Listen: Social Justice-Oriented Bioethics

No Easy Answers in Bioethics Episode 25

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This month the Center was proud to officially announce its new name: Center for Bioethics and Social Justice. This name change reflects an updated mission with a focus on social justice-oriented bioethics. This episode features a conversation between Director Sean Valles, PhD, and Assistant Director Karen Kelly-Blake, PhD. Together they discuss moving forward in the bioethics space, what engaging in service to the people means to them, and the important work to be done to a create a healthier and more socially just world. They also explore questions related to the practical application of bioethics, and the challenge of preparing medical students for clinical practice in an inequitable world.

Ways to Listen

This episode was produced and edited by Liz McDaniel in the Center for Bioethics and Social Justice. Music: “While We Walk (2004)” by Antony Raijekov via Free Music Archive, licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License. Full episode transcript available.

About: No Easy Answers in Bioethics is a podcast series from the Center for Bioethics and Social Justice in the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. Center faculty and their collaborators discuss their ongoing work and research across many areas of bioethics. Episodes are hosted by H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online.

Center for Bioethics and Social Justice: new name, mission, and leadership

Green Spartan helmet with text: Center for Bioethics and Social Justice, College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University

The MSU Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences is proud to announce its new name: Center for Bioethics and Social Justice. This name change as of April 1 reflects an updated mission with a focus on social justice-oriented bioethics. The Center has a vision of a health system that is compassionate, respectful, and responsive to people’s needs, so that equity, inclusion, and social justice are available to all.

Photo of Sean Valles
Director Sean A. Valles, PhD

“Without an orientation, bioethics has no built-in real-world goals; it is merely a field of study. Doing social justice-oriented bioethics means we have a goal—advancing social justice in the real world with meaningful applications—as the north star for our journey as an institution,” said Center Director Sean A. Valles, PhD.

The updated name and mission follow the appointment of Valles as director earlier this year, along with the promotion of Karen Kelly-Blake, PhD, to assistant director.

“One key piece of the new name and mission is a rethinking and a recommitting of our identity,” said Valles. “The Center aims to be a hub for collaborations and conversations around the relationship between social justice and health. To do that, we will actively seek to engage with our college and university colleagues, local communities, and organizations in order to learn their concerns about the ways our society makes it hard to live a healthy life, and to begin trying to help.”

Photo of Karen Kelly-Blake
Assistant Director Karen Kelly-Blake, PhD

The Center’s mission is to educate health professionals with skills, knowledge, and attitudes necessary to contribute to a world in which health practices are equitable, inclusive, and bolstered by conditions of social justice; to research the nature of bioethics and enhance its applications to the pursuit of equitable, inclusive, and just healthy societies; and to engage researchers, clinicians, policymakers, and communities around shared interests in the attainment of a healthier and more just world.

“Building bridges among MSU experts and outward to communities is of value to everyone involved,” added Valles.

The Center began in 1977 with the formation of the Medical Humanities Program. In 1988, the program became the Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences. Faculty in the Center are committed to teaching medical students in the College of Human Medicine and developing social context of clinical decisions content for the Shared Discovery Curriculum. Center faculty are also committed to research, scholarship, and public outreach and education—all working toward the goal of creating a more just world.

Visit the Center’s website to learn more about its faculty and outreach activities, such as public seminars, podcast episodes, and monthly blog posts that explore timely bioethics topics.

Related: Announcing Center Director Sean A. Valles and Assistant Director Karen Kelly-Blake

Announcing the Fall 2019 Bioethics Brownbag & Webinar Series

Green brownbag/webinar iconThe Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences at Michigan State University is proud to announce the 2019-2020 Bioethics Brownbag & Webinar Series. The series will begin on October 16, 2019. You are invited to join us in person or watch live online from anywhere in the world! Information about the fall series is listed below. Please visit our website for more details, including the full description and speaker bio for each event.

Fall 2019 Series Flyer

Oct 16 calendar iconSpinal Cord Injury: Everything You Wanted to Know But Were Afraid to Ask
Wednesday, October 16, 2019

There are many dimensions to a happy and healthy life, and everyone would agree that life is complicated. But when multiplied by a spinal cord injury (SCI), the complexity of life can be off the charts—what we used to take for granted becomes a monumental challenge. This talk with explore life with SCI from a first-person perspective.

Mark Van Linden, MSA, is President of Adversity Solutions LLC and a spinal cord injury patient since 2009.

Nov 13 calendar iconSpeaking for the Dying: Life-and-Death Decisions in Intensive Care
Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Seven in ten older Americans who require medical decisions in the final days of life lack capacity to make them. For many of us, our biggest life-and-death decisions—literally—will therefore be made by someone else. But how will they decide for us?

Susan P. Shapiro, PhD, is a Research Professor at the American Bar Foundation.

In person: These lectures will take place from 12:00-1:00 PM in C102 (Patenge Room) East Fee Hall on MSU’s East Lansing campus. 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!

Can’t make it? Every lecture is recorded and posted for viewing in our archive. If you’d like to receive a reminder before each lecture, please subscribe to our mailing list.

Listen: Activating and Empowering Patients

No Easy Answers in Bioethics logoNo Easy Answers in Bioethics Episode 15

How can shared decision-making tools and evidence-based guidelines be used to ensure that every patient receives the best care possible? How can patients be activated and equipped to interact with their provider and manage their health condition? In this episode, three Michigan State University researchers—Dr. Bill Hart-Davidson, Professor in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures, Dr. Karen Kelly-Blake, Assistant Professor in the Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences and the Department of Medicine, and Dr. Ade Olomu, Professor of Medicine in the Department of Medicine—discuss a shared decision-making tool they developed called Office-GAP, Office-Guidelines Applied to Practice. Together they discuss the origins of the project, and the results so far in improving outcomes for patients managing chronic illness by using a simple checklist to get patients and providers on the same page.

Ways to Listen

This episode was produced and edited by Liz McDaniel in the Center for Ethics. Music: “While We Walk (2004)” by Antony Raijekov via Free Music Archive, licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License. Full episode transcript available.

About: No Easy Answers in Bioethics is a podcast series from the Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences in the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. Each month Center for Ethics faculty and their collaborators discuss their ongoing work and research across many areas of bioethics. Episodes are hosted by H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online.

Announcing the Spring 2019 Bioethics Brownbag & Webinar Series

bbag-icon-decIt’s almost time for the 2018-2019 Bioethics Brownbag & Webinar Series to resume! This spring we’ll hear from Center for Ethics faculty on the topics of aging and extending the human lifespan, as well as the social and ethical considerations of female cosmetic genital surgery. Please join us in person, or join the webinar livestream from any location. Visit the series webpage for more information.

Spring 2019 Series Flyer

February 13 calendar iconShould We Be Reaching for Immortality?
Wednesday, February 13, 2019

So long as life is good, who wouldn’t want to live as long as possible? The question turns out to be more complicated than it sounds.

Tom Tomlinson, PhD, is a Professor in the Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences and the Department of Philosophy at Michigan State University.

March 13 calendar iconFemale Cosmetic Genital Surgery: Social and Ethical Considerations
Wednesday, March 13, 2019

This talk will discuss the latest innovations in female cosmetic genital surgery, the history behind the medical community’s involvement in defining women’s sexuality, and the ethical and social challenges these surgeries present.

Devan Stahl, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences and the Department of Pediatrics and Human Development at Michigan State University.

In person: These lectures will take place from 12:00-1:00 PM in C102 (Patenge Room) East Fee Hall on MSU’s East Lansing campus. 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!

Can’t make it? Every lecture is recorded and posted for viewing in our archive. If you’d like to receive a reminder before each lecture, please subscribe to our mailing list.

Announcing the Fall 2018 Bioethics Brownbag & Webinar Series

bbag-icon-decThe Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences at Michigan State University is proud to announce the 2018-2019 Bioethics Brownbag & Webinar Series, which features a variety of bioethics topics. The series will begin on September 19, 2018. You are invited to join us in person or watch live online from anywhere in the world! Information about the fall series is listed below. Please visit our website for more details, including the full description and speaker bio for each event.

Fall 2018 Series Flyer

sept19-bbagTherapeutic Privilege in Psychiatry? The Case of Borderline Personality Disorder
Why do behavioral health care professionals often hesitate to discuss BPD with their patients even when it is clear they have this disorder?
Wednesday, September 19, 2018; C102 Patenge Room, East Fee Hall
Dominic A. Sisti, PhD, is Director, The Scattergood Program for Applied Ethics of Behavioral Health Care; Assistant Professor, Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy; Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

oct-10-bbagEnding Medical Self-Regulation: Does Less Physician Control Improve Patient Safety and Protect Patient Rights?
Wednesday, October 10, 2018; E4 Fee Hall
Thaddeus Mason Pope, JD, PhD, is Director of the Health Law Institute at Mitchell Hamline School of Law.

In person: These lectures will take place from 12:00-1:00 PM (Eastern Time) in East Fee Hall on MSU’s East Lansing campus. 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!

Can’t make it? Every lecture is recorded and posted for viewing in our archive. If you’d like to receive a reminder before each lecture, please subscribe to our mailing list.

Dr. Tomlinson co-author of medical education article

Tom Tomlinson photoCenter Director and Professor Dr. Tom Tomlinson is co-author of an article in the open access e-journal MedEdPublish. The article, “Reframing Professionalism: The Virtuous Professional,” was written by College of Human Medicine faculty members William Wadland, Margaret Thompson, Donna Mulder, Tom Tomlinson, Steven Roskos, John Foglio, John Molidor, and Janet Osuch.

Abstract: In response to prevalent unprofessional behaviors during the 1990s, the medical school administration at Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine developed a student curriculum for professional development, called “The Virtuous Student Physician.” However, as students adopted these professional aspirations and attributes, they noted that faculty members were not being held to the same standards.

The medical school’s senior associate dean for faculty affairs and development convened a task force to reframe professionalism for all faculty, residents, and students. Our first step was to survey our faculty regarding their awareness of the student professionalism curriculum and their own perceived professional weaknesses. This survey showed the following: most faculty members were aware of “The Virtuous Student Physician” curriculum, that faculty members identified social responsibility as the most difficult attribute to achieve, and that the most difficult behavior identified was working to resolve problem behaviors with colleagues.

The task force then developed a new curriculum “The Virtuous Professional: A System of Professional Development for Students, Residents, and Faculty.” The task force identified three core virtues (Courage, Humility, and Mercy) and reframed the professional attributes encompassed by these virtues to be aspirational for the entire learning community. The faculty of the College subsequently adopted the new principles and practices, including the use of routine, anonymous student evaluation of faculty professionalism.

We are currently collecting data from student evaluations of their clinical faculty members. We plan to use this feedback to guide faculty development and recognize those who model exemplary professionalism as well as to address those who engage in unprofessional behavior.

The full text is available online from AMEE MedEdPublish.

Dr. Stahl presents at Interdisciplinary Forum on Humanities in the Health Sciences

Devan Stahl photoOn Friday, March 30, Center Assistant Professor Dr. Devan Stahl participated in an Interdisciplinary Forum on Humanities in the Health Sciences, presented by the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies at Michigan State University.

The panel consisted of five presenters discussing their latest research: Drs. Elahe Crockett (Department of Medicine), Robert Root-Bernstein (Department of Physiology), Natalie Phillips (Department of English), William Hart-Davidson (Department of Writing, Rhetoric and American Cultures), and Dr. Stahl. Each presenter discussed bridges between arts and science, how essential synthesis and translation are to medical science, and the ambiguity inherent in art, communication, and medicine. Using resources from fine art, literature, and communication, each speaker showed how medicine can benefit from engagement with the humanities and vice versa. The event was well attended by faculty from all parts of the university who were eager to discuss how to engage in interdisciplinary work.

For more on Dr. Stahl’s work at the intersection of art and medicine, listen to Episode 7 of No Easy Answers in Bioethics, the Center’s monthly podcast.

Announcing the Spring 2018 Bioethics Brownbag & Webinar Series

green brownbag and webinar iconThis year’s Bioethics Brownbag & Webinar Series resumes in February. You are invited to join us in person or watch live online from anywhere in the world. Information about the spring series is listed below. Please visit our website for more details, including the full description and speaker bio for each event.

Spring 2018 Series Flyer

Feb 15 date iconWhat’s the point of Michigan’s vaccine waiver education requirement?
Are parents changing their minds as a result of mandatory vaccine education, or are they choosing to vaccinate rather than be inconvenienced by education sessions?
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Mark Navin, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Oakland University.

March 14 calendar iconPain But No Gain: Pain as a Problematic and Useless Concept?
Do references to pain help us with anything, or should we perhaps abandon pain as a “useless concept?”
Wednesday, March 14, 2018
Marleen Eijkholt, JD, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences and the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology in the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, and Clinical Ethics Consultant at Spectrum Health System.

April 11 calendar iconEthical Issues Related to Fundraising from Grateful Patients
How should the process of philanthropic development be structured in order to demonstrate respect for all persons involved?
Wednesday, April 11, 2018
Reshma Jagsi, MD, DPhil, is Professor and Deputy Chair in the Department of Radiation Oncology, and Director of the Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School.

In person: These lectures will take place in C102 (Patenge Room) East Fee Hall on MSU’s East Lansing campus. 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!

Can’t make it? Every lecture is recorded and posted for viewing in our archive. If you’d like to receive a reminder before each lecture, please subscribe to our mailing list.

Episode 2: Shared decision-making in medicine

No Easy Answers in Bioethics logoEpisode 2 of No Easy Answers in Bioethics is now available! Guests Dr. Henry Barry, Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Development in the College of Human Medicine, and Dr. Margaret Holmes-Rovner, Professor Emerita in the Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences and the Department of Medicine, discuss their often-overlapping and collaborative work in the areas of shared decision-making and evidence-based medicine. They reflect back on how they got started working in these areas at Michigan State University in the 1980s, and provide insight on where things currently stand.

Ways to Listen

This episode was produced and edited by Liz McDaniel in the Center for Ethics. Music: “While We Walk (2004)” by Antony Raijekov via Free Music Archive, licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License. Full transcript forthcoming.

About: No Easy Answers in Bioethics is a podcast series from the Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences in the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. Each month Center for Ethics faculty and their collaborators discuss their ongoing work and research across many areas of bioethics—clinical ethics, evidence-based medicine, health policy, medical education, neuroethics, shared decision-making, and more. Episodes are hosted by H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online.