|March 21, 2008|
Union to host national bioethics conference April 4 and 5
The Agnew Clinic by Thomas Eakins (Courtesy of the University of Pennsylvania Art Collection)
“The Human Use of Human Beings in Medicine and Science” is the theme for the 11th annual National Undergraduate Bioethics Conference, to be held at Union College April 4 and 5.
Planned and organized by students, NUBC covers issues of current interest in the field of bioethics with discussions led by experts from across the country.
The theme reflects the ideal of "medical humanities" encompassed in the American Society for Bioethics and Humanties (ASBH) name by embracing art, drama, literature, films and the media, as well as the humanities and the social and natural sciences. It includes three specific sub-themes:
• Portrayals of the Human Use of Human Beings in Medicine and Science in Art, Drama, Literature, Film, Mass Media and the Web (e.g., in paintings like Thomas Eakin's “The Gross Clinic” and “The Agnew Clinic”; in dramas like “Wit,” etc.)
• Historical Reflections and Case Studies of the Human Use of Human Beings in Medicine and Science (e.g., the abuse of human subjects in medical research)
• Controversies Over the Human Use of Human Beings in Medicine and Science (e.g., stem-cell research involving human embryos)
“This is a celebration of undergraduate research and an opportunity to introduce a new generation of students to the field of bioethics,” said Robert Baker, chair of the Rapaport Ethics Across the Curriculum Initiative and the William D. Williams Professor of Philosophy. He also directs the Union Graduate College-Mount Sinai School Medicine Bioethics Program.
Tod Chambers, president of ASBH and author of “Narrative Bioethics and Prozac as a Way of Life,” will open the conference with a talk on “Witches, Punks and Bioethicists.”
Susan Lederer, chair of the Department of Medical History and Bioethics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, and author of “Frankenstein: Penetrating the Secrets of Nature,” will discuss “The Myth and Metaphor of Frankenstein.”
Other speakers include award-winning journalist Harriet Washington, author of “Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present.”
The event also will include a series of panels, workshops and discussions. A Bioethics Bowl will draw teams from Dartmouth, the National Hispanic University, University of Miami and other schools for formal debates on numerous bioethical topics.
Union is the first liberal arts college chosen by ASBH to host the conference. Previous hosts were Princeton University, the University of Virginia, Notre Dame, Emory University, Boston University, Texas A&M, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania and Michigan State University.