Misti Ault Anderson – blog.Bioethics.gov https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog The blog of the 2009 - 2017 Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues Mon, 09 Jan 2017 23:23:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 New Bioethics Commission Classroom Discussion Guides Now Available https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2015/09/29/new-bioethics-commission-classroom-discussion-guides-now-available/ https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2015/09/29/new-bioethics-commission-classroom-discussion-guides-now-available/#respond Tue, 29 Sep 2015 18:33:59 +0000 https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/?p=1724 The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (Bioethics Commission) has released two Classroom Discussion Guides to help instructors at various educational levels integrate ethics discussions into their courses. The discussion guides explore contemporary issues that have been addressed by the Bioethics Commission.

The classroom discussion guides provide prompts and questions that instructors can use to initiate and guide group discussion about ethical issues relevant to the subject matter being taught. Discussion questions are accompanied by a set of points that might arise in the conversation to help instructors prepare for and guide the discussion as needed.

The Classroom Discussion Guide on Ethics and Public Health Emergencies addresses two ethically relevant topics that the Bioethics Commission considered in its report Ethics and Ebola: Public Health Planning and Response: ethical considerations of implementing quarantine and isolation, and clinical trials for vaccines and treatments during a public health emergency. The Classroom Discussion Guide on Ethics and Neuroscience addresses three topics that have captured the public’s attention, and which relate to the Bioethics Commission’s report Gray Matters: Topics at the Intersection of Neuroscience, Ethics, and Society. Those topics are cognitive enhancement, inclusion of dementia patients in neuroscience research, and the use of neuroscience in the courtroom.

These new resources add to a collection of educational materials that the Bioethics Commission has developed to support the integration of bioethics education in many disciplines in traditional and nontraditional educational and professional settings. Additional classroom discussion guides are under development and will be released upon completion.

All Bioethics Commission educational materials are free and available at www.bioethics.gov/education. The Bioethics Commission encourages feedback on its materials via email to education@bioethics.gov.

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New Bioethics Commission Public Health Case Studies Now Available https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2015/09/21/new-bioethics-commission-public-health-case-studies-now-available/ https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2015/09/21/new-bioethics-commission-public-health-case-studies-now-available/#respond Mon, 21 Sep 2015 19:02:55 +0000 https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/?p=1736 Last week, the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (Bioethics Commission) released a set of Public Health Case Studies that provides professionals and educators with opportunities to explore ethical issues that might arise in the course of their work or students’ future work. The case studies explore contemporary issues that have been addressed by the Bioethics Commission.

The set includes a background document and two case studies. The Public Health Case Studies Background provides information on the Bioethics Commission’s work on topics relevant to public health researchers and practitioners, a description of the newly available cases, and a list of additional resources to support educators and professionals that use case studies to teach and learn about public health ethics. Case 1 focuses on the ethical use of liberty-restricting public health measures such as quarantine, and uses a scenario in which the reader is asked to assess a situation and advise a local school board on what action to take. Case 2 addresses communication during a public health emergency, and presents a situation in which a local public health department must decide how to handle public communication in the midst of a rapidly evolving public health emergency.

The case studies describe case scenarios, provide a brief analysis of the ethical dimensions of the cases and the Bioethics Commission’s consideration of the topics, and present questions for group discussion about the cases.

Additional public health case studies are under development and will be released upon completion. All Bioethics Commission educational materials are free and available at www.bioethics.gov/education.

The Bioethics Commission encourages feedback on its materials via email to education@bioethics.gov.

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New Bioethics Commission Educational Materials and Improved Website Access https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2015/09/14/new-bioethics-commission-educational-materials-and-improved-website-access/ https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2015/09/14/new-bioethics-commission-educational-materials-and-improved-website-access/#respond Mon, 14 Sep 2015 15:47:47 +0000 https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/?p=1711 The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (Bioethics Commission) has released new educational materials and unveiled a reorganized webpage to facilitate easier access to all of its educational resources.

New materials include Users Guides that provide field-specific directories to Bioethics Commission educational materials, Public Health Case Studies that provide public health professionals and educators with opportunities to explore ethical issues that might arise in the course of their work, and Classroom Discussion Guides that provide prompts and questions that instructors at various educational levels can use to integrate ethics into their classes. These new resources add to a collection of educational materials that the Bioethics Commission has developed and made available to support the integration of bioethics into many disciplines in traditional and nontraditional educational and professional settings.

The Users Guides are designed to help professionals and educators quickly identify the most relevant materials for their needs. Guides are currently available for Researchers, Human Subjects Researchers, Public Health Professionals, Legal Educators, Public Policy Educators, and Science Educators. Future blogs will highlight the new Public Health Case Studies and Classroom Discussion Guides.

The updated education webpage facilitates access to Bioethics Commission educational materials by grouping them by categories. Categories include Users Guides for professionals in various fields, Primers for professionals and the public, Teaching Tools for educators and professional training instructors, and Videos for all audiences.

All Bioethics Commission educational materials are free and available at www.bioethics.gov/education. The Bioethics Commission encourages feedback on its materials via email to education@bioethics.gov.

 

 

 

 

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Bioethics Commission Recommends Multidisciplinary Efforts to Support Neuroscience and Ethics Research and Education https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2015/07/01/bioethics-commission-recommends-multidisciplinary-efforts-to-support-neuroscience-and-ethics-research-and-education/ https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2015/07/01/bioethics-commission-recommends-multidisciplinary-efforts-to-support-neuroscience-and-ethics-research-and-education/#respond Wed, 01 Jul 2015 17:35:42 +0000 https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/?p=1662 On March 26 the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (Bioethics Commission) released the second volume of its two-volume report on neuroscience and ethics, Gray Matters: Topics at the Intersection of Neuroscience, Ethics, and Society (Gray Matters, Vol. 2), which takes an in-depth look at three topics that have captured the public’s attention: neural modification, including cognitive enhancement, consent capacity, and neuroscience and the legal system.

In Gray Matters, Vol. 2 the Bioethics Commission calls for research on several critical topics to help address unresolved empirical scientific and policy questions. Research requires support in the form of funding, personnel, and other resources. The Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, as a White House Grand Challenge, is well positioned to establish and support efforts to bring together multidisciplinary expertise to advance research and education at the intersection of neuroscience, ethics, and society. The Bioethics Commission recommended that:

The BRAIN Initiative should establish and fund organized, independent, multidisciplinary efforts to support neuroscience and ethics research and education, including the activities recommended in this report.

Organized, independent, multidisciplinary efforts would provide necessary infrastructure to address ethics integration, education, and research. They also should support the development and dissemination of educational tools including training materials and guidance, among others, for various audiences to facilitate informed public debate.

The Bioethics Commission acknowledged several examples of how such efforts could be structured, and encouraged the architects of the new BRAIN Initiative supported efforts to look to these examples to discern the best approach.

Gray Matters, Vol. 2 and all other Bioethics Commission reports are available at Bioethics.gov.

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Bioethics Commission Releases Final Neuroscience Report as Part of BRAIN Initiative: Focuses on Controversial Topics that Must be Addressed if Neuroscience is to Progress and be Applied Ethically https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2015/03/26/bioethics-commission-releases-final-neuroscience-report-as-part-of-brain-initiative-focuses-on-controversial-topics-that-must-be-addressed-if-neuroscience-is-to-progress-and-be-applied-ethically/ https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2015/03/26/bioethics-commission-releases-final-neuroscience-report-as-part-of-brain-initiative-focuses-on-controversial-topics-that-must-be-addressed-if-neuroscience-is-to-progress-and-be-applied-ethically/#respond Thu, 26 Mar 2015 12:01:50 +0000 https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/?p=1592 The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues today released Gray Matters: Topics at the Intersection of Neuroscience, Ethics, and Society (Gray Matters, Vol. 2), the second of its two volume report in response to President Obama’s BRAIN Initiative related charge. The President requested that the Bioethics Commission consider the ethical issues associated with neuroscience research and the application and implications of neuroscience research findings. Gray Matters, Vol. 2takes an in-depth look at three controversial topics at the intersection of neuroscience and society that have captured the public’s attention—cognitive enhancement, consent capacity, and neuroscience within the legal system. In the first volume, Gray Matters: Integrative Approaches for Neuroscience, Ethics, and Society, released in May 2014, the Bioethics Commission emphasized the importance of integrating ethics and neuroscience early and explicitly throughout the research endeavor. Programs that integrate neuroscience and ethics will be well-positioned to answer new and remaining ethical questions, consider societal implications of neuroscience research, educate the public, and implement policy recommendations. The three topics addressed in Gray Matters, Vol. 2 illustrate the ethical tensions and societal implications of advancing neuroscience and technology, and bring into heightened relief many important ethical considerations.

Contemporary neuroscience research offers us the opportunity to better understand the human brain and support the development of new or more effective diagnostic tools, treatments, preventions, and cures for neurological disorders and psychiatric conditions that affect tens of millions of individuals in the United States, and more than a billion globally. In addition, it has the potential to lead to a deeper understanding of our cognition, emotion, imagination, behavior, memory, learning, and social interactions.

Amid public and scholarly debate surrounding cognitive enhancement, consent capacity, and neuroscience within the legal system, Gray Matters, Vol. 2 seeks to clarify for the public the current scientific landscape, clear a path to productive discourse to navigate difficult issues as they arise, and identify common ground where it exists.

The Bioethics Commission offers 14 recommendations to guide the ethical progress of neuroscience research and its applications. The recommendations call for attention to fundamental ethical concerns regarding, for example, justice and stigmatization of groups and individuals; research to clarify persistent questions and fill gaps in our current state of knowledge; accurate communication about the ethical and practical implications and application of neuroscience research results; clarity around legal requirements and new guidance where needed; and the need to support and advance innovative multidisciplinary research and scholarship at the critically important intersection of neuroscience, ethics, and society.

The report is available at Bioethics.gov. Additional posts about the Bioethics Commission’s recommendations will be highlighted here on blog.Bioethics.gov throughout this spring.

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Bioethics Commission Releases First Neuroscience Report as Part of BRAIN Initiative: Calls for Explicit Integration of Ethics Throughout Neuroscience Research https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2014/05/14/bioethics-commission-releases-first-neuroscience-report-as-part-of-brain-initiative-calls-for-explicit-integration-of-ethics-throughout-neuroscience-research/ https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2014/05/14/bioethics-commission-releases-first-neuroscience-report-as-part-of-brain-initiative-calls-for-explicit-integration-of-ethics-throughout-neuroscience-research/#respond Wed, 14 May 2014 13:05:53 +0000 https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/?p=1294 Earlier today, the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues released its report, Gray Matters: Integrative Approaches for Neuroscience, Ethics, and Society (Gray Matters, Vol. 1), the first of two reports it will produce in response to President Obama’s charge to consider the ethical issues associated with neuroscience research and the application and implications of neuroscience research findings.  Gray Matters, Vol. 1 examines the integration of ethics into neuroscience research across the research endeavor. Early integration of ethics and neuroscience will help researchers, policymakers, and the public to recognize and address the ethical and societal implications of neuroscience research and its applications, which the Bioethics Commission will consider in more detail in a later report.

In this report, the Bioethics Commission noted that many of the ethical implications that neuroscience researchers and funders will encounter are not unique to the field, but might be expressed in sharper relief in neuroscience.  For instance, there are privacy implications in many types of biomedical research.  In neuroscience, however, privacy concerns can extend beyond medical information to include the privacy of one’s thoughts if, for example, neuroimaging is ever able to make inferences about truth telling or criminal intent, as some predict it might. Identifying and addressing ethical issues early and throughout the research process reduces the likelihood of ethical pitfalls and can assure the public that research will not be impeded by ethical lapses.

The Bioethics Commission wrote that ethics integration entails collaboration between scientists and ethics professionals. Done well, the process of integration is an iterative and reflective process that enhances both scientific and ethical rigor.

Examples of approaches to integrating ethics into science exist already and provide a starting point for institutions, funders, and researchers to build their organizational plans for integrating ethics into neuroscience research. Examples examined by the Bioethics Commission include ethics integration through all levels of education; dedicated institutional infrastructure; direct consideration of ethical, legal, and social implications of research; research ethics consultation; stakeholder engagement; and inclusion of an ethics perspective on the research team.

The Bioethics Commission recommended that institutions and individuals engaged in neuroscience research integrate ethics throughout research, identifying ethical considerations relevant to their research and making explicit their systems for addressing those issues. It emphasized that sufficient resources—including financial resources, human capital, and expertise—should be dedicated to ethics integration.  It also called for evaluation of innovative and existing approaches to ethics integration, and recommended the development and evaluation of new and existing models for integrating ethics and science education at all levels. Finally, the Bioethics Commission recommended the inclusion of professionals with experience in ethics on BRAIN Initiative-related advisory and review bodies, particularly for the major public and private sector partners.

The report is available at Bioethics.gov. Look for additional blog posts about each of the report’s recommendations to be posted to blog.Bioethics.gov.

Next the Bioethics Commission will consider the ethical and societal implications of neuroscience research and its applications more broadly.  The Bioethics Commission will examine implications that stakeholders, including scientists, ethicists, educators, public and private funders, advocacy organizations, and the public should be prepared to handle.  A strongly integrated research and ethics infrastructure—as recommended in Gray Matters, Vol. 1—will be well equipped to address such ethical and societal implications.

The Bioethics Commission plans to have at least two more public meetings on this topic before releasing its next report.

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Bioethics Commission Seeks Feedback on Educational Materials https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2014/03/21/bioethics-commission-seeks-feedback-on-educational-materials/ https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2014/03/21/bioethics-commission-seeks-feedback-on-educational-materials/#respond Fri, 21 Mar 2014 14:01:22 +0000 https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/?p=1205 The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (Bioethics Commission) is seeking feedback on its educational materials as a means of quantifying progress in response to its recommendations on improving and supporting bioethics education.  The Bioethics Commission is interested in how the materials are being used to further bioethics education, what materials are most helpful, and suggestions for how they might be improved.

The Bioethics Commission advises the President on bioethical issues arising from advances in biomedicine and related areas of science and technology. Many of its reports incorporate the overarching theme, and include recommendations, about the need for improvement in bioethics education for scientific and medical profes­sionals, among others.

The Bioethics Commission is committed to seeing its recommendations implemented.  Providing easily accessible and free materials based on the Bioethics Commission’s own analysis is an effort to help meet these recommendations. Given the multidisciplinary nature of science and research, bioethics education should be available to a wide variety of disciplines at the undergraduate, graduate, and professional levels.

To that end, the Bioethics Commission has developed novel educational materials to support bioethics education in many disciplines in traditional and nontraditional educational and professional settings. These include topic-based modules, Bioethics Commission report-specific materials, and datasets generated in the course of the Bioethics Commission’s work that support empirical bioethics education and scholarship. All Bioethics Commission educational materials are free and available for download from bioethics.gov/education.

If you have used the Bioethics Commission educational materials as a reference in preparation for teaching; as presentation material in a class or training course; as a resource for discussion questions, case studies, problem based learning scenarios, or exercises; as a source of data for teaching empirical research methods; or in another way, please share your experience, comments, and feedback by contacting education@bioethics.gov.

For more information on the Bioethics Commission educational modules, please join us for a webinar entitled “Multidisciplinary Implementation of Bioethics Commission Educational Materials” on Thursday April 24, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. EST.

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Community Engagement in Pediatric Medical Countermeasure Research https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2013/04/02/community-engagement-in-pediatric-medical-countermeasure-research/ https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2013/04/02/community-engagement-in-pediatric-medical-countermeasure-research/#respond Tue, 02 Apr 2013 14:48:03 +0000 https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/?p=556 The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (the Bioethics Commission) recently published its report, Safeguarding Children: Pediatric Medical Countermeasure Research, in which it reviews the ethical considerations for conducting research on medical interventions that would be used to protect children in the event of a bioterror attack—also known as “medical countermeasures” (MCM). One important element of the ethical conduct of such research is community engagement.

Community engagement is a way for researchers to get feedback from the community that will be affected by the research in order to tailor the study to the community’s needs or concerns.  It also involves educating the public about the research, improving the community’s understanding of the study, and providing for more informed feedback and participation. Reaching out to marginalized communities, the general public, and other stakeholders helps to “ensure ethical study design, implementation, and access to benefits should the need arise.”

Involving the community in planning and conduct of research boosts public trust and increases the chance that individuals will recognize and take advantage of drugs or interventions that might be approved as a result of the research.  This is especially important in MCM research because the interventions under investigation are intended to mitigate harm after an emergency occurs, when time is of the essence.

The Bioethics Commission stressed that community engagement should be included in all pediatric MCM research. When research can be done before an emergency takes place (pre-event research), there is time for planning and researchers should consult the community and strive to design studies that account for the public’s concerns.

If an emergency, such as a bioterror attack, occurs before research has been completed, then medical interventions might be given to children in order to save lives, even if those interventions have only been tested in adults.  When this happens, it is important to study the safety and effectiveness of the intervention in children that receive it (post-event research). The Bioethics Commission stressed that community engagement is especially important in planning for post-event research, stating “[p]ost-event research planning should lay the groundwork for community engagement activities that can then be activated in the event of an attack.”

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