Hot Topics: Education
Education and COVID-19 An Ethical Opening for Higher Ed Institutions “The job of IRBs is to approve research involving human subjects. The ethicists, scientists and community members who staff the IRBs do risk-benefit analyses before they allow a proposed experiment to go forward. Unlike hospitals — nearly all of which have ethics committees — colleges typically […]Full Article
This essay is part of a 2-part series on the burdens placed on black faculty in academic bioethics. The second part, by Keisha Ray, Ph.D.…Full Article
by Asma Fazal, M.B.B.S, MRCPI, MHSc
To care for children in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) is not easy because in addition to having an emotionally charged environment with high morbidity and mortality, it has a patient population who is not autonomous.…Full Article
Healthcare and Public Health Johns Hopkins University & Medicine: The Unequal Cost of Social Distancing“Right now, we must recognize that we cannot expect the most marginalized among us to bear the greatest costs of social distancing for weeks or months on end. If we devise policy based on the assumption that families who cannot put […]Full Article
by Amal Cheema
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“When pestilence prevails, it is [a physician’s] duty to face the danger, and to continue their labors for the alleviation of suffering, even at the jeopardy of their own lives.”
by Stephen P. Wood, MS, ACNP-BC
I haven’t had this question from a patient yet, but I know it’s coming. The information disseminated by us, to us and for us is a bit conflicting when it comes to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel virus SARS-CoV-2.…Full Article
This post is presented in conjunction with the March 2020 issue of the American Journal of Bioethics. You can read the full article and commentaries here.…Full Article
Recently, the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) announced that the USMLE Step 1 exam for medical students will change its score reporting from a numeric score to pass/fail as of 2022.…Full Article
Last month, PBS aired the remarkable documentary College Behind Bars. This four-part film follows men and women incarcerated in New York state as they make their way through a rigorous liberal arts degree program offered by Bard College. The Bard Prison Initiative is one of several programs offering college classes within the U.S. correctional system – a system which carries the dubious distinction of holding nearly twenty-five percent of the world’s prisoners. (The U.S. comprises 5% of the world’s population).
I have taught courses in several prison higher education programs, including a course on bioethics. People have often asked me, “what is like to teach ethics to prisoners?” While I understand their curiosity, I dislike this question. Teaching in prison does differ from teaching on campus in a number of important ways – most saliently, through restrictions on classroom technologies. But the question implies that there is something special or different about teaching morally-laden subject matter to students who have been convicted of serious and sometimes violent crimes. People are not inquiring about the impact of the prison environment on teaching and learning bioethics, but rather about people in prison as moral beings. The question suggests that prisoners are somehow morally different than those of us on the outside.
In fact, people in prison are us. One in two Americans have a family member who has spent time in jail or prison. Those of us who have not are likely white and/or financially well-off, as mass incarceration has disproportionately targeted low income communities and people of color. As Evelyn Patterson notes, people in prison “represent a small proportion of those who commit delinquent acts. Prisoners are people are the people who were caught, indicted, and punished via incarceration.” (Think of the example of sexual violence, a crime experienced by more than 1 in 3 women and nearly 1 in 4 men in the United States. The vast majority of perpetrators do not even enter the criminal justice system, much less serve time).
That said, I did find that teaching bioethics in prison differed from teaching bioethics on campus, and not just because I couldn’t stream video clips or email my students. Incarcerated students are immersed within the ethically fraught ‘total institution’ of the prison, a space anthropologist Lorna Rhodes described as “designed to activate a sense of threat to the coherence of the self” (2004, 56). Students were living and witnessing the moral failures of mass incarceration on a daily basis. When they sought medical assistance, they faced the bioethical challenges of delivering and receiving care in a context of punishment. These challenges occur at all levels of the health care system, from the micro-level of clinician/patient trust to institutional and society-level questions about access to and deservingness of treatment. In future posts, I’ll be addressing some of these ethical challenges more specifically, as well as exploring social and historical issues related to health and mass incarceration.
In the meantime, PBS will be streaming Prison Behind Bars for free through late January.
Neuroethics at 15: Keep the Kant but Add More Bacon
Select Interviews From the INS Annual Meeting—Keith Humphreys, Tom Insel, Uma Karmarkar, Carl Marci, Ariel Cascio, Winston Chiong, Frederic Gilbert, Cynthia Kubu, and Jonathan Pugh
Moral distress in medical student reflective writing
Moving beyond the theoretical: Medical students’ desire for practical, role-specific ethics training
Were the “Pioneer” Clinical Ethics Consultants “Outsiders”? For Them, Was “Critical Distance” That Critical?
An empirical assessment of the short-term impacts of a reading of Deborah Zoe Laufer's drama Informed Consent on attitudes and intentions to participate in genetic research
Undisclosed conflicts of interest among biomedical textbook authors
“Dermatology, the medical specialty devoted to treating diseases of the skin, has a problem with brown and black skin. Though progress has been made in recent years, most textbooks that serve as road maps for diagnosing skin disorders often don’t include images of skin conditions as they appear on people of color.” – Roni Rabin
Medical disparities exist on the level of doctor-patient interact as well as education of the future generation of doctors. Lack of representation of people of color in skin outcomes presents persistent issues in treatment and healthcare.Full Article
While the blatant horrors of the past are gone, the ideas that fueled race-based medicine stubbornly linger. We can change.Full Article
Younger children in particular are ill-served by remote learning, according to a report issued by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine.Full Article
International students completing their medical and doctoral degrees in theUnited States are wrestling with frustration and uncertainty following the release of federal rules this week that could bar them from staying in the country.Full Article
In rural Carter County, Tenn., health officials have embraced a strategy for stemming addiction: Teaching children as young as 6 how to reverse an overdose.Full Article
Ten years ago, Jennifer Wyms was a 17-year-old junior at Normandy High School in Wellston, Mo. She was the captain of her school’s hip-hop dance team and enjoyed going to the mall with friends. But when a health scare engulfed her St. Louis community, it cast a shadow on her high school experience.
A letter from school officials sent to parents and guardians in October 2008 relayed the news that epidemiologists with the St. Louis County Department of Health had grounds to believe that HIV may have been transmitted among some students — as many as 50 students at Normandy High School could have been exposed, it said.
“Everybody wanted to know, who had it? Where it came from? Why our school?” Wyms told The Washington Post.Full Article
But as ubiquitous as the phenomenon is, and as plentiful the studies that demonstrate it, the placebo effect has yet to become part of the doctor’s standard armamentarium — and not only because it has a reputation as “fake medicine” doled out by the unscrupulous to the credulous. It also has, so far, resisted a full understanding, its mechanisms shrouded in mystery. Without a clear knowledge of how it works, doctors can’t know when to deploy it, or how.Full Article
In a landmark move bound to further shake the tobacco industry, the Food and Drug Administration plans to propose a ban on menthol cigarettes next week as part of its aggressive campaign against flavored e-cigarettes and some tobacco products, agency officials said.Full Article
It’s never a good time for another bout of genetic determinism, but it’s hard to imagine a worse one than this. Social inequality gapes, exacerbated by climate change, driving hostility towards immigrants and flares of militant racism. At such a juncture, yet another expression of the discredited, simplistic idea that genes alone control human nature seems particularly insidious. And yet, here we are again with Blueprint, by educational psychologist Robert Plomin.Full Article