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A bioethics pioneer within his institution, the country and worldwide, Dr. Erich Loewy changed bioethics in innumerable ways. HIs emphasis on justice in healthcare was evident in his national and international work on the role of the physician in health and health care, rationing and more. His service to the bioethics community was extensive–as a leader in SSHV, on numerous editorial boards, and serving as an editor of Theoretical Medicine.

Loewy’s life has been described as nothing short of “remarkable.” He certainly had a remarkable impact on our field. He will be missed.

To read more about Dr. Loewy, click here.…

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If we are what we eat, shouldn’t we know what we are, in fact, eating? This simple idea may be much harder to support than one would guess thanks to lobbying on the part of the food industry, says Arthur Caplan in his MSNBC column today.

As Caplan explains, an IOM report released today recommended the simplification of food labels so that consumers can with a passing glance know the nutritional value (or lack thereof) in the food we eat.

The food industry, of course, has employed an ETHICAL argument, claiming that these labeling activities on the part of government will limit our liberty (to eat unlimited amounts of fat, sugar, and salt without even knowing about it).…

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Public health experts are arguing to enlist an unlikely set of professionals in the fight against and early detection of skin cancer. Hairdressers. That’s right: your stylist just might save your life.


As NPR’s Booster Shots blog put it–who spends more time looking at the back of your head, neck and face on a monthly or bi-monthly basis than your hair stylist? Teaching beauty professionals to look for changes in one’s scalp, neck or face could be an easy way to integrate early detection into routine beauty regimens. Plus these professionals have good rapport (in most cases) with their clients making it easier to say “Hey, have you noticed this funky mole on your neck?”

These kinds of approaches to public health prevention show real outside the box thinking that is essential if we are to reduce the skyrocketing rates of deadly melanomas in this country.…

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In the October 2011 issue of AJOB, Arthur Caplan argues in his Target Article “The Use of Prisoners as Sources of Organs-An Ethically Dubious Practice” that the great demand for cadaveric organs for donation around the world does not justify harvesting them from prisoners.

To learn more about Dr. Caplan’s position, listen to his podcast from the Bioethics Channel and read his article on

Summer Johnson McGee, PhD …

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Professional soccer teams (football to the rest of the world) are using high-powered science to give them a competitive edge. The most recent venture into the world of professional sport and science involves an “unnamed Premier League club” [that] has commissioned Yale University scientists to genetically test its players and attempt to identify genetic indicators that can serve as a warning sign to whether an athlete is prone to injury.” According to Bleacher Report, scientists claim that there are more than 100 genetic factors linked to being prone to injury. Teams will use these genetic markers to determine which players on their roster are most likely to get hurt.…

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What does the postal service have to do with healthcare? Sure, the USPS delivers medical supplies to individuals and organizations. But that is not the connection that the nation’s postmaster general is making between healthcare and the viability of the postal service.

According to WaPo, curing the USPS’s ills could be as simple as giving its workers and retirees a new health plan, one that isn’t foisted upon them by the federal government. The Federal Employees Health Benefit Plan (FEHBP), he argues, is just too costly for the USPS. If they could opt out, a separate federal postal healthcare system could save the organization billions.…

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A question I had never considered. That is, until I read Nicolas Jackson’s interview with Penn bioethics professor, Jonathan Moreno.

Moreno was asked “Who are three people or organizations that you would put in a Hall of Fame for your field?” His answers, some of which he admits are a bit self-serving, include 3 institutions, each of which is a non-controversial choice: The Hastings Center, the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown, and UPenn.

As for people in Moreno’s “Bioethics Hall of Fame”, he lists his colleagues–Art Caplan, Zeke Emanuel, and Amy Gutmann.

Who would make your list for the “Bioethics Hall of Fame”?…

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The Center for Practical Bioethics is hosting a symposium and forum on the ethics of disasters on December 7 at the Kansas City Public Library-Plaza Branch. The symposium features presentations by medical professionals who were on the scene during the Hyatt Hotel disaster in Kansas City, Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, and the tornado that ripped through Joplin, Missouri in May 2011.

Continuing education credits are available for the symposium.

At 6 pm that evening, a public forum is scheduled with Anna Pou, MD, who spent nearly a week in Memorial Hospital in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005.…

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There is a day for virtually everything these days. Forget the old school Valentine’s and Sweetest Day, or even Administrative Professional’s or Grandparents’ Day. Today, October 5th is Stem Cell Awareness Day!

Who issued this proclamation? Well, a group that might be just a tiny bit interested in raising public awareness about stem cells, CIRM (the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine).

Their call to action: “Every family knows they are one phone call or one diagnosis away from needing what stem cell research can yield for us.” –Speaker Nancy Pelosi, U.S. House of Representatives

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So how does one celebrate Stem Cell Awareness Day, I wonder?…

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Denmark is taxing fatty foods to the tune of $1.29/lb, reports the LA Times Booster Shots blog. Add this on to the sin taxes Danes already pay on sugary foods and their national ban on trans fats and I would argue that Denmark is the country with the most progressive food policy in the world.

And it’s about time some country figured out that this is one of the key tools to beating the obesity epidemic.

I’ve been debating this issue with public health students since 2005 and I am so glad to finally see that someone, some country rather, has taken this point of view seriously.…

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