The Undergraduate Bioethics Society: a new space for thinking about current issues in bioethics

JordanKriegercrop Guest Editorial
By Jordan Krieger, President
Undergraduate Bioethics Society, Michigan State University

We are in the era of medicine and health care. Currently, changes are being made to the United States health care system through the Affordable Care Act; research is constantly improving the medical technologies available to health care professionals, and people are facing a whole new set of chronic diseases. With the changes and advancements in the medical field also comes an expanse of ethical and moral questions that must be asked.

The Undergraduate Bioethics Society (UBS) is a student organization committed to increasing awareness of, and cultivating student interest in ethical issues in medicine, healthcare, biotechnology, and biomedical research. The organization will hold bi-weekly meetings on Tuesday nights; from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Locations will be announced as meeting dates approach. These gatherings will not be mandatory, but will be great fun so be sure to join us! Meetings will feature various faculty and professional speakers followed by a student based discussion, as well as service projects, fundraising, field trips, and student debates centered on previously determined topics.

Already, members of UBS have had an opportunity to explore different ethical issues in health care by attending the National Undergraduate Bioethics Conference (NUBC) at Loyola University in Chicago, April 4-6 of this year. While listening to various speakers and the “bioethics bowl” (NUBC’s version of a debate competition), students were able to listen to and explore various topics of interest to them within the health care field, all while exploring the wonder that is Downtown Chicago! Aside from the keynote speaker T.R. Reid, the presentations were all done by students our age about topics such as end-of-life decision making, prisoner organ donation, electronic records, surrogacy and other various controversial areas. Reid talked about various health care systems around the world, and elaborated by making recommendations for our very own system here in the United States. Since NUBC is an annual event, with enough preparation, the organization hopes to continue sending individuals to the conference to listen, present and, if they are up to it, compete in the bioethics bowl. The location for the 2015 will be Florida State University, we will have more updates as plans for the conference move forward.

If you are interested in being a part of UBS, or if you have any questions, we encourage you to email us at ubs@msu.edu to be added to the mailing list and become notified when we have upcoming events. There will be a membership fee of $20 but that includes an awesome UBS t-shirt as well as food and refreshments at most meetings.

Members of the UBS e-board will have a booth set up at Sparticipation in the Fall and we invite you to approach us with any questions or recommendations you may have for our organization. We are a society of the students, for the students, and your input matters to us. In the meantime remember; when it comes to bioethics, there are no easy answers!

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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