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Author Archive: Blog Editor


Alyson Isaksson Capp, PhD

The dreaded pink line

bleeding across the test strip

next to the navy 

“Like a pregnancy test—two lines means positive” said the woman in royal blue scrubs,    

unphased that we all had tested positive.

In awe that after almost two years

the thing I had most avoided

had happened,

I left my body.

As I looked down at myself

seeing Her, my body

defending HerSelf,

Her tiny T cells

recognizing the protein spikes, 

remembering them by heart,

dismantling them—

Later watching as She shouldered the headaches,

 parched throat,

fog, and fatigue,

as She brought baby to antibody rich bosom

while preparing nourishment and fluids for all,

ensuring everyone eats—

In all these undertakings I watched Her in awe

grateful for these blessings from the Goddess Divine.

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Arisa Marshall

Most students of color know what it feels like to be the only non-white person in a classroom; the isolating responsibility of being the only person of color in these types of settings is too familiar to many of us. At this year’s American Society for Bioethics and Humanities (ASBH) annual conference, a similar feeling of unease and responsibility set in with me. ASBH holds an annual conference in order to connect individuals across disciplines for the purpose of providing a platform for knowledge sharing in the fields of clinical and academic bioethics, as well as medical and health humanities.…

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This editorial appears in the Jan 2022 issue of the American Journal of Bioethics.

Elizabeth P. Clayborne and Marcella Nunez-Smith

As physicians, the supreme importance of health and its integral role in any individual’s pursuit of life, liberty and happiness is exhibited on a daily basis. It is abundantly clear that without health one cannot focus on any other facet of life and therefore health serves as the foundation on which wellness is grounded. It has also become clear that social determinants of health have a significant influence on health status and remain paradoxically the most malleable and yet the most challenging paradigm through which we can improve the lives of human beings.…

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This editorial appears in the Jan 2022 issue of the American Journal of Bioethics.

Joel E. Pacyna and Richard R. Sharp

Empirical bioethics research has become an established field of study, with its own unique goals, vocabulary, and methods (Camporesi and Cavaliere 2021; Lee and McCarty 2016; Sugarman 2010), and with many universities and academic health centers hosting bioethics programs that support a variety of educational and translational research activities. Appropriately, the success of these programs has prompted closer scrutiny of their impact and relevance to the aims of medicine. In this issue of the journal, for example, Fabi and Goldberg challenge bioethicists to consider whether sources of funding for bioethics scholarship are helping to mitigate health inequities or contributing to those very inequities by redirecting the field toward other ethical concerns (Fabi and Goldberg 2022).…

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by Mary Faith Marshall, PhD, FCCM, HEC-C

You might ask what sunbathing topless at the beach in Ocean City, Maryland and having an abortion have in common. Well, I’ve done both, (more than once), and I have a personal stake in continued access to them both—as should all persons with breasts who don’t identify as cisgendered men, and all persons capable of becoming pregnant.

Given the exceptional focus on the Supreme Court’s recent hearing on S. B. 8, (the Texas “bounty hunter” abortion law banning abortions after detection of a fetal heartbeat and granting enforcement to citizen vigilantes) you might have missed the case of Eline et al v.…

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by Delaney Maxwell

With the rise of multiomic research and databases, there is also an increased risk to the privacy of research participants and biological data. Beginning this illustration, I decided to take a neutral tone approach as the intent of the article was not to scare but to present the possibilities and propose a new framework for assessing these risks. My concept was similar to a where’s waldo page – identifying a specific person amongst a big crowd – but the viewer has found who they are looking for. The magnifying glass is consistent with this idea of sleuthing out the subject.…

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by Meghan C. Halley

Note: The following editorial was recently published in the American Journal of Bioethics, Volume 21, Issue 12 (2021).

In this issue, Lynch and colleagues (2021) discuss lessons learned from the “Operation Warp Speed” response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States—both about what to do and what not to do for non-pandemic diseases. In outlining these lessons, the authors provide a cogent and well-reasoned set of recommendations for advocates and policymakers seeking to advance biomedical research in a particular disease area. They specifically caution against policies that prioritize early access to investigational therapies in a manner that might compromise the ability to collect empirical data to confirm safety and efficacy.…

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by Martin CM Bricknell CB OStJ PhD DM MBA MA MedSci

Military Medical Ethics in Contemporary Armed Conflict: Mobilizing Medicine in the Pursuit of Just War. by Michael L Gross. Oxford University Press. 2021 

Military Medical Ethics has been a subject of significant academic debate over the first two decades of the twenty-first century covering topics such as medical rules of eligibility for care in military field hospitals, the duty of health professionals in the care of prisoners of war or detainees, and the ethics of human performance enhancement for military purposes. The recently published book, Military Medical Ethics in Contemporary Armed Conflict by Michael Gross, provides an excellent summary of these issues.…

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By Johnathan Flowers, PhD

A persistent myth in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Medicine) fields argues that science exists beyond politics and outside culture and society. As a philosopher of science, specifically a Black philosopher of science with a disability, I challenge students – many of whom are future scientists – to reconsider this glamorized view. Students often react violently: “How can science be political?” they demand. “What do you mean that science is racist?” they clamor. Their development in a culture that presents science, or scientific fact, as unfettered by culture is partially to blame. I believe there is also a misunderstanding of what it means to say science is neutral, apolitical, and objective.…

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by Erin King-Mullins, MD, FACS, FASCRS

I decided to tweet about my daughter’s trip to the ER to highlight disparities in access to certain treatments and the importance of patient/parent advocacy. The response was quite unexpected and turned into an all-out #MedTwitter war! 

Recently my one-and-a-half-year-old daughter fell at school, hitting her head. I got a call that she was injured and she should be taken to the ER. My fortunate circumstances include the childcare center being on the hospital’s campus, a children’s hospital is located just a couple blocks away, and my training as a colorectal surgeon. I picked her up from her daycare within minutes and when I saw her face I immediately went into trauma mode.…

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