule of law and the organizations created to implement the rule of law since World War II, is not widely appreciated.…

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This entry was posted in Featured Posts, Global Ethics, Politics. Posted by Blog Editor. Bookmark the permalink.


Sunset on the RAC: When is it time to end special oversight of an emerging biotechnology?

by Jeffrey P. Kahn, Ph.D., M.P.H. and Anna C. Mastroianni, J.D., M.P.H.

National Institutes of Health Director (NIH) Francis S. Collins and Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb recently co-authoreda New England Journal of Medicinecommentary suggesting that special oversight of gene transfer research in humans was no longer necessary. Their views followed on the 2014 recommendations of an Institute of Medicine (IOM) consensus committee, and are reflected in proposed policy changes recently made available for public comment. If implemented, those changes would mark a significant departure from the over 40 years of special national safety and ethics oversight of so-called gene therapy research through the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RAC).…

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Crowdsourcing: A New Resource for Advanced Training in Bioethics

by Lindsay Zausmer Feuerman, BA and Amy McGuire JD, Ph.D.1

An increasing number of universities offer undergraduate courses and even majors in the fields of bioethics and medical humanities. Yet, for students wanting to pursue advanced degrees in these fields, it is often difficult to know which educational program is best for them. In the absence of an accrediting agency for the field, it can be challenging to track and directly compare the various degree-granting programs. The Association of Bioethics Program Directors (ABPD) believes it is uniquely positioned to help address this.

ABPD represents the leadership of over 70 academic bioethics programs across North America.…

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This entry was posted in Clinical Ethics, Education, Featured Posts. Posted by Blog Editor. Bookmark the permalink.


We Convey More Than We (Literally) Say

by Jason N. Batten, Bonnie O. Wong, William F. Hanks & David Magnus

This issue of the American Journal of Bioethics features a target article by Blumenthal-Barby and Ubel that focuses on patients who are unrealistically optimistic, in denial, or self-deceived. In his excellent commentary, Weinfurt points us toward a particular branch of communication theory—pragmatics—as a fruitful way of evaluating statements made by these patients. He and several other bioethicists have contributed to a small but growing literature applying pragmatics to physician–patient communication, research ethics, and our interpretation of empirical bioethics studies. We believe that pragmatics has the potential to transform how we hear and understand day-to-day communication with patients and their families.…

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This entry was posted in Clinical Ethics, Decision making, Editorial-AJOB, Featured Posts and tagged . Posted by Blog Editor. Bookmark the permalink.


Silence versus Bearing Witness: Response to Alan Stone

by Bandy X. Lee, MD, MDiv

Earlier this year, I was delighted to discover that Dr. Alan Stone had written a review of the book I edited: The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President, for the blog Lawfare. Most outside of psychiatry will not have heard of Dr. Stone, but he is a well-respected figure among psychiatrists who practice at the intersections of law and ethics, such as myself.  I was delighted not because I was anticipating a positive review, but because I hoped that a rigorous discussion without misrepresentation would break open the myopia of my field.…

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This entry was posted in Featured Posts, Politics, professional ethics, Psychiatric Ethics. Posted by Blog Editor. Bookmark the permalink.


On Gender and Reproductive Decision-Making in Uterine Transplantation

This post is shared from the July 2018 issue of the American Journal of Bioethics

by Hilary Mabel, Ruth M. Farrell & Andreas G. Tzakis

In this issue of the American Journal of Bioethics, Bruno and Arora’s Target Article and the Open Peer Commentaries thereto contribute to the ongoing discourse regarding ethical issues in uterine transplantation. We welcome these insights, many of which sit in dialogue with existing work and others of which represent new considerations in uterine transplantation. We are co-investigators on the uterine transplantation research protocol at Cleveland Clinic. Our protocol uses a deceased donor model, and two of us (HM and RF) contribute to the protocol solely in an ethics capacity.…

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This entry was posted in Editorial-AJOB, Featured Posts, Reproductive Ethics and tagged . Posted by Blog Editor. Bookmark the permalink.