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09/15/2020 AJOB Webinar

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by Mark Christopher Navin, PhD; Michael Redinger, MD, MA

Some leading COVID-19 vaccine candidates—including those being developed by Oxford University/AstraZeneca and Moderna—use fetal cell lines derived from abortions. Other candidate COVID-19 vaccines do not, for example those being developed by Sanofi Pasteur and GlaxoSmithKline. We do not know which, if any, of the candidate COVID-19 vaccines will be successful. Prominent Catholic and pro-life voices in the US and elsewhere have objected to the development of vaccines with materials derived from aborted fetuses, but few people outside of these circles seem to think the abortion issue is relevant to decisions about how to fund and develop vaccines.…

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by Anil Rustgi, MD and Rita Charon, MD PhD 

Dr. David J. Rothman, the Bernard Schoenberg Professor of Social Medicine and Director of the Division of Social Medicine and Professionalism in the Department of Medical Humanities and Ethics at Columbia University, an internationally renowned social and medical historian, died on August 30, 2020, at his home after a long cancer illness. 

Dr. Rothman received his B.A. in History from Columbia in1958 and his Ph.D. in History from Harvard in 1964. He returned to Columbia and rose to the rank of Professor of History by 1971. His early research addressed questions of American governance and social policies, including the publication of Politics and Power: The United States Senate, 1869-1901 (1966), The Discovery of the Asylum (1971), and Conscience and Convenience: The Asylum and Its Alternatives in Progressive America (1980).…

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The Working Group on Compassionate Use and Preapproval Access (CUPA), a project of the NYU Grossman School of Medicine Division of Medical Ethics

The undersigned are members of a multidisciplinary group comprising bioethicists, clinicians, patient advocates, and representatives from industry and law who for the past seven years have been studying the ethical issues surrounding access to medical products before they have received regulatory approval. We support the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an institution and are concerned that its dedicated staff are facing a historically unprecedented threat to their mission from the White House.

On August 22, 2020, the U.S.…

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by Elizabeth Mitchell Armstrong, PhD, MPA, and Joanna Kempner, PhD

Charles L. Bosk was an influential sociologist whose work on medical education, medical errors and patient safety, the medical profession, bioethics and the ethics of social science research, and social problems was foundational within the field of medical sociology and resonated within clinical medicine, health policy and bioethics.  His sociological imagination was dazzling.  His contributions span fine-grained, closely observed ethnography and richly reasoned, elegantly argued theory.  His wide-ranging influence in sociology, in medicine, and in bioethics was apparent in his appointments as a visiting professor at numerous medical schools, including Johns Hopkins University, and as a fellow at the Hastings Center for Bioethics.…

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by Sweta Dubey MBBS &  Siddhesh Zadey BSMS

For the first time in human history, over 3.9 billion people in about ninety countries around the world were contained in lockdowns as of the first week of April. The current pandemic saw the rise of lockdown as a public health intervention since it was imposed in Wuhan, China, on January 23, 2020. While researchers and decision-makers have discussed the effectiveness of the lockdown for managing novel SARS-CoV-2, little has been written on the ethics of lockdown. For two decades, individual researchers, high-level bioethics commissions, and the World Health Organization (WHO) disease outbreak guidance have discussed the ethical implementation of quarantine.…

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This piece appears as an editorial in the August 2020 issue of The American Journal of Bioethics. You can read this piece and others here.

by Judy Illes CM, PhD, FRSC, FCAHS, Patrick J McDonald MD MHSc FRCSC, Chloe Lau BSc, Viorica M. Hrincu BSc, Mary B. Connolly MD FRCP, MBBCH

Ethical issues in physician-industry and academia-industry relationships have focused largely on the financial nature of these relationships. It took very little time after solutions to transparency regarding financial conflicts were introduced, however, before the medical community was presented with a new and equally challenging situation involving the medical device industry. …

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This piece appears as an editorial in the August 2020 issue of The American Journal of Bioethics. You can read this piece and others here.

by Jodi Halpern MD PhD & David Paolo

In his lead article, Cwik derives categories for the upstream mapping of germline genome editing (GGE). Some peer commentators refine specific aspects of his analysis or recommend additional dimensions. Our concern, instead, is on the suitability of his methods and the resulting categories for setting an ethical agenda for GGE. We join several peer commentators (de Melo-Martín 2020Evans 2020Weber et al. 2020Wrigley and Newton 2020).…

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 by Nolan M. Kavanagh, M.P.H., Rishi R. Goel, M.Sc.

The COVID-19 pandemic has sidelined many medical students from the “frontlines.” Our classes are now online, clinical responsibilities were delayed, and testing schedules for board examinations have been thrown into uncertainty. Many institutions have prohibited students at various levels from any clinical contact, even in a volunteer capacity. Although these measures protect students and patients, the pandemic has made us feel helpless. We see a world on fire and feel the urge to save it. This same instinct brought many of us into medicine.

In response, many students have rolled up their sleeves and gotten to work in their communities.…

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by Andrew Helmers, MDCM, MHSc (Bioethics), MSc, FRCPC

The Journal of Vascular Surgery (and Irony) published a rather odd piece that set Twitter ablaze even amidst the wildfire that is COVID-19. The seemingly innocuous piece was entitled “Prevalence of unprofessional social media content among young vascular surgeons”; it was first published online in advance (December 2019), and was then formally published in the August edition of the journal in question, accompanied by a laudatory commentary piece. It was quickly retracted after the resultant public outcry, but its thankfully brief existence still warrants some reflection here as a cautionary tale vis-à-vis research ethics oversight and medical professionalism.…

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