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Author Archive: Blog Editor


by Daphne O. Martschenko, PhD, Kevin T. Mintz, PhD, Holly K. Tabor, PhD

The American Society for Bioethics and the Humanities (ASBH) annual meeting is this week. As an educational organization “whose purpose is to promote the exchange of ideas and foster multi-disciplinary, inter-disciplinary, and inter-professional” research and communication in bioethics and the health-related humanities, one of ASBH’s strategic initiatives is to foster diversity, equity and inclusion in bioethics. However, despite the society’s rhetoric, ASBH as an organization makes its annual meeting inaccessible to non-academics, early career scholars, and individuals from marginalized backgrounds. 

The Issues

This year, the cost of registration for ASBH’s virtual annual meeting is $695 for non-members.…

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By  Govind Persad, JD, PhD

The United States, after wasting over 15 million doses since March and with a stockpile of 150 million more in freezers, reportedly ordered 200 million more vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech for delivery starting in October. These orders may be motivated by the expectation of broad access to “booster” vaccines in the United States.

The World Health Organization and many ethicists have criticized the broad provision of boosters on the basis that they exacerbate global vaccine scarcity. But other influential commentators defend using hundreds of millions of doses as domestic boosters by claiming that “the approximately 100 million doses needed to boost high-risk Americans will barely make a dent in the several billion doses needed to vaccinate the world.”…

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by Deanne Dunbar Dolan, PhD

I write today to encourage ELSI scholars to deposit their published and unpublished research tools into the Research Tools repository on ELSIhub.

Since 1990, the ELSI Research Program at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) has contributed meaningfully to the formation of a field of study focused on the ethical, legal, and social implications (ELSI) of genetics and genomics. Beyond investigator-initiated grants, NHGRI has supported training programs, Centers for Excellence in ELSI Research (CEERs), and most recently, the Center for ELSI Resources and Analysis (CERA), charged with developing “a more synergistic and integrated ELSI research community” by convening transdisciplinary projects and meetings and providing a platform for ELSI researchers to “share their research tools and products.”…

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by Wamia Siddiqui, BS and Richard R. Sharp, PhD

The following blog is an editorial found from the American Journal of Bioethics, Volume 1, Issue 10.

For decades, the Belmont Report—and the associated regulatory framework it inspired—has been a cornerstone in the ethical conduct of research involving human subjects. Despite its canonic status, there are many reasons to view the protections articulated in the Belmont Report as insufficient for managing the ethical challenges of biomedical research. For example, critics of the Belmont Report have suggested that its authors placed too much emphasis on individual choice, failed to consider research-related harms to nonparticipants, and built its regulatory framework around a model of participant interaction that does not apply in many types of biomedical research (Brothers et al. …

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By Daphne O. Martschenko, PhD,  Lucas J. Matthews, PhD, Maya Sabatello, LLB, PhD

Only a couple of decades ago, extensive genetic testing seemed like science fiction – a distant future that might only be possible with complex and inconvenient medical procedures at a doctor’s office. But much has changed. From the comfort of one’s own home, direct to consumer (DTC) genetic testing companies now offer accessible and more affordable options for genetic testing. Consumers today can access reports on genetic ancestry from well-known companies like 23andMe or Ancestry.com. Lesser known are the growing number of third-party DTC companies offering genetic tests that range from the traditional focus on medical conditions like depression, to social outcomes such as math, reading abilities, or intelligence.…

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by Vincent LaBarca, DNP, NP-C

Back in 2017, before Americans were considered a biohazard due to the country’s poor handling of COVID-19, I was bumming around Central Europe. Tracing the Danube, I was in Budapest, chowing down on bowls of goulash in between gulps of crisp pilsner.

The night before taking a train to Slovenia, my stomach started feeling some kind of way.

I evaluated my symptoms as I would any patient’s. Probably just indigestion or constipation from the goulash, I thought. But as the night grew longer, my list of differentials grew shorter.

Rather than boarding the train the next morning, I crawled into a cab with a fistful of Hungarian forints.…

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Haavi Morreim, JD, PhD 

My remembrance of Ken begins by borrowing from his obituary (https://www.mykeeper.com/profile/KennethKipnis/): 

Kenneth Kipnis, philosopher, medical ethicist, and Professor Emeritus at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, died peacefully on August 26th, 2021, in Portland, Oregon. … 

Ken forged his career as a self-described “field ethicist” in the Socratic tradition. Working with professionals across a wide variety of disciplines — especially medicine, law, and public health — he sought to apply philosophical principles to complex moral dilemmas. His life’s work was to determine what, if anything, the study of philosophy had to offer those in profound ethical distress. 

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In this series, we ask bioethicists to respond to a question that embodies current challenges for bioethics, medicine, or health care. In this blog, bioethicists were asked to share their thoughts on “Now That The Pfizer Vaccine Has Full FDA Approval, What Does This Mean For The Covid-19 Pandemic?” Here are their responses:

Vivian V. Altiery De Jesus, MD, MBE and Shika Kalevor MBE, BSN, RN

Vivian V. Altiery De Jesus

Approval of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine by the Federal Food Administration (FDA) is without doubt a milestone. But is this enough to gain public trust and hopefully eradicate COVID-19 just as the world eradicated smallpox? …

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by Ross E. McKinney, Norma Poll-Hunter and Lisa D. Howley

The following blog is an editorial found in the latest issue of American Journal of Bioethics. You can find it here: https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/uajb20/21/9?nav=tocList

Racism is a complex problem in the US that is institutionalized, personally mediated, and internalized (Jones 2000). Within medical education the recognition and response to structural racism is beginning to take shape in response to COVID-19 and recognition of the nature of anti-Black public acts. The verity of structural racism as a major cause of health-related disparities is clear, as is the need for a framework for understanding and informing medical education to address the problem.…

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By Brian M. Cummings, MD and John J. Paris, SJ, PhD

John Stuart Mill proclaimed, “Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.”  Mill’s statement appears to come in conflict with public health expert mitigation recommendations. How can we mitigate a pandemic when individual sovereigns chose not to follow these recommendations.  The United States is experiencing a fourth surge of Covid-19 infections and hospitalizations related to the delta variant.  This is despite the profound effectiveness of available vaccines in preventing serious illness, hospitalization and death related to Covid-19.   Masks are available to mitigate disease spread, yet remain controversial.  Media attention on expected ‘breakthrough’ infections provokes doubt about vaccination, endorsing hesitancy.  The…

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