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November 2020 Newsletter

Message from the President & CEO

As November begins, we’ve collected timely, recent publications and news from our community, which is thoughtfully confronting some of the most critical issues of our time. Bioethics plays a crucial role today, as U.S. policymakers, courts, and voters are making decisions that will shape our world for years to come. I hope you enjoy exploring these ideas with us. I also encourage everyone to participate in a discussion on “Whose Pain Matters” at the Foundation’s upcoming William C. Stubing Memorial Lecture on November 16. The Stubing Lecture is our showcase public event, free and open to all. You’ll find more information about the Lecture below.



Whose Pain Matters? Reflections on Race, Social Justice, and COVID-19's Revealed Inequalities

Please join us for the Foundation’s William C. Stubing Memorial Lecture on November 16 at 6:30pm ET. Drawing on lessons learned from past pandemics and decades of studying U.S. cultural and racial politics, Princeton University History Professor Keith Wailoo, PhD, Greenwall Faculty Scholars Program Committee Member, will present a live webinar on how the novel coronavirus is shaping how we prioritize pain and relief. Register here.

From Our Blog


Faculty Scholars Tackle Ethical Issues in COVID-19 Pandemic

Our Faculty Scholars and Alums are on the front lines caring for those affected by the novel coronavirus and working to develop policies to provide practical recommendations on ethical issues. Explore these timely and important pieces and bookmark our blog to stay up to date on the latest COVID-19 bioethics news.

Greenwall Community Members Debate Psychiatric Aid-in-Dying at ASBH

Greenwall Faculty Scholars Program Committee member Dr. Daniel Sulmasy, Faculty Scholar Dr. Brent Kious, Faculty Scholar Alum Dr. Scott Kim, and Prof. Margaret Battin held a spirited debate on psychiatric aid-in-dying at the 2020 American Society for Bioethics and Humanities Annual Conference.


Trust, but Verify: Informational Challenges Surrounding AI-Enabled Clinical Decision Software

Arti K. Rai, JD | Duke Law School 
Making a Difference Grantee
Using artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare can have many benefits but is also wrought with challenges. Determining how to appropriately disclose information during the development and use of such products is a key concern. This white paper, published by the Center for Innovation Policy at Duke Law and the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy and co-authored by Prof. Rai, addresses these challenges and attempts to assist software developers, policymakers, regulators, clinical workers, and others who depend on the innovation of safe and effective AI-enabled medical products.

Innovation on the Reservation: Information Technology and Health Systems Research among the Papago Tribe of Arizona 1965-1980

Jeremy A. Greene, MD, PhD | Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine   
Greenwall Faculty Scholar Alum
Traveling to hospitals is not an easy feat for many individuals, especially residents of the Papago Tribe of Arizona, the third-largest American Indian reservation. Through a state-of-the-art system, health professionals are able to offer services remotely via telemedicine, rather than requiring patients to travel to far off hospitals. In an article he co-authored for Isis, Dr. Greene recognizes that this reservation has become a site of medical research and technological development in the late twentieth-century and emphasizes the promise of these advancements to address health disparities.

Restrictions on Reproductive Care at Catholic Hospitals: A Qualitative Study of Patient Experiences and Perspectives

Lori R. Freedman, PhD | University of California, San Francisco 
Greenwall Faculty Scholar Alum
Some hospitals operate according to religious beliefs that restrict access to certain reproductive services. Many women enter these hospitals unaware of these restrictions. In a new study published in AJOB Empirical Bioethics, Prof. Freedman and her co-authors found that barriers to information prevented patients from being able to research these restrictions ahead of time. The authors assert that public policy regulating hospitals should require transparency from hospitals and physicians about religious restrictions on care so patients can make informed decisions about where to seek care.

Ethical and Public Health Implications of Genetic Testing for Suicide Risk: Family and Survivor Perspectives

Brent M. Kious, MD, PhD | University of Utah
Greenwall Faculty Scholar
What are the ethics behind telling someone their genetic risk for committing suicide? Research may soon allow calculation of polygenic risk scores (PRS) for suicide death, which could be marketed directly to consumers. This raises ethical concerns. As recently detailed in Genetics in Medicine, Dr. Kious and his team found that genetic testing for suicide risk might benefit individuals and the community, including through prevention and reduced stigma. But it also raised concerns about adverse psychological effects, access to insurance or employment, and increased stigma.

In the News

Holly Fernandez Lynch, JD, Greenwall Faculty Scholar, interviewed by New York Magazine:

A Bioethicist on Trump’s COVID-19 Treatment Plan
Oct. 6, 2020
“It’s not necessarily compassionate to give somebody something if you have no idea whether it works or is safe.”
Image credit: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images
Christine K. Cassel, MD, Board Member, co-authored an article in The Doctor Weighs In:

Resources to Help You Get Out (and Protect) the Vote
Oct. 10, 2020
“As physicians concerned about the health of the public, we know that the choices we all make for our leaders—at the federal, state, and local levels—have a direct impact on our lives. That’s why we are providing you with resources to help you get out (and protect) the vote.”
Image credit: iStock
Steven Joffe, MD, Greenwall Faculty Scholar Alum, interviewed by Salon:

Trump’s Coronavirus “Cure” Video Lifts Stocks of Drug Company Run by a Member of His Gold Club

Oct. 8, 2020
"I think there is something wrong with the privileged — the president — getting special treatment that's not available to the rest of us," he said. "There's so much injustice in our health care system, with so many people not even having access to the basics."
Image credit: Salon
Natalie Ram, JD, Greenwall Faculty Scholar, interviewed by Down East Magazine:

The 27-Year-Old Cold Case That Will Put Familial DNA on Trial
Oct. 2020
“What the courts say about this case will impact literally all of us — not just the millions of people who have pursued their family ancestry through DNA, but also the hundreds of millions of relatives who can be identified through that DNA.”
Image credit: Shutterstock
Monica Peek, MD, Greenwall Faculty Scholar Alum, interviewed by Marketplace:

In Chicago, COVID-19 Takes a Toll in Black and Latinx Neighborhoods
Sept. 21, 2020
“There’s no better perfect storm for this pandemic sweeping through our very segregated city based on race and class.” 
Image credit: Mark Felix/AFP via Getty Images

Coming Up


William C. Stubing Memorial Lecture | November 16, 2020 6:30 pm ET

Whose Pain Matters? Reflections on Race, Social Justice, and COVID-19's Revealed Inequalities: a live webinar with Keith Wailoo, PhD, Henry Putnam University Professor of History and Public Affairs, Princeton University. Register here.

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