Dr. Cabrera receives College of Human Medicine Teacher-Scholar Award

Dr. Laura Cabrera, Assistant Professor in the Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences and Department of Translational Science & Molecular Medicine, received the Teacher-Scholar Award as part of the Fall 2018 Faculty Awards from the College of Human Medicine.

This award recognizes junior faculty for achievements in the early stages of their MSU career, and for their devotion to and skill in teaching.

Dr. Cabrera is pictured below with Center Acting Director Dr. Leonard Fleck.

Leonard Fleck and Laura Cabrera hold the Teacher-Scholar award

Visit the College of Human Medicine’s website to learn about all Fall 2018 Faculty Award recipients.

Recognizing the work of Class of 2015 MSU College of Human Medicine students

MSU-Seal-Green_RGB-1-inchAs we approach the end of another academic year, the Center would like to highlight the work of several Class of 2015 MSU College of Human Medicine (CHM) students who were recently honored at a CHM awards banquet: Alison Case, recipient of a 2015 Education and Advocacy Fellow (EAF) by the American Medical Student Association, and a 2015 Arnold P. Gold Foundation Gold Humanism Honor Society student inductee; Stacie Clark, a CHM Class of 2015 Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society student inductee; Virginia Corbett, a 2015 Arnold P. Gold Foundation Gold Humanism Honor Society student inductee; Erika Phelps Nishiguchi, a 2015 Arnold P. Gold Foundation Gold Humanism Honor Society student inductee; Yasaswi Paruchuri, recipient of the 2015 Excellence in Public Health Award by the U.S. Public Service Professional Advisory Committee, and a 2015 Arnold P. Gold Foundation Gold Humanism Honor Society student inductee.

Center Professor Dr. Leonard Fleck spoke of his work with Alison Case, Virginia Corbett, and Yasaswi Paruchuri:

“Medical students have massive amounts of material they must master and numerous skills they must acquire. In spite of that, many of these students find time to engage in extra-curricular or co-curricular activities that have considerable social value. Three such students were Alison Case, Virginia Corbett, and Yasaswi Paruchuri. Together they created, as first-year medical students, the Social Responsibility elective. The goal of this elective was to broaden the sensitivities of medical students to the broader social responsibilities that would require the attention and energy of themselves as future physicians. The elective was well-designed, engaging and thought-provoking. It was a valuable addition to the medical education of the students who participated, even though it would not earn any of them even an extra point on Step One of Boards. Finally, all three of these students deserve additional accolades for the many social projects they themselves engaged in after the course itself. They practiced what they preached.”

Center Assistant Professor Dr. Karen Kelly-Blake on her work with Stacie Clark:

“Stacie Clark has worked with me on two separate projects here at the Center. Currently, our work is a secondary data analysis of patient-clinician encounters. Ms. Clark has been instrumental in developing the codebook and in identifying and defining the themes that are emerging from the data. She will also be the second author on the manuscript resulting from this study. She is professional, interested in learning new skills and concepts, and willing to lead various assignments. She has been incredible! I am so pleased and proud that I have had the opportunity to work with her, and I expect that she will continue to make CHM proud in her future career endeavors.”

Center Director and Professor Dr. Tom Tomlinson on his work with Erika Phelps Nishiguchi:

“Erika was a tremendous help to me and to Sparrow Hospital as we worked on revising the hospital’s code policy to eliminate the use of “partial codes,” substituting a “pre-arrest plan of care” in its place. Even now, as she prepares to begin her Pediatrics residency at Seattle Children’s Hospital, she continues to work with me on developing a training program in having productive end-of-life conversations with families whose loved one is in the ICU. She’s a joy to work with, and I’m privileged to know her.”

Center Assistant Director Libby Bogdan-Lovis on her work with Yasaswi Paruchuri:

“During her second year of medical school Yasaswi Paruchuri participated in a research collaboration for The Journal of Clinical Ethics, Special Issue on Place of Birth Fall 2013, 24(3). For that issue she co-authored (with Ray De Vries, Saraswathi Vedum, and fellow CHM student Kathleen Lorenz) “Moral Science: Ethical Argument and the Production of Knowledge about Place of Birth” (pp. 225-338). Ms. Paruchuri later worked with Center for Ethics faculty in her third year, when composing her short history “Virginia Apgar: Our Jimmy.” That brief history of Virginia Apgar, known best for her pioneering development of the eponymous postpartum “Apgar” scoring system to assess the postpartum status of the newborn, reveals a lesser known side of Dr. Apgar’s very interesting life. The piece was accepted for publication in the spring 2014 issue of Hektoen: A Journal of Medical Humanities. Ms. Paruchuri then continued her exploration of neonatology’s history through a research elective on the history of neonatal resuscitation during a University of Washington, Seattle Children’s Hospital NICU rotation. These initiatives reflect Yasaswi Paruchuri’s passions – she experiences a depth of understanding and caring for humankind that is manifested in her multifaceted pursuits, embodying CHM’s mission to “serve the people.””

Statewide Campus System Medical Ethics Day

MSU-Seal-Green_RGB-1-inchLast week, close to 80 medical residents from different specialties participated in the College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Statewide Campus System  Medical Ethics Day. Ethics Day provides training in clinical ethics for osteopathic residents in various specialties from around the state.

The morning session included two presentations, one by MSU CHM West Instructor Dr. Michael Wassenaar on Tools for Ethical Problem Solving, and the second by Center Professor Dr. Len Fleck on The Ethical Challenges of Parsimonious Care. In the afternoon, the residents were split into small groups; each group had the opportunity to engage in discussion and analysis of several medical ethics cases. Ethical issues presented by these cases included complex topics such as surgical sterilization, access to high costs procedures and medications, and palliative care. Center Undergraduate Adviser Monica List led one of the small group discussions.

This is the tenth year that CEHLS faculty have helped facilitate the Statewide Campus System Medical Ethics Day. Ethics Day is held every fall.

Read more about the COM Statewide Campus System.

New Curriculum: College of Human Medicine

MSU-Seal-Green_RGB-1-inchThe CEHLS faculty members are pleased to be participating in the ongoing development of the ‘New Curriculum’ in the College of Human Medicine (CHM) MD program. Our faculty serves on many related committees. Within the Center for Ethics – Karen Kelly-Blake, Libby Bogdan-Lovis, Len Fleck, Ann Mongoven, and Tom Tomlinson comprise the Ethics/Policy/Social Context/Medical Humanities Working Group. At the college level – Len Fleck and Karen Kelly-Blake sit on the Advisory Group to the New Curriculum Design Team.

In preparation for moving the ‘New Curriculum’ forward in the Michigan State University governance process, various CHM working groups are fine-tuning course structure and content. Over the summer Center faculty are working with: the Early Clinical Experience and Learning Societies (Libby Bogdan-Lovis); Middle Clinical Experience (Len Fleck); and Intersessions (Tom Tomlinson). This comprehensive pedagogical initiative provides an opportunity to design innovative educational and training experiences for future physicians.

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. Continue reading to meet the Center’s PAs and the projects they are working on…

25th Annual MSU Geriatric Symposium

msu-geriatric-sympThe Center’s Director, Tom Tomlinson, will be speaking this Friday, April 19 at the 25th Annual MSU Geriatric Symposium. This full-day conference will take place at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center, and aims to present an approach to challenging conversations that healthcare professionals often need to have with older adults as they adjust to life changing transitions. These transitions relate to driving, management of finances, housing, disability, and palliative care. These conversations may raise the often delicate ethical issues of autonomy or paternalism. An ethical framework and structured approach for having each of these conversations will be discussed.

Dr. Tomlinson’s lecture will be an “Ethics Overview,” discussing the principle of “respect for autonomy” and its limitations, as well as methods of promoting autonomy to older adults in an appropriate manner.

This conference is intended for health professionals who care for older adults. For more information, visit the Geriatric Education Center of Michigan’s website.

Saving Babies? The Consequences of Newborn Genetic Screening

saving-babiesJoin us for a special brownbag lecture with Stefan Timmermans, author of Saving Babies? The Consequences of Newborn Genetic Screening. The lecture is co-sponsored by the Department of Sociology, Lyman Briggs College, and the Center for Ethics.

Saving Babies? The Consequences of Newborn Genetic Screening

In 2006, U.S. states expanded their newborn screening programs. From screening newborns for 3-8 conditions, all babies born in the U.S. are now screened for up to 55 rare genetic conditions. The adoption of new screening technologies has generated diagnostic uncertainty about the nature of screening targets making it unclear not only whether a newborn will develop a disease but also what the condition actually is. Based on observations in a genetics clinic and in-depth interviews with parents and geneticists, I examine how parents and clinical staff work out the social significance of uncertain newborn screening results. I find that some newborns will experience a specific trajectory of prolonged liminality between a state of normal health and pathology. I suggest “patients-in-waiting” as a concept for those under medical surveillance between health and disease. In addition, I examine how due to screening the known diseases become ontologically unsettled, requiring bridging work in the clinic to gradually revise their understanding of the clinical nature of conditions unsettled by population-based newborn screening. I illustrate how clinicians bridge the gap between what was known about a disease prior to screening and seemingly anomalous screening results, resulting in an ontological transformation of disease categories.

apr12The lecture will take place on Friday, April 12 at 12:30 pm, in room 116 in the Natural Sciences building on MSU’s East Lansing campus. Please feel free to bring your lunch!

Stefan Timmermans is Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociology at UCLA. He has written 4 books, most recently Saving Babies? The Consequences of Newborn Genetic Screening, and Postmortem: How Medical Examiners Explain Suspicious Deaths, both from the University of Chicago Press. In his research he draws from medical sociology and science studies and uses ethnographic and historical methods to address key issues in the for-profit U.S. health care system. He has conducted research on medical technologies, health professions, death and dying, and population health, and is currently studying whole exome sequencing and the community spillover effects of lack of health insurance.

Event flyer: Saving Babies brownbag lecture

Who Decides When You Die?

NMU-logoThe Center’s Director, Tom Tomlinson, participated in Northern Michigan University’s Your Health Lecture Series on Thursday, March 14, 2013. The series is open a broad public audience, engaging in a variety of health topics.

Dr. Tomlinson’s lecture, End of Life – Who Decides When You Die? deals with the questions that come up at the end of life, including many factors that come into play from the perspective of the doctor, patient, and families, and how difficult it can be to get everyone on the same page.

You can view Dr. Tomlinson’s lecture by visiting the NMU site for this series: nmu.edu/yourhealth/.

Former Center for Ethics Director Howard Brody joins spring Bioethics Brownbag & Webinar Series

bbag-iconEconomism and the Unavoidable Activism of Bioethics

Examining medicine’s relationship with the pharmaceutical industry, and how health policy and cost containment in the U.S. may persuade one of two things: first, bioethics was born out of social activism and cannot escape its activist tendencies; second, an ideology (called economism, neoliberalism, and various other names) has seized control of much of American political and popular thought, and allows little space for a robust debate and analysis of many of the issues bioethics ought to be most concerned about. An unavoidable need for activism in bioethics today is to take on this ideology, reveal its defects, and call for alternative frameworks of thought that will allow important bioethical issues to be addressed in a more fruitful way.

mar26Join us for Dr. Brody’s lecture on Tuesday, March 26, 2013 from noon till 1 pm in person or online:

In person: The lecture will take place in East Fee Hall on MSU’s East Lansing campus, in room E4 (first floor next to bookstore lobby area). Feel free to bring your lunch! Beverages and light snacks will be provided.

Online: Here are some instructions for your first time joining the webinar, or if you have attended or viewed them before, go to the meeting!

Howard Brody, MD, PhD, is Director of the Institute for the Medical Humanities and the John P. McGovern Centennial Chair in Family Medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. His most recent books are The Future of Bioethics (2009) and The Golden Calf: Economism and American Policy (2012). Before moving to UTMB in 2006 he spent 26 years in the Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences and the Department of Family Practice at MSU. Much of his recent work addresses the interface between bioethics and health policy, especially ethical cost containment and medicine’s relationship with the pharmaceutical industry.

Event flyer: MAR26 BB_Webinar ad 12_13

What Patients and Families Don’t Need to Know: Sparrow Ethics Grand Rounds February 20

sparrowThe Center’s director, Tom Tomlinson, PhD, will be presenting at Sparrow Health System’s Critical Care Conference on Wednesday, February 20 with Larry Rawsthorne, MD, of the Pulmonary and Critical Care Consultants.

What Patients and Families Don’t Need to Know

The reigning wisdom is that more information is better. If the physician has any information about the patient’s medical condition or treatment options, the patient or family should always be told. In this presentation this assumption will be challenged. Information has consequences, and sometimes those might leave the patient worse off. Using examples from critical care, a variety of circumstances will be illustrated and discussed in which the “right to know” is in tension with the patient’s best interests, and we wonder: should I keep this to myself?

Importance: Knowing how to make well-reasoned decisions about the sharing of information is critical to the exercise of physicians’ responsibilities to their patients in critical care.

Wednesday, February 20, 12-1 pm
Sparrow Auditorium

For more information, see the Sparrow website.