About the Center for Ethics’ current Professorial Assistants

Honors_College_logoEach year, approximately 200 freshmen are appointed as Professorial Assistants (PAs). PAs work with regular members of the teaching faculty on tasks directly related either to scholarly research or to innovative teaching. — MSU Honors College

The Center currently has five PAs working on projects with respective faculty members Len Fleck, PhD; Margaret Holmes-Rovner, PhD; Karen Kelly-Blake, PhD; and Ann Mongoven, PhD, MPH.

Clinical Communication Following a Decision Aid 
AHRQ-funded research grant
Dr. Margaret Holmes-Rovner has worked with sophomore Jesse Whitfield on research on how patients and their physicians make treatment decisions in early-stage prostate cancer. Jesse has helped to code and analyze transcripts of doctor-patient encounters. Dr. Holmes-Rovner says the quality of Jesse’s work and the pleasure of working with smart and eager students enhance the research experience for her. The grant research team has three manuscripts in preparation for publication.

Jesse Whitfield is an Animal Science major through Lyman Briggs College with an Animal Biology/Pre-Veterinary focus and a Nutritional Sciences minor. Currently, Jesse is incredibly interested in animal industry and the global food system. Her goal is to be a veterinarian and either work in private practice or for the government.

Shared Decision-Making (SDM) Curriculum Project
A team consisting of Rebecca Henry (OMERAD), Robin DeMuth (Family Medicine), Karen Kelly-Blake, and Margaret Holmes-Rovner is conducting a literature review describing effective undergraduate and graduate medical education curricula and learner outcomes for SDM that will inform future training and assessment efforts to ensure students’ mastery of core concepts. Max Harder leads the data analysis and is first author of the manuscript.

Max Harder is a double major in Political Science and Prelaw and Communication. Max has a strong interest in leadership development, and tries to implement it into both his studies and his work as a PA. He plans to earn a linked B.A.-M.A. Communications degree from MSU and then to attend law school.

Linking Community Engagement Research to Public Health Biobank Practice
NIH-funded research grant

Matt Peters, a freshman at MSU, has been learning about qualitative analysis techniques as he helps Ann Mongoven and her research team to “code,” in a computer database, conversational data from citizen deliberations on biobanking. The coding allows us to trace the development of group and individual views, and assess quality of deliberations.

Matt Peters is majoring in Microbiology. His interests include ethics in medicine, and the application of microbiology in environmental science. His current goals are to achieve a 4.0 grade point average in the next semester and to find interesting career paths.

Len Fleck
Mitchell Pawlak, who is in his second year as a PA, has been doing research for Dr. Fleck related to personalized medicine and pharmacogenomics. This has resulted in two published articles so far plus a book proposal on the same topic for Oxford University Press and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This book will address the topic from ethical and public policy perspectives.

Mitchell Pawlak is a pre-med Human Biology major. He is also pursuing a degree in political science. Mitchell intends to become a practicing physician.

Khadija Khan started as a PA with Dr. Fleck in the fall, and is still getting oriented to the project. Khadija is a pre-med Biology major. Her interests are in public health and ethics. She has been doing some preliminary comparative research regarding health care systems and policy in Thailand, India, and Pakistan.

About Michigan State Bioethics

Devoted to understanding and teaching the ethical, social and humanistic dimensions of illness and health care since 1977.
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