Tobias Haeusermann is an affiliated researcher and student supervisor at the Department of Sociology at the University of Cambridge, where he received his PhD in 2016. At Cambridge he teaches and instructs undergraduate students for the HSPS Tripos “Introduction to Sociology: Modern Societies I” and the paper “Social Context of Health and Illness” within the Medical and Veterinary Sciences Tripos. He previously was a post-doctoral fellow at the Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute (EBPI) at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. He was also our Caroline Miles visiting scholar in February 2018.
In the wake of ever decreasing costs for analysing genetic information, companies such as 23andMe, FamilyTreeDNA, and Ancestry.com now provide customers easy and affordable access to their genetic data. In particular, tracing one’s ancestry is steadily gaining popularity, above all in nations with a rich history of immigration. When used to find lost family members and ties or to seek connection to other people and places, such tests can be of great value. Yet even then, one runs the risk of altering their self-perception, which, as a result, can lead to profound psychological distress for individuals and their families alike. We should therefore tread carefully when digging up family roots, as we may unearth some uncomfortable truths about the present.
Continue reading “In 2018, Let’s Root Out Genetic Racism For Good”
Suzanne Metselaar, Dept. of Medical Humanities, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam and Gerben Meynen, Humanities, Dept. of Philosophy, VU University, Amsterdam, and Ruth Horn and Michael Dunn from the Ethox Center, Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities, University of Oxford
Making the transition from being a student to becoming part of an international community of bioethicists can be a challenge. What to expect when participating in conferences? How to critically engage in current bioethical debates? How to bring your point across as convincingly as possible, but to do this in a respectful way, acknowledging the work done by others?
In order to support students in making this transition, we have been organizing an annual Winter School for students of the MA-program Philosophy, Bioethics, and Health (PBH), a two-year MA-program of Philosophy and Medical Humanities, VU University (Medical Center) in Amsterdam. The Winterschool January 2018 was its 5th edition. Continue reading “Oxford-Amsterdam Winter School – 5th edition!”
Karin Jongsma is an assistant professor of medical ethics at the Julius Center of Utrecht University Medical Center, the Netherlands and a Post-doctoral fellow at the department of Medical Ethics and History of Medicine in Göttingen, Germany. She was also our Caroline Miles visiting scholar in November 2017.
She works with Prof. Dr. Annelien Bredenoord (Utrecht) and Prof. Dr. Silke Schicktanz (Göttingen). Her research focuses on who should have a say in decision-making and representative practices, and she is particularly interested in digital health.
Apps and big data are increasingly used to track, analyse and predict health and health behaviour via smartphones, wearables and via online behaviour. Health care has a history of failed IT investments, and health research has a reputation of being expensive to innovate in, but commercial tech-companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple have succeeded in creating momentum towards a digital change. These companies have developed and implemented technologies that offer innovative ways for collecting, storing and analysing complex and rich health-related data. This data driven research and care may be referred to as digital health. The rising attention for big data and digital health has come with high expectations and is supposedly paradigm-changing. It is hoped that the possibilities of doing research and monitoring patients and not yet patients will create new ways of predicting, treating and preventing illnesses (eg Topol 2015), but digital health will simultaneously create new risks and harm and will shift the dynamics of health research and health care.
Continue reading “Do traditional bioethical solutions suffice in times of digital health?”
We had a great talk here at Ethox a few weeks ago by Dr Steve Clarke, on sacred values and the sanctity of life. Steve is a Senior Research Associate in the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics and a Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, Charles Stuart University.
If you missed this talk, you can listen again here…
Listen to Dr Steve Clarke’s talk here
Continue reading “Sacred Values and the Sanctity of Life”
Morten Fibieger Byskov is a postdoctoral researcher with the department of Communication, Philosophy, and Technology at Wageningen University & Research, the Netherlands, and our current Caroline Miles visiting scholar.
Multi-drug resistant organisms (MDROs), or antimicrobial resistance (AMR), pose a dire threat to individual and public health. Not only is AMR a danger to vulnerable individuals who require antibiotic treatment, but the over- and misuse of antibiotics also threatens the effectiveness of antibiotics for future generations. As such, AMR presents a unique problem for public health ethics and healthcare ethics that should ideally address ethical issues at both the public and individual level.
Continue reading “The Ethics of AMR Carriership”
Amy Caruso Brown, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at SUNY Upstate Medical University, and our 2017 Andrew Markus visiting scholar
Two years ago, SUNY Upstate Medical University, an American medical school located in Upstate New York, underwent an intensive curricular reform. Previous required coursework in bioethics and in public health was reorganised and integrated into a new longitudinal course, spanning the first two years of the four-year curriculum. Within the course, students meet in small groups approximately once a week for three hours of discussion; each session includes two cases with a shared theme. For example, one such session focused on trauma and violence: the first case involved an adolescent who had attempted suicide, using a parent’s handgun, and the second involved a woman who survived sexual violence as a refugee and presented with chronic abdominal pain. Pairs of faculty with expertise in bioethics and public health guide students to consider not only what to do medically for the hypothetical patient but also how to navigate social, cultural, legal, and economic concerns. Working outward from the level of the interaction between the individual physician and patient, students are eventually asked to consider their obligations to advocate for individual patients, for their local communities, and for policies at regional, state, national and international levels, in order to promote human health. Continue reading “Tensions and challenges in a justice-oriented bioethics curriculum for medical students”
Angeliki Kerasidou and Patricia Kingori, Ethox Centre
On Saturday the 10th of August, the Nobel-prize winning physicist Steven Hawking, addressed an audience at the Royal Society of Medicine. Over his illustrious career Hawking has become used to taking in public about his work in mathematics and physics. On this occasion however, he ceased the opportunity to draw attention to his lifelong experience of the NHS. His address, which was also published in a daily newspaper the day before, raised concern about recent NHS reforms and the “political decisions” that have brought it to the point of crisis. He listed underfunding, public sector pay cap, new junior doctor contracts, removal of student nurses’ bursary and ceaseless drive towards privatisation as hindering the NHS from providing high quality care. In response, war of words and statistics ensued with Jeremy Hunt accusing Hawking of “pernicious falsehoods”. Where facts and figures can ping-pong between opposing sides and become political instruments to justify particular actions, personal experiences of the reforms can help elucidate the reality behind the numbers. Continue reading “Mr Hunt, weekend effect aside, the NHS is in crisis – both patients and staff experience it”