Tag: Edward F. Mielke Lecture Series in Biomedical Ethics

Utah Philosopher Discusses “Least Worst Death” in Lawrence University Biomedical Ethics Series Lecture

The often virulent arguments for and against the controversial subject of physician-assisted suicide and how each side is relevant to the question of what constitutes “the least worst death” will be examined in the final installment of Lawrence University’s 2005-06 Edward F. Mielke Lecture Series in Biomedical Ethics.

Margaret Battin, distinguished professor of philosophy and adjunct professor of internal medicine, division of medical ethics, at the University of Utah, presents “The Least Worst Death? The Disputes over Physician-Assisted Suicide,” Wednesday, April 12 at 7 p.m. in Lawrence’s Wriston Art Center auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

In her address, Battin will challenge both the conventional arguments for physician-assisted suicide — people should have the freedom to do as they want, including dying when and how they wish with the help of a physician and people are entitled to avoid pain and suffering in the face of a terminal illness — as well as those arguments against legalization — that it is intrinsically wrong to kill, that physician-assisted suicide would threaten the integrity of the medical profession and the “slippery slope” notion that it would lead to abuse.

An award-winning writer, Battin is the author, editor or co-editor of 15 books, among them 2005’s “Ending Life: Ethics and the Way We Die.” She’s also written “The Least Worst Death: Essays in Bioethics on the End of Life,” and “Physician-Assisted Suicide: Expanding the Debate.” Her current writing projects include a historical sourcebook on ethical issues in suicide and a book on world population growth and reproductive rights.

A member of the University of Utah faculty since 1975, Battin has been recognized with the university’s Distinguished Research Award and the Rosenblatt Prize, Utah’s most prestigious award.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from of Bryn Mawr College and holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in fiction-writing and a doctorate degree in philosophy from the University of California, Irvine.

Battin’s appearance is supported by the Edward F. Mielke Lectureship in Ethics in Medicine, Science and Society. The lectureship was established in 1985 by the Mielke Family Foundation in memory of Dr. Edward F. Mielke, a leading member of the Appleton medical community and the founder of the Appleton Medical Center.

Research Challenges with Native Americans Focus of Lawrence University Biomedical Ethics Series Lecture

Anthropologist Carolyn Smith-Morris will discuss the social, political and legal challenges facing ethnographic and biological researchers working with Native Americans in the second installment of Lawrence University’s three-part 2005-06 Edward F. Mielke Lecture Series in Biomedical Ethics.

Smith-Morris, assistant professor of anthropology at Southern Methodist University, presents “The Ethics of Research in Indian Country: An Anthropological Perspective” Friday, Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. in Lawrence’s Wriston Art Center auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

A specialist in cross-cultural medical ethics, Smith-Morris will share insights from her nearly 10 years as a researcher among the Pima Indians of Southern Arizona, a tribe better known for high rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes than for its culture and history. Much of her research was conducted during the Pima’s most hostile and unwelcoming years toward outsiders since the Pueblo Revolt of the late 1600s.

The presentation will focus on methodologies and policies that work best between researchers and tribes amid contemporary tensions — traditional /modern, Indian/Anglo, natural/technological — as well as tribal fears that research data will be misrepresented or used unethically. Smith-Morris also will address the biomedical principle of “individual autonomy” in consent for treatment and for research and how that principle often conflicts with traditional Indian culture mores of strong family, community and other group-based modes of decision-making.

A member of the SMU anthropology department since 2002, Smith-Morris first began working with indigenous peoples with field research among Australian Aborigines of western New South Wales. She earned her bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Emory University and her Ph.D. with an emphasis in medical anthropology from the University of Arizona.

Smith-Morris’ appearance is supported by the Edward F. Mielke Lectureship in Ethics in Medicine, Science and Society. The lectureship was established in 1985 by the Mielke Family Foundation in memory of Dr. Edward F. Mielke, a leading member of the Appleton medical community and the founder of the Appleton Medical Center.

State Health Care Executive Opens Lawrence University Biomedical Ethics Lecture Series

One of Wisconsin’s leading advocates for the public disclosure of information on health care quality as a means of improving patient care will examine cost and quality challenges facing doctors and hospitals in the opening address of Lawrence University’s three-part 2005-06 Edward F. Mielke Lecture Series in Biomedical Ethics.

Christopher Queram presents “In Pursuit of Value: The Evolution of Quality-Based Purchasing” Tuesday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. in Lawrence’s Wriston Art Center auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

Queram, who has served as chief executive of the Employer Health Care Alliance Cooperative (The Alliance) in Madison since 1993, recently was named executive director of the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality.

The collaborative, which includes hospitals, physician groups, employers and labor unions from around the state, focuses on formulating accepted measures of health care quality for doctors and hospitals.

Both the Menasha-based Affinity regional health care network and the ThedaCare medical delivery network based in Appleton are members of the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality.

Queram will examine current issues confronting the health care industry, including cost, quality, system dysfunction and the lack of informed and “value” conscious purchasers and consumers. He also will discuss the importance of employers creating a clear strategy to deal with spiraling health care costs, review challenges to a value-based purchasing health care model and suggest ways to create incentives for improving health care quality.

Active in numerous health care-related organizations, Queram is a member of the State of Wisconsin’s boards on Health Care Information and Private Employer Health Care and is a former chair of the board of the National Business Coalition on Health as well as a former president of the Wisconsin Business Coalition on Health.

He served on President Clinton’s Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Health Care Industry, is a current member of the Planning Committee for the National Quality Forum and is a clinical instructor for Programs in Health Management at the University of Wisconsin.

As CEO of The Alliance, Queram oversees a non-profit cooperative that serves more than 700 corporations in Dane County and southern Wisconsin, representing more than 110,000 individual health-care subscribers.

A hospital executive in Madison and Milwaukee before joining The Alliance, Queram earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and history and a master‘s degree in health management from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Queram’s appearance is supported by the Edward F. Mielke Lectureship in Ethics in Medicine, Science and Society. The lectureship was established in 1985 by the Mielke Family Foundation in memory of Dr. Edward Mielke, a leading member of the Appleton medical community and the founder of the Appleton Medical Center.

Demise of Eugenics Focus of Lawrence University Biomedical Ethics Series Address

Duke University Professor Allen Buchanan will offer an alternative perspective to the popular views of the demise of the American eugenics movement and discuss the role of ethics as a discipline in the final installment of Lawrence University’s 2004-05 Edward F. Mielke Lecture Series in Biomedical Ethics.

Buchanan, professor of public policy studies and philosophy at Duke University’s Terry Stanford Institute of Public Policy, presents “What Was Really Wrong with Eugenics” Wednesday, May 11 at 7 p.m. in Lawrence’s Wriston Art Center auditorium. The lecture is free and open to the public.

The product of a late 19th- and early-to-mid 20th-century effort to produce superior human beings through selective breeding, the eugenics movement promoted a legislative agenda that favored legalized sterilization of the genetically flawed or socially unacceptable and prevented racial and ethnic groups from mixing.

Buchanan believes the standard view that eugenicists were utilitarians who cared little for justice and individual rights is flawed. He will argue instead that eugenicists appealed to familiar moral principles, but that they systematically distorted the application of these principles by embedding them in a web of false factual beliefs.

Buchanan also will discuss the role of scientific experts in eugenics and the public’s deference to their judgment, positing ethics as a discipline must be reexamined to avoid similar mistakes in the future. According to Buchanan, ethics should be as concerned with understanding the role of social institutions and practices in producing and transmitting factual beliefs that can either help or hinder moral judgment and reasoning as much as it is with articulating moral principles and critiquing moral justifications.

Buchanan has written or co-written six books, among them “Ethics, Efficiency and the Market” and “From Chance to Choice,” which examines ethical issues raised by the growth of genetic technology and discusses the need for justice and fairness in using such advances.

He served as the staff philosopher for the President’s Commission for the Study of Ethical Problems in Medicine and Biomedical and Behavioral Research, from 1980-83 and was a principal author of the commission’s two book-length reports on ethical issues in genetics.

Buchanan spent four years (1996-2000) as a member of the Advisory Council for the National Human Genome Research Institute and is currently the director of the Consortium on Pharmacogenetics.

Buchanan, who earned his Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of North Carolina, joined the Duke faculty in 2002 after previous appointments at the universities of Arizona, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

What is a Life Worth? “Rational” Rationing of Health Care Examined in Lawrence University Biomedical Ethics Series Address

The notion of rationing health care may be a frightening concept, but is it necessarily wrong?

Northwestern University Professor David Dranove explores the question of what is a life worth and offers insights on why “rational” rationing of health care resources is becoming increasingly embraced in the third installment of a Lawrence University’s 2004-05 Edward F. Mielke Lecture Series in Biomedical Ethics.

Dranove, the Walter McNerney Distinguished Professor of Health Industry Management at Northwestern, presents “Putting a Price on Life” Wednesday, Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. in Lawrence’s Wriston Art Center auditorium. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Drawing on Oregon’s 12-year old Medicaid initiative in which more than 700 medical interventions have been ranked from most cost effective to least and the British National Health System’s National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), which examines the cost-effectiveness of expensive treatments and recommends against paying for the least cost-ineffective technologies, Dranove will discuss the growing acceptance of rational rationing and outline the promises and pitfalls associated with a rationing approach to health care.

An essential element of rational rationing is attempting to quantify the seemingly unanswerable question: what is a life worth? When health care is rationed, a threshold for cost-effectiveness is established and coverage is denied for treatment that falls below that threshold. In England, NICE routinely denies coverage for interventions that cost more than $93,500 per year of life saved. Other systems use similar valuations.

Dranove argues that if the value of a life is based on the best available evidence, then the threshold used by NICE and others is much too low. Properly implemented, Dranove believes rational rationing could lead to more health spending, not less, but with the promise that the money is spent wisely on something of unsurpassed value.

A specialist in medical economics and cost-benefit analysis, Dranove joined the Northwestern University Kellogg Graduate School of Management in 1991 after spending eight years teaching at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. He is the author of three books, including 2000’s “The Economic Evolution of American Health Care” and is in the process of completing a fourth, “Pricing Your Life.” Dranove earned a Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University.

Ineffectiveness of Livings Wills Focus of Lawrence University Biomedical Ethics Lecture

A University of Michigan medical school and Ann Arbor VA research investigator argues that a staple of the American medical culture – the living will – does not nor cannot work in the second installment of Lawrence University’s four-part 2004-05 Edward F. Mielke Lecture Series in Biomedical Ethics.

Angela Fagerlin presents “Pulling the Plug on Living Wills: How Living Wills have Failed to Live up to Their Mandate,” Wednesday, Jan. 12 at 7 p.m. in Lawrence’s Wriston Art Center auditorium. The address, which will examine the shortcomings of living wills as well as the use of durable power of attorney as an alternative to living wills, is free and open to the public.

Living wills were originally created as a means of enabling an individual to maintain a certain level of control at the end of their life by detailing the types of treatment a person would like to receive or measures they would like taken should they become incapacitated and unable to make their own decisions. It is a document widely recommended by experts, recognized by law in nearly every state and one that hospitals are federally mandated to inform their patients about.

But in a recently published research paper, Fagerlin and her colleague Carl Schneider claim living wills consistently fail the basic criteria necessary for them to be effective, thus giving them little relevance in actual end-of-life decisions. According to Fagerlin, among the problems with living wills is the inability of most individuals to state their wishes accurately and understandably and having the document available when treatment decisions need to be made. The effectiveness of living wills, she argues, is further compromised by advances in medical technology and changes in an individual’s personal situation. The paper she co-authored was based on a review of hundreds of living wills and end-of-life decisions.

An internal medicine researcher in the University of Michigan medical school’s Program for Improving Health Care Decisions and the Ann Arbor Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center, Fagerlin earned her Ph.D. in experimental psychology from Kent State University. In addition to advanced directives and end-of-life decisions, she has written articles on topics ranging from racial differences in the treatment of prostate cancer to the use of decision aids to facilitate patient involvement in their medical care.

Stanford Law Professor Discusses Commodifcation in Opening Address of Lawrence University Biomedical Ethics Lecture Series

Stanford University Law Professor Margaret Jane Radin examines the contradictory nature of commodification — the transformation of relationships formerly untainted by commerce into commercial relationships of buying and selling — in the opening address of Lawrence University’s four-part 2004-05 Edward F. Mielke Lecture Series in Biomedical Ethics.

Radin, the William Benjamin Scott and Luna M. Scott Professor of Law at Stanford, presents “Commodification: Promise or Threat,” Monday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. in Lawrence’s Wriston Art Center auditorium. The lecture is free and open to the public.

A specialist in the fields of intellectual property, contracts and e-commerce, Radin will examine the evolving ethical issues associated with commodification, ranging from the solicitation of young women’s eggs in exchange for large sums of money to the international trade of human kidneys to the commercialization of technological methods of creating babies, such as in vitro fertilization.

Radin also will address the ways commodification both raises objections — if everything that human beings value becomes reduced to a dollar value, do we remain human?– and produces opportunities — the promise of technological baby-making can enhance autonomy and “personhood” and make people free to have children.

A 1963 graduate of Stanford and a member of the faculty there since 1986, Radin is currently teaching as a visiting professor at the University of Michigan School of Law. She served as director of Stanford Law School’s Program in Law, Science and Technology from 2001-2004 and co-authored the first standard law-school textbook dealing with Internet commerce.

A nationally recognized scholar on aspects of property as a right and as an institution, Radin is the author of two books on the subject, “Contested Commodities” and “Reinterpreting Property.” Her current research interests focus on contract and commodification in the online environment.

Other speakers and topics scheduled for the Mielke Lecture Series in Biomedical Ethics include:
• Jan. 12 — Angela Fagerlin, research investigator, internal medicine and the Program for Improving Health Care Decisions, University of Michigan, “Pulling the Plug on Living Wills: How Living Wills Have Failed to Live up to their Mandate.”

• Feb. 23 — David Dranove, Walter McNerney Distinguished Professor of Health Industry Management, Northwestern University, “Putting a Price on Life.”

• May 11 — Allen Buchanan, Professor of Public Policy Studies and Philosophy, Terry Stanford Institute of Public Policy, Duke University, “What Was Really Wrong with Eugenics?”

Noted Bioethicst Discusses Lifestyle Impact of Genetic Information in Lawrence University Address

Glenn McGee, one of the country’s best-known and most often-quoted bioethicists, examines the ways genetic information may soon be used in radically new ways at home, at work and at leisure in a Edward F. Mielke Lecture Series in Biomedical Ethics address at Lawrence University.

McGee, the associate director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, presents “The User’s Guide to Having a Genome: Why Genetics Will Change Who You Marry, What Kind of Life You Have, or How You Make Most of Your Decisions,” Wednesday, Jan 28 at 7 p.m. in the Wriston Art Center auditorium on the Lawrence campus. The lecture is free and open to the public.

The author of the 2003 book, “Beyond Genetics: Putting the Power of DNA to Work in Your Life,” McGee envisions a world in the not-too-distant future where individuals will be able to do genetic testing at home with a device no bigger than a palm pilot and genetic manipulation will permit the creation of custom wonder drugs, engineered foods and even designer babies.

McGee cautions, however, that many important questions — who will own the knowledge gained from our genes, who will help us interpret the information and, perhaps the most basic of all, are these new genetic advances even desireable — need to be addressed before that technology is unleashed.

A specialist in ethical, legal, economic and social issues in biotechnology and biomedical sciences, especially reproductive genetics, stem cells and genomics, McGee is also the author of the 1997 book, “The Perfect Baby: Parenthood in the New World of Cloning and Genetics,” which has become the country’s best-selling book on genetics on parenthood. He also edited the book, “The Human Cloning Debate,” which offers arguments for and against cloning from scientific, philosophical and religious perspectives.

McGee, who earned his Ph.D. in 1994 from Vanderbilt University, where he served as the coordinator of the program in ethics and genetics. He joined the Bioethics Center at the University of Pennsylvania in 1995.

Cultural Differences of Brain Death Focus of Lawrence University Biomedical Ethics Lecture

Anthropologist Margaret Lock compares the concept of brain death in Japan and North America and how culture and politics have influenced its recognition and impacted organ transplantation in the final installment of Lawrence University’s 2002-2003 Edward F. Mielke Lecture Series in Biomedical Ethics.

Lock, associate professor in social studies in medicine at Montreal’s McGill University, presents “Twice Dead: Organ Transplants and the Reinvention of Death” Wednesday, May 28 at 7 p.m. in the Wriston Art Center auditorium on the Lawrence campus. The lecture is free and open to the public.

A specialist in the relationship between culture, technoscience, health and illness, Lock will examine the reasons behind widespread anxiety in Japan over the use of a brain-dead person as a resource for the procurement of organs, which until very recently had been illegal, including the traditional Japanese cultural relationship of the dead to the living and the process of dying as a social and familial event.

She will contrast the Japanese model with that found in North America where the widely agreed opinion that the clinical condition of a brain dead body is irreversible has allowed relatively easy utilitarian harvesting of organs for transplant.

Her address also will include discussion of a recently published position of several neurologists who argue that a brain dead body is not biologically dead and that death remains, as it must always be, elusive, subject only to socially constructed definitions designed to provide medical professionals with a sense of certainty and with legal protection.

Lock, who has taught in both the departments of social studies of medicine and anthropology at McGill for more than 25 years, was the 1997 recipient of the Wellcome Medal for research in medical anthropology from the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and was the 2002 winner of the Molson Prize in the Social Sciences and Humanities of the Canada Council for the Arts for her pioneering research in medical anthropology.

Moral Status/Value of Embryos Discussed in Lawrence University Biomedical Ethics Lecture

The status given to human embryos — human subjects, human tissue or something in-between — will be the focus of the third installment of Lawrence University’s 2002-2003 Edward F. Mielke Lecture Series in Biomedical Ethics.

Bonnie Steinbock, professor of philosophy at the State University of New York, Albany, will deliver the address “Moral Status, Moral Value and Human Embryos” Friday, April 11 at 7 p.m. in the Wriston Art Center auditorium on the Lawrence campus. The lecture is free and open to the public.

A specialist in biomedical ethics issues related to reproduction and genetics, Steinbock will discuss various theories of the moral status of embryos used in stem cell research. She favors the view that says embryos have moral “value” but do not warrant moral “status,” which is reserved for sentient, aware beings. As a form of human life, embryos, Steinbock argues, are owed respect. But this respect differs significantly from the respect due to persons and such respect is consistent with embryonic stem cell research.

A member of the SUNY-Albany philosophy department since 1977, Steinbock has written widely on issues of moral status, embryonic stem cell research, sex selection and cloning and is the author of the book “Life Before Birth: The Moral and Legal Status of Embryos and Fetuses” (Oxford, 1992).

Steinbock, who also serves as a fellow of the Hastings Center, an independent, nonprofit, research institute that explores fundamental ethical questions in health care, biotechnology and the environment, earned a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.