Yale’s Friday Newsletter – 09/28/12

I’m starting to mark the passage of time by how quickly the Yale Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics Friday Newsletter seems to sneak into my mailbox.  Enjoy this week’s version!

Conferences & Off-Campus Events

Grants & Fellowships

Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics

The Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics (FASPE) is now accepting applications for a fellowship that uses the conduct of medical professionals in Nazi Germany as a launching point for an intensive two-week summer program about contemporary medical ethics.  Fellowships include an all-expense paid trip from New York to Berlin, Krakow, and Oświęcim (Auschwitz) where students will work with leading faculty to explore both history and the ethical issues facing their profession today.  All program costs, including international and European travel, lodging, and food, are covered. The tentative program dates for FASPE Medical are June 16 – June 27, 2013. Completed applications must be received by January 11, 2013.  Candidates of all religious, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds are encouraged to apply. To apply or to learn more about FASPE, please visit:  http://www.faspe.info If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Thorin Tritter at ttritter@FASPE.info.

Interdisciplinary Behavioral and Social Science Research Grants

The Interdisciplinary Behavioral and Social Science Research (IBSS) competition seeks to support research conducted by behavioral and social scientists as collaborating members of teams that come from multiple disciplines, who engage in integrated research that employs methods and techniques from multiple disciplines, and whose results are likely to enhance theories and/or methodological approaches or have other stimulating and/or catalytic impact across a range of disciplinary fields. The IBSS competition invites proposals for two different kinds of projects:

·         IBSS Large Interdisciplinary Research Projects. Large interdisciplinary research projects may be supported by awards as large as $1,000,000.

·         IBSS Interdisciplinary Team Exploratory Projects. Exploratory research by emerging multidisciplinary teams may be supported by awards as large as $250,000.

Estimated Number of Awards: 10 to 15 Depending on the quality of proposals for projects of different size and the availability of funds, NSF anticipates making 10 to 15 awards annually. NSF expects to have at least $10,000,000 available to support awards resulting from this competition.    January 23, 2013 is the first full proposal submission deadline.  For more information: http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2012/nsf12614/nsf12614.htm?WT.mc_id=USNSF_25&WT.mc_ev=click#pgm_intr_txt

Bioethics Fellowships, Clinical Center At The National Institutes Of Health – DHHS

Post baccalaureate and post doctoral fellows will conduct mentored theoretical and empirical research related to the ethics of health policy, human subject research, international research ethics, genetics, or other bioethical fields of interest. For a typical fellow, this research yields multiple publications in premier academic journals.  Fellows will participate in case conferences, ethics consultations, review of research protocols, bioethics seminars and many other educational opportunities. No bioethics experience required or expected.  Two-year positions begin September 2013. Students planning to pursue MD, JD, PhD or other graduate degrees or those who have achieved these degrees are encouraged to apply. Salary is commensurate with Federal guidelines. Applications to include:  resume/CV, official undergraduate and graduate transcripts, one or more writing sample/s that demonstrate analytical or critical thinking ability (not to exceed 30 pages collectively), three letters of recommendation (preferable from individuals familiar with your academic work), and a 1000-word statement of interest which may include discussion of how the fellowship fits into your career goals and potential topics you would like to investigate while here. You may also choose to discuss how you can lend a unique perspective to the department or contribute to the department’s diversity.  POSTDOC APPLICATION DEADLINE: DECEMBER 31, 2012; POST BAC AND PRE DOC APPLICATION DEADLINE: JANUARY 15, 2013. Mail applications to: Becky Chen, CC Bioethics – NIH, 10 Center Drive 10/1C118, Bethesda, MD 20892-1156.

Calls for Papers & Nominations

Papers for TuftScope: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Health, Ethics, & Policy 

TuftScope is a student journal at Tufts University that was founded in 2001 to provide an academic forum for discussion of the pertinent healthcare and biosocial debates in today’s world.  It addresses different aspects of healthcare, bioethics, public health, and global health policy.  The journal, as well as the online edition at www.tuftscopejournal.org<http://www.tuftscopejournal.org>, is edited and operated by students at Tufts University and is advised by an Editorial Board composed of undergraduates and faculty. The principle objective of TuftScope is to bring together a variety of viewpoints on the health sciences to transform thoughts and ideas into active citizenship and working policies. We are currently accepting submissions for our Fall 2012 (Volume 12.1) issue from undergraduates, graduate students, and any other individuals who wish to submit work. TuftScope accepts original articles on bioethics, healthcare policy, public/community health, medical education, biomedicine, and research in these fields.  Submitting work to TuftScope is an excellent step on the way to getting your health research and writing published! Submissions will be accepted until October 15, 2012.  Detailed submissions guidelines and descriptions of the submission types may be found at www.tuftscopejournal.org<http://www.tuftscopejournal.org> under the “Guidelines” section. We welcome early submissions!  All submissions should be uploaded to the submissions system on the website before the submission date so that they can be reviewed for selection for this upcoming edition.

Papers for Bioethics Issue of the Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue

Where does life begin and end? What role does the individual have to play in his or her own fate? Are we ever morally entitled to make decisions on behalf of loved ones? What does faith have to tell us about the relationship between body and soul? At what moral cost do we extend life through technology? In a society governed by legal doctrines, can religious belief admit exceptions to the law? Innovations in science and medicine, combined with increasingly pluralistic communities, create interesting challenges to the legal and ethical spheres. Where religious tradition may illuminate some issues, it can also complicate them to the point of national and international debate. For thousands of years, religious traditions have provided insight into the ultimate questions of life for believers. Rather than minimize the role of faith in processing bioethical dilemmas, we should explore the complexities of various religious paradigms and the wisdom these systems of belief offer their believers. In this special issue of the Journal, we welcome scholars and practitioners to enter into a dialogue on these topics through critical reflection. We invite articles based on a single religious perspective, as well as pieces that bring comparative analysis to the table. Below, we offer a number of prompts to spark debate and discussion:

  • What are the benefits and costs of life-saving and life-extending technology that will, in many societies, likely be utilized if available?
  • At what point does coming up with diagnoses for illnesses and treating them constitute a refusal to accept an individual’s natural path, destiny, fate, etc.?
  • Is there honor or shame in taking steps towards ending one’s own life?
  • How do ancient theologies and traditions inform modern bioethical decision-making?
  • What is the role of the body: prison or temple?
  • Palliative care, sanctity, and dignity: how far is too far, and how long is too long?
  • Religious vs. non-religious approaches to bioethical dilemmas
  • What happens when medical ethics conflict with patients’ religious belief systems?
  • How do we judge decisions made behalf of loved ones (minors, elders, impaired persons, etc.)?
  • How can we determine the beginning of life?
  • What bioethical rights should minorities have in a theocratic context?

The Journal is a peer-reviewed publication dedicated to innovative research on and study of the interactions that take place within and between religious communities. Published online, it is designed to increase both the quality and frequency of interchanges between religious groups and their leaders and scholars. By fostering communication and study, the Journal hopes to contribute to a more tolerant, pluralistic society. Recent issues have centered on critical themes in inter-religious studies, including “Religion and Revolution” and “Women, Feminism, and Inter-Religious Dialogue.” All submissions must be the original, previously unpublished work of the author(s). Authors are also advised to read about the Journal and the previous issue prior to submitting an article. Submissions should be around 3,500 words, including references and a 100-word abstract. They should strictly adhere to the Fifteenth Edition of the Chicago Manual of Style, utilizing endnotes for citations and footnotes for discursive elaboration (please do not use in-text citation for anything, including references to sacred texts). Submissions should be in a .doc or .docx format, both of which are available in open-source format as well as in most word processing software. Please be sure to separate sentences by a single space rather than two, and please make use of serial commas (e.g. “yes, no, and maybe” rather than “yes, no and maybe”). Any failure to comply with stylistic standards will be pointed out by staff editors, and authors will be expected to correct the discrepancies themselves during the editing process. Co-authored articles are welcomed and encouraged. Articles may be submitted online at www.irdialogue.org/submissions or via e-mail to submissions@irdialogue.org.

The deadline for submissions for the twelfth issue of the Journal is December 15, 2012. Articles submitted after this date will not be considered for publication in the seventh issue. You will hear back about the status of your submission by January 15, 2013. After an initial vetting process by the editorial board, each submission will undergo a rigorous peer-review by members of the Board of Scholars and Practitioners. If accepted for publication, the Journal’s staff may edit the submission for mechanics and adherence to writing standards.

Employment Opportunities

In the News

Animal Ethics     

Greenfieldboyce, Nell. Government Officials Retire Chimpanzees from Research. NPR. 21 September 2012.

One hundred ten chimpanzees will retire from biomedical research, the National Institutes of Health announced today. The move comes as some groups are pushing for a ban on all medical chimp research. Continue reading…


Voisin, Sarah L. D.C. Paid Sick Leave Law Should be Audited, Advocates Say. The Washington Post.  23 September 2012.

Nearly four years after the District enacted a law that made it mandatory for most workplaces to offer paid sick days to employees, advocacy groups and researchers are ramping up pressure on the city to review the policy to determine whether it’s been effective at protecting local workers. Continue reading…

Mental Health

Landau, Elizabeth. Smartphone apps become ‘surrogate therapists.’ CNN. 27 September 2012.

While about a quarter of adults in the United States suffer from some form of mental illness, most of them are not getting adequate treatment, if any. In the age when there’s an app for everything, Continue reading…

Bleyer, Jennifer. How Can We Stop Pedophiles? Stop Treating Them Like Monsters. Slate. 24 September 2012.

One summer day in the mid-1990s, Spencer Kaplan climbed aboard a bus at the camp where he was a counselor-in-training, sat down next to a little boy of about 9, and thought, “My God, I want to kiss him.” Continue reading…

Organ Transplantation

Stein, Rob. Who’s Next In Line For a Kidney Transplant? The Answer is Changing. NPR. 20 September 2012.

There’s some big news out today about one of the most sensitive issues in medicine: Who’s next in line for a transplant? The United Network for Organ Sharing, or UNOS, a nonprofit in charge of distributing organs, wants to revamp the system for distributing the most sought-after organ — kidneys — for the first time in 25 years. Continue reading…

Public Health

Cardoza, Kavitha. At School, Overweight Children Carry A Heavy Burden. NPR. 23 September 2012.

One in three children in the United States is overweight or obese. Significant numbers of those young people are grappling with health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Continue reading… 


Berger, Joseph. A Successful Yom Kippur Fast, With a Medical Assist. New York Times. 24 September 2012.

It will look like a scene out of a hospital ward. In a basement room crowded with medical equipment, about 20 people at one time — sick, pregnant, frail and elderly, or on lifesaving medication — will be hooked up to intravenous drips on Wednesday to receive nutrients they need to get through the day. Continue reading…


Valenti, Jessica. Not Wanting Kids is Entirely Normal. The Atlantic. 19 September 2012.

In 2008, Nebraska decriminalized child abandonment. The move was part of a “safe haven” law designed to address increased rates of infanticide in the state. Like other safe haven laws, parents in Nebraska who felt unprepared to care for their babies could drop them off at a designated location without fear of arrest and prosecution. But legislators made a major logistical error: They failed to implement an age limitation for dropped-off children. Continue reading…

Research Ethics

Stein, Rob. Doctors Sift Through Patient’ Genomes To Solve Medical Mysteries. NPR. 25 September 2012.

Sara Terry’s first clue that something was wrong with her son, Christian, came just three weeks after he was born. “We went to check on him, just like any parents go and check on their kids just to make sure they’re breathing,” says Terry, 34, of Spring, Texas. “And we found him in his crib, and he wasn’t breathing. He was blue.” Continue reading…


Singer, Natasha. U.S. Is Tightening Web Privacy Rule To Shield Young. New York Times. 27 September 2012.

Federal regulators are about to take the biggest steps in more than a decade to protect children online. The moves come at a time when major corporations, app developers and data miners appear to be collecting information about the online activities of millions of young Internet users without their parents’ awareness, children’s advocates say. Continue reading…

In the Journals

Hathout, Leith. The right to practice medicine without repercussions: ethical issues in times of political strife. Philosophy, Ethics and Humanities in Medicine. September 2012.

This commentary examines the incursion on the neutrality of medical personnel now taking place as part of the human rights crises in Bahrain and Syria, and the ethical dilemmas which these incursions place not only in front of physicians practicing in those nations, but in front of the international community as a whole. In Bahrain, physicians have recently received harsh prison terms, apparently for treating demonstrators who clashed with government forces. In Syria, physicians are under the same political pressure to avoid treating political demonstrators or to act as informants against their own patients, turning them in to government authorities. This pressure has been severe, to the point that some physicians have become complicit in the abuse of patients who were also political demonstrators. This paper posits that physicians in certain countries in the Middle East during the “Arab Spring,” specifically Syria and Bahrain, are being used as both political pawns and political weapons in clear violation of Geneva Convention and World Medical Association guidelines, and that this puts them into the most extreme sort of “dual loyalty” dilemma. They are being forced to choose between their own safety and well-being and that of their patients — a negative sum scenario wherein there is no optimal choice. As such, an international call for a United Nations inquiry must be made in order to protect the neutrality of medical care and personnel during times of armed conflict. Continue reading…

Kim, Ae-Sook. The Evolution of an Innovation: Variations in Medicaid Managed Care Program Extensiveness. Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law. June 2012.

This article utilizes a theoretical framework of policy innovation, diffusion, and reinvention to investigate the evolving nature of Medicaid managed care programs over time. By estimating two separate models, one for primary care case management (PCCM) and a second for risk-based program enrollment, this study seeks to disentangle two different paths of learning (internal and external), investigate the potential effects of vertical diffusion of policy, and examine the impact of internal state characteristics on the extent of Medicaid managed care. With respect to diffusion and learning, the data reveal that earlier adopters implement more extensive programs. The data fail to reveal much internal learning, although there is evidence of some. External impacts are clear: managed care enrollments in neighboring states and changes in the federal waiver process affect states’ decisions. Other policy choices are important: states with more generous Medicaid eligibility rules implement more extensive managed care programs. Complementing other studies of Medicaid, we find that politics and economics make a difference for the extent of managed care programs; unlike other Medicaid studies, we find no effect of race and ethnicity. Continue reading…

Hughes, Samuel A.; Jandial, Rahul. Ethical considerations in targeted pediatric neurosurgery missions. Journal of Medial Ethics. September 2012.

Within the context of global health development approaches, surgical missions to provide care for underserved populations remain the least studied interventions with regard to their methodology. Because of the unique logistical needs of delivering operative care, surgical missions are often described solely in terms of cases performed, with a paucity of discourse on medical ethics. Within surgery, subspecialties that serve patients on a non-elective basis should, it could be argued, create mission strategies that involve a didactic approach and the propagation of sustainable surgical care. The ethical considerations have yet to be described for pediatric neurosurgical outreach missions. We present here the perspectives of neurosurgeons who have participated in surgical outreach missions in Central America, South America, Eastern Europe and sub-Saharan Africa from the vantage point of both the visiting mission team and the host team that accommodates the mission efforts. Continue reading…

Richardson, Henry S. Relying on Experts as We Reason Together. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal. June 2012.

In various contexts, it is thought to be important that we reason together. For instance, an attractive conception of democracy requires that citizens reach lawmaking decisions by reasoning with one another. Reasoning requires that reasoners survey the considerations that they take to be reasons, proceed by a coherent train of thought, and reach conclusions freely. De facto reliance on experts threatens the possibility of collective reasoning by making some reasons collectively unsurveyable, raising questions about the coherence of the resulting train of thought. De jure reliance on experts threatens the possibility of collective reasoning by seeming to make some conclusions irreversible. The paper argues that collective reasoning that relies on experts would nonetheless be possible if the unsurveyable reasons “mesh,” if the expert considerations are at least in principle publicly recoverable, and if de jure authority of expert decision is always subject to appeal. Continue reading…


Ars Technica

Timmer, John. Anti-GMO researchers used science publication to manipulate press. September 24, 2012.

Very little of the public gets their information directly from scientists or the publications they write. Instead, most of us rely on accounts in the media, which means reporters play a key role in highlighting and filtering science for the public. And—through embargoed material, press releases, and personal appeals—journals and institutions vie for press attention as a route to capturing the public’s imagination. Continue reading…

Los Angeles Times

Editorial. Prop 34 and death penalty dishonesty. September 25, 2012.

We stopped being shocked by flagrantly dishonest campaign claims long ago, but sometimes the disingenuousness is so flagrant that it still gets our blood boiling — especially when it happens in lower-profile political races in which campaign managers are figuring that fact-checkers won’t bother to call them out. Such is the case with the No on Proposition 34 campaign. Continue reading…

Editorial. In a haze on pot policy. September 27, 2012.

Late last year, U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. affirmed the Obama administration’s long-standing policy of taking a hands-off approach to states that had legalized medical marijuana, saying federal resources wouldn’t be expended on enforcement actions as long as purveyors obeyed state law. On Tuesday, Los Angeles got a taste of the current interpretation of that policy — which is that our dispensaries are out of bounds. Continue reading…

National Review

Foht, Brendan. The bioethics of womb transplants. September 21, 2012.

Earlier this week, doctors in Sweden announced that they had performed two uterus transplants — the first time the procedure has been done with living donors. (A uterus collected from a deceased donor was transplanted by doctors in Turkey last year.) Both of the uterus donors in Sweden were women in their fifties who donated their wombs to their daughters. One of the recipients had been born without a uterus, while the other had lost hers to cervical cancer. Continue reading… 

New York Times

Letter to the Editor. The cost of electronic medical records. September 26, 2012.

“Medicare Bills Rise as Records Turn Electronic” (front page, Sept. 22) discussed cost problems with the implementation of electronic medical records. Continue reading…

Letter to the Editor. Rationing health care to save costs. September 23, 2012.

Steven Rattner (“Beyond Obamacare,” Op-Ed, Sept. 17) wants to reduce the one-quarter of Medicare’s budget for expenses incurred in the last year of life, while ridiculing “the ever-popular waste, fraud and abuse.” Continue reading…

Rosenberg, Tina. For veterans, a new surge of treatment for trauma. September 26, 2012.

Suicide is now the leading cause of death in the army. More soldiers die by suicide than in combat or vehicle accidents, and rates are rising: July, with 38 suicides among active duty and reserve soldiers, was the worst month since the Army began counting. General Lloyd Austin III, the army’s second in command, called suicide “the worst enemy I have faced in my 37 years in the army.” This Thursday, the Army is calling a “Suicide Stand-Down.” All units will devote the day to suicide prevention. Continue reading…


Washington, Harriet. Do you really want to know your baby’s genetics? September 16, 2012.

Boy or girl? This you can easily discover, but wouldn’t you like to know more? If you could peer into your baby’s medical future, what traits would you most want assurance about? Most parents wouldn’t hesitate: a healthy child. Soon science will be able to help them with that more quickly, completely—and safely—than ever before. Continue reading…

  • Carol Pollard, Associate Director of the Yale Center, has selected some great additional articles to check out.  Click here.

The Petrie-Flom Center Staff

The Petrie-Flom Center staff often posts updates, announcements, and guests posts on behalf of others.

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