Yale’s Friday Newsletter – 11/02/12

Sorry for the delay – the Petrie-Flom Center co-hosted a fantastic conference today on institutional financial conflicts of interest in research universities, which kept me away from a computer all day.  More to come on that, but without further ado, here is this week’s Yale Friday Newsletter, slightly modified for our readership.

Here are some articles selected by Carol Pollard: click here.

Bioethics Center Events

Wednesday, November 7 at 4:15 PM
Technology & Ethics Study Group
Location: 127 Wall St, room 128
Speaker: Adina Roskies, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Dartmouth College
Topic: Brain scans in the courtroom: Rethinking the threat

This Week on Campus

Monday, November 5

Poynter Fellowship/Berkeley College Master’s Tea

Time: 4 PM
Location: 205 Elm St.

Speaker: Florence Williams, Contributing Writer, Author and Freelance Journalist

Topic: Women’s Health and the Environment

Global Health Leadership Lecture

Time: 4 PM

Location: 63 High St, room 211

Speaker: Jim Kolbe, Senior Transatlantic Fellow for the German Marshall Fund of the United States

Topic: U.S. Leadership and the Future of Global Health

Biomedical Ethics Fall Symposium

Time: 4:30 PM

Location: 230 South Frontage St, Cohen Auditorium

Keynote Speaker: Susan Block, Harvard University

Other Speakers: Tom  Lynch, Jen Kapo, Bo Burt, Roger Worthington

Topic: What is a Good Death?

Schell Center Film Screening

Time: 6:10 PM

Location: 127 Wall St., Rm. 129

Director: Micheal Otremba, MD, Postdoctoral Associate, Yale School of Medicine (Q&A post-screening)

Film: Twero: the Road to Health

Tuesday, November 6

MacMillan Center Lecture

Time: 4 PM

Location: 34 Hillhouse Ave, room 202

Speaker: Dr. Andrea Capachietti

Topic: Human Rights and Global Health Concerns During a Humanitarian Crises…Through The Lens of an Aid Worker

Wednesday, November 7

Rudd Center Seminar

Time: 12:30 PM

Location: 309 Edwards St, conf room

Speaker: Ronette Briefel, DrPH, RD, Senior Fellow, Mathematica Policy Research

Topic: National Data to Inform Childhood Obesity Prevention Strategies: Beverage, Dietary, and Activity Practices at Home and School

Sustainable Food Project Panel

Time: 4 PM
Location: Peabody Museum Auditorium, 170 Whitney Ave

Speakers: Erik Brown, Whole Foods’ Global Produce Buyer

JD Kemp, CEO of Northeast Food Exchange

Lee Kane, Whole Foods’ North Atlantic Regional Forager

Topic: Scaling Sustainability: Sourcing Locally with Whole Foods

Biomedical Ethics Lecture

Time: 4:30 PM

Location: 230 South Frontage St, Cohen Auditorium

Speaker: Roger Worthington, PhD, Associate Professor of Medical Ethics and Law, Bond University, Australia Former consultant on standards, ethics and education General Medical Council, United Kingdom

Topic: Healthcare Reform in the US and UK: Responding to ethical and legal challenges

Thursday, November 8

Genocide Studies Seminar

Time: 1:30 PM

Location: 77 Prospect St room B012

Speaker: Jan Philipp Reemstma, Director, Hamburg Institute for Social Research

Topic: Trust and Violence

Human Rights Workshop

Time: 4:15 PM

Location: 127 Wall St, Faculty Lounge

Speaker: Peter Rosenblum Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein Clinical Professor of Human Rights Law, Columbia Law School

Topic: Human Rights at the Cash Nexus: New Thinking about the Tactics and Tools to Confront the Resource Curse

Friday, November 9

Zigler Center Lecture

Time: 11:30 AM

Location: 100 Wall St, room 116

Speaker: John Leventhal, Professor of Pediatrics, Yale University School of Medicine

Topic: 50 Years Since Publication of the “Battered Child Syndrome”: Can America Stop Hurting Its Children?

Conferences & Off-Campus Events

Grants & Fellowships

Calls for Papers & Nominations

Employment Opportunities

Northwestern University Brady Distinguished Visiting Faculty

Evanston Illinois

This is a one-year, full-time and benefits eligible position as the Brady Distinguished Visiting faculty, beginning September 1, 2013. The successful applicant will teach one seminar as part of The Brady Scholars Program in Ethics and Civic Life, will give three public lectures on themes related to The Brady Program, and will provide intensive pedagogical mentoring and research advising throughout the academic year to students, participating fully in social interactions. We require at least three years of college teaching experience after the receipt of the Ph.D., and documentation of teaching excellence. The undergraduates involved in this program pursue a three-year course of study on issues of civic and moral concern. Details can be found at http://www.bradyprogram.northwestern.edu/. Candidates should submit a cover letter, complete CV, three letters of recommendation, a writing sample, and teaching evaluations. Send application materials to The Brady Program Website, http://www.bradyprogram.northwestern.edu/, Faculty Tab, Moral & Political Visitor Search.  Review of files will begin as received; materials that arrive by December 7, 2012 will be given fullest consideration. EOE/ AAE. Women and minority candidates are encouraged to apply.

Zuzana Simoniova Cmelikova Visiting International Scholar in Leadership and Ethics

The Jepson School of Leadership Studies is accepting applications for the position of Zuzana Simoniova Cmelikova Visiting International Scholar in Leadership and Ethics for 2013-14, a one-year visiting position. This program, made possible by a generous gift from the Ukrop family, is designed to give visiting scholars who have extensive international experience the opportunity to develop courses, to design programs, or to conduct research on leadership ethics. Visiting international scholars may be new Ph.D.’s or experienced scholars who hold a Ph.D. in an academic area related to the study of leadership and ethics. Scholars from newly formed democracies are encouraged to apply. Applicants should explain in a cover letter how their research, teaching, and future plans relate to the scholarship that they would pursue as a visitor at Jepson. The Visiting International Scholar will be in residence at the University of Richmond for the academic year in order to pursue his or her own advanced research related to leadership and ethics. They will also give some presentations related to their research and/or issues related to leadership in their country. Successful applicants will receive a research stipend. Candidates should send applications electronically to https://www.urjobs.org/ and include a letter of application, a curriculum vita, a one-page research plan, a writing sample and contact information for three letters of reference. Review of applications will begin on December 1 and continue until the position is filled. Inquiries may be directed to Nancy Nock, International and Grant-Funded Programs Coordinator, Jepson School of Leadership Studies, nnock@richmond.edu. Inaugurated in 1992, the Jepson School of Leadership Studies  jepson.richmond.edu) is an independent academic unit of the University of Richmond and offers students the opportunity to major or minor in Leadership Studies. With the aim of educating students for and about leadership, the Jepson School offers an intellectually challenging liberal arts curriculum delivered by means of a rigorous and innovative pedagogy.

In the News

End of Life 

Pfeiffer, Sacha. Assisted Suicide Goes To Vote In Massachusetts. NPR. 25 October 2012.

Two states, Oregon and Washington, have legalized physician-assisted suicide through voter-approved ballot initiatives. Massachusetts will become the third if voters approve the so-called Death With Dignity ballot question. The measure would let terminally ill patients with six months or less to live get a lethal prescription. The outcome of that vote could change the landscape for legalized suicide nationwide. Continue reading…

Gallegos, Alicia. Clearing up confusion on advance directive. American Medical News. 29 October 2012.

Misunderstandings among physicians about living wills, advance directives and do-not-resuscitate orders are common, according to research and medical experts. A series of surveys by QuantiaMD, an online physician learning collaborative, found that nearly half of health professionals misunderstood the components of living wills. Ninety percent of those surveyed were physicians. Continue reading…


Koebler, Jason. Report: USDA Should Regulate In-School Snacks. US News.  1 November 2012.

Earlier this year, new USDA regulations on school lunches stirred up a major controversy in Washington—including a debate about whether pizza could be considered a vegetable. Now, a new report suggests the USDA should begin regulating snacks offered in school vending machines and snack lines. Continue reading…

Drugs & Pharmaceuticals

Dreaper, Jane. Study backs ‘controversial’ malaria drugs subsidy. BBC News. 31 October 2012.

Researchers who evaluated a global subsidy for malaria treatment say it had a substantial impact in a short space of time. Publishing their results in The Lancet, the global health experts acknowledged that the scheme had been “highly controversial”. Continue reading…

Health Care

Study: Cancer patients overestimate value of chemo. Associated Press.  24 October 2012.

Most patients getting chemotherapy for incurable lung or colon cancers mistakenly believe that the treatment can cure them rather than just buy them some more time or ease their symptoms, a major study suggests. Researchers say doctors either are not being honest enough with patients or people are in denial that they have a terminal disease. Continue reading…

Roy, Avik. In Florida, Obamacare to Cause 27% of Doctors to Stop Accepting Medicare Patients. Forbes. 30 October 2012.

With the Presidential election one week away, it’s worth reviewing how Obamacare will impact the residents of key swing states. A new survey of physicians has found that 30 percent of doctors in Florida intend to place new or additional limits on accepting Medicare patients, with 27 percent altogether refusing to accept new Medicare patients, because of Obamacare’s impact on the fees that Medicare pays to providers of health-care services. Continue reading…

Law and Bioethics

Mundasad, Smitha. Faulty implants: Europe ‘too slow.’ BBC News. 1 November 2012.

The European Commission is not acting quickly enough to protect patients from potential harm from medical implants, a parliamentary committee warns. Current Europe-wide regulation on medical implants, such as hip replacement joints, is too slow to change, they say. Continue reading…

Miller, Mark. Landmark Medicare settlement could change lives. Reuters. 27 October 2012.

Under the settlement of the lawsuit, Jimmo v. Sebelius, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has agreed to relax Medicare’s requirements for coverage of skilled nursing and therapy services in institutional or home care settings. The key criterion for coverage will be a demonstrated need for skilled care – regardless of whether there is a recovery prognosis. That means patients already enrolled in Medicare Part A (hospitalization) who need care to maintain their current condition but aren’t likely to improve will qualify for Medicare’s standard benefits. Continue reading…

Seppa, Nathan. Smoking laws limit heart attacks. ScienceNews. 29 October 2012.

Perhaps living in a “nanny state” isn’t half bad. In a Minnesota county that banned smoking in public places in 2007, the heart attack rate dropped by one-third after the ban compared with the period just before the restrictions were phased in, researchers report in the Oct. 29 Archives of Internal Medicine. Continue reading…

Medical Ethics

Conscience Legislation Ignores Medical Providers Committed to Giving Patients All Necessary Care. Science Daily. 25 October 2012.

Advances in medicine allow doctors to keep patients alive longer, tackle fertility problems and extend the viability of premature babies. They also lead to a growing number of moral questions for both the medical provider and patient. Continue reading…

Public Health

Gallagher, James. Breast screening advice updated amid controversy over tests. BBC News. 30 October 2012.

Women invited for breast cancer screening in the UK are to be given more information about the potential harm of being tested. An independent review was set up to settle a fierce debate about whether the measure did more harm than good. It showed that for every life saved, three women had treatment for a cancer which would never have been fatal. Continue reading…


Roberts, Michelle. Three-person IVF trial ‘success.’ BBC News. 24 October 2012.

US scientists say a human and animal trial of a controversial new IVF treatment has yielded promising results. The findings in Nature magazine show healthy-looking embryos can be created from a mix of three adult donors. Continue reading…


Rochman, Bonnie. Why Cheaper Genetic Testing Could Cost Us a Fortune. Time. 26 October 2012.

Unlocking the secrets of human DNA is one of the most promising avenues of medical research. (Read TIME’s complete series on genetic testing and families.) But along with a host of scientific and ethical issues, genome sequencing raises some tough economic questions at a time when U.S. health care costs are already spiraling. How much is this going to cost, and who’s going to pay? Continue reading…

In the Journals

Cole, Lindsay W. Ethical Issues in New Drug Prescribing. Bioethical Inquiry. 2012.

We use the format of a hypothetical case study to review issues related to pharmaceutical product approval and physician prescribing practices. In this case, a new FDA-approved drug is recommended for a patient who subsequently experiences an adverse event that may or may not be related to the prescription. This case raises a number of ethical and legal considerations physicians routinely face when deciding whether to recommend such drugs for their patients. Despite the need for ongoing observation by the regulatory apparatus, physicians should be cognizant of the limitations of the drug approval system and the post-approval prescription drug surveillance system. We discuss physicians’ ethical obligations when faced with a newly approved drug, including seeking out independent sources of learning, reporting adverse effects, and notifying patients about limitations in available knowledge about therapeutic recommendations. Continue reading…

Priaulx, Nicky. The Troubled Identity of the Bioethicist. Health Care Analysis. 2012.

This paper raises questions about bioethical knowledge and the bioethical ‘expert’ in the context of contestation over methods. Illustrating that from the perspective of the development of bioethics, the lack of unity over methods is highly desirable for the field in bringing together a wealth of perspectives to bear on bioethical problems, that same lack of unity also raises questions as to the expert capacity of the ‘bioethicist’ to speak to contemporary bioethics and represent the field. Focusing in particular on public bioethics, the author argues that we need to rethink the concept of bioethicist, if not reject it. The concept of the bioethicist connotes a disciplinary or theoretical unity that is simply not present and from the perspective of public policy, it is incredibly misleading. Instead, bioethical expertise would be a capacity of a broader community, and not an individual. Such a conception of bioethics as an expert community rather than as an individual capacity, focuses our attention on the more functional question of what knowledge and skill set any individual possesses. Continue reading…

Snelling, Paul C. Challenging the Moral Status of Blood Donation. Health Care Analysis. 2012

The World Health Organisation encourages that blood donation becomes voluntary and unremunerated, a system already operated in the UK. Drawing on public documents and videos, this paper argues that blood donation is regarded and presented as altruistic and supererogatory. In advertisements, donation is presented as something undertaken for the benefit of others, a matter attracting considerable gratitude from recipients and the collecting organisation. It is argued that regarding blood donation as an act of supererogation is wrongheaded, and an alternative account of blood donation as moral obligation is presented. Two arguments are offered in support of this position. First, the principle of beneficence, understood in a broad consequentialist framework obliges donation where the benefit to the recipient is large and the cost to the donor relatively small. This argument can be applied, with differing levels of normativity, to various acts of donation. Second, the wrongness of free riding requires individuals to contribute to collective systems from which they benefit. Alone and in combination these arguments present moral reasons for donation, recognised in communication strategies elsewhere. Research is required to evaluate the potential effects on donation of a campaign which presents blood donation as moral obligation, but of wider importance is the recognition that other-regarding considerations in relation to our own as well as others’ health result in a range not only of choices but also of obligations. Continue reading…

Sohn, Myongsei. Globalization of Public Health Law and Ethics. Asia-Pacific Journal of Public Health. September 2012.

The Constitution of the World Health Organization (1946) states that the “enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social position.” The international legal framework for this right was laid by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and reaffirmed in the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (1966) and the Declaration of Alma-Ata (1978). In recent years, the framework has been developed on 10 key elements: national and international human rights, laws, norms, and standards; resource constraints and progressive realization; obligations of immediate effect; freedoms and entitlements; available, accessible, acceptable, and good quality; respect, protect, and fulfill; non-discrimination, equality, and vulnerability; active and informed participation; international assistance and cooperation; and monitoring and accountability. Whereas public health law plays an essential role in the protection and promotion of the right to health, the emergence of SARS (2003) highlighted the urgent need to reform national public health laws and international obligations relating to public health in order to meet the new realities of a globalized world, leading to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (2003) and the revision of the WHO International Health Regulations (2005). The Asian Institute for Bioethics and Health Law, in conjunction with the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Health and Welfare and the WHO International Digest of Health Legislation, conducted a comparative legal analysis of national public health laws in various countries through a project entitled Domestic Profiles of Public/Population Health Legislation (2006), which underscored the importance of recognizing the political and social contexts of distinct legal cultures, including Western, Asian, Islamic, and African. Continue reading…


Catholic Transcript

Chalupsky, Mary. Religious liberty is focus of bioethics lecture. November 1, 2012.

CROMWELL – Taking the Obama Administration to task for what he considers its assault on the values and freedoms of Americans, Alan Sears, one of the leading legal advocates for religious liberty, urged an audience attending a bioethics lecture to “take a stand” for issues that preserve life and freedom. Continue reading…

Los Angeles Times

Garey, Juliann. Mental health care at stake in 2012 vote. October 21, 2012.

One in five Americans over age 18 suffers from a diagnosable mental illness in any given year. That’s upward of 40 million potential voters. So why have we heard virtually nothing about mental health care from either candidate during this campaign? Continue reading…

New York Times

Editorial. Kentucky’s egregious death penalty. October 24, 2012.

The Kentucky Commission on Human Rights voted unanimously last week to recommend that the state abolish the death penalty. There is every reason for Kentucky to take the advice and become the 18th state to prohibit capital punishment. Continue reading…

Editorial. Deeper concerns about drug compounding. October 25, 2012.

The more that reporters and regulators dig into the cause of the meningitis outbreak that has sickened more than 300 people in 18 states and killed 24, the worse it all looks. The Massachusetts pharmacy that produced the contaminated injectable steroid linked to the outbreak has a long, troubled history. But the issues of shoddy manufacturing practices and lax regulation go well beyond one company. Continue reading… 

Mattlin, Ben. Suicide by Choice? Not So Fast.  October 31, 2012.

Next week, voters in Massachusetts will decide whether to adopt an assisted-suicide law. As a good pro-choice liberal, I ought to support the effort. But as a lifelong disabled person, I cannot. Continue reading…


Engber, Daniel. Sandy’s toll on medical research. November 1, 2012.

Thousands of lab mice drowned on Monday night as the Sandy storm surge flooded into New York University’s Smilow Research Building at the eastern edge of Manhattan. It will take several years—and many generations of careful inbreeding—to rebuild the colony, which included animals that had been genetically engineered for the study of melanoma and many other forms of disease. “We are deeply saddened by the loss of these animals’ lives and the impact this has on the many years of important work conducted by our researchers,” the university announced on Wednesday. Continue reading…

Cohen, Lewis. Massachusetts vote may change how nation dies. October 29, 2012.

This Election Day, Massachusetts is poised to approve the Death With Dignity Act. “Death with dignity” is a modernized, sanitized, politically palatable term that replaces the now-antiquated expression “physician-assisted suicide.” Four polls conducted in the past couple of months have shown strong support for the ballot question, although a well-funded media blitz by the opposition is kicking in during the final several weeks and may influence voter opinions. Continue reading…