curriculum – 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 Perspectives in learning: Incorporating discussion materials and activities on ethics into science curriculum. https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2016/12/02/perspectives-in-learning-incorporating-discussion-materials-and-activities-on-ethics-into-science-curriculum/ https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2016/12/02/perspectives-in-learning-incorporating-discussion-materials-and-activities-on-ethics-into-science-curriculum/#respond Fri, 02 Dec 2016 15:00:47 +0000 https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/?p=2135 The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues has released over 60 educational resources that can be used as tools to teach students, researchers, clinicians, and other professionals to recognize and address ethical aspects of their work and understand how deliberation can inform ethical decision-making. These resources draw from the Bioethics Commission’s reports, and while all reports produced to date have been topic-specific, bioethics education and improving bioethics literacy has been a constant thread throughout the Bioethics Commission’s work.

The Commission’s most recent report, Bioethics for Every Generation, outlines a variety of models that can be used to teach ethics, and emphasizes that ethics education is about preparing students how to think ethically, rather than what to think. Bioethics for Every Generation also emphasizes that ethical questions and topics can be incorporated into existing courses, such as biology, chemistry, social studies and history courses, among others.

Frank Strona, the Bioethics Commission’s Senior Communications Analyst and Adjunct Faculty with National University’s Department of Health Sciences recently had an opportunity to sit down and interview Steven Kessler, Instructor of Biology and Microbiology at Santa Rosa Junior College in Petaluma, CA and former Visiting Fellow with the Bioethics Commission, discusses how incorporating bioethics into his science curriculum has affected his students and his work as a science educator.

FRANK STRONA: Tell us about how you have used bioethics to enhance traditional science education.

STEVEN KESSLER:  I incorporate bioethical issues into my traditional science classes in a number of ways.  The most satisfying way is to spend an entire class period delving deeply into one or two (if they are related) issues.  The classroom discussion guides on the Commission’s website have served as a great resource for some questions that can be the basis for these class sessions.  My work as a Visiting Fellow during the spring of 2015 involved working with the commission staff to develop these guides.

When I feel that there is less time to devote to a bioethical issue, I will incorporate the questions and themes into my lectures.  Sometimes, I will then instruct the students to have a short discussion in small groups during class time.  Other times, I simply raise the questions during the lecture and perhaps offer a range of possible responses to these questions.  Even if we do not have a formal discussion, I make sure to give the students an opportunity to ask questions or make comments during the lectures.

Regardless of the format that the content is introduced in, the classroom activities and discussions are the basis for essay questions that the students will work on as a take-home assignment or during in-class examinations (although I always give the questions in advance to ensure the students have adequate opportunity to think deeply and clearly about the issues).  For these questions, I make it clear to the students that I do not grade their position on an issue.  Rather, I mention that I am curious about their position and that I will be grading their explanation of and support for their position. My curiosity is sincere and I want all students to feel safe expressing their points of view. I especially want them to learn how to use reason to support it.

In my basic biology courses, I integrate a wide variety of bioethical issues.  A partial list of these issues includes:

  • The quarantine of health care workers during an Ebola (or other infectious disease) crisis
  • The use of a placebo-controlled trial for potential anti-Ebola drugs during an Ebola crisis
  • Providing anti-HIV drugs to the poor
  • Treating multi-drug resistant tuberculosis in prisons
  • The use of antibiotics in farm animals
  • The genetic modification of foods
  • The genetic modification of humans
  • The patenting of biological organisms, tissues, products, and specimens
  • The history of informed consent (e.g. origins of HeLa cells, compulsory sterilization in the U.S., syphilis studies in Tuskegee and Guatemala)
  • Eugenics programs in the U.S.

FRANK STRONA:  Those are important issues. As you know, the Bioethics Commission has educational resources that address many of these issues (for example, an Ethics and Ebola case study on liberty-restricting public health measures and a Classroom Discussion Guide on ethical issues in neuroscience research). These educational resources were developed to support the integration of bioethics education in traditional and nontraditional educational and professional settings.

KESSLERAll of the topics I’ve mentioned are integrated with the basic science. I find that this is an exciting way to learn the science as it places the material in a broader context.  Some students do not need this broader context to become engaged by the material, but for many students the bioethical issues facilitate their engagement.  Additionally, I find my own passion for the material is greatly enhanced by the placement of the science in a broader societal context. I receive a lot of positive feedback from students and colleagues regarding my own passion and behavior in the classroom.

FRANK STRONA: What challenges do science educators face when incorporating bioethics into science curricula? What tips do you have for overcoming these challenges?

KESSLERThe first challenge to incorporating bioethics into the traditional science curriculum is how to balance all the content in order to meet the course and program learning objectives. Typically, a significant portion of the course material that the instructor plans to cover leaves little time for additional topics.  So a faculty could look at the inclusion of a bioethical discussion as an additional category to the course content. However, in my experience, weaving in the bioethical issues as part of the course provides an opportunity for the student to be introduced to a deeper understanding of the chosen topics and can addresses serve as way to model engaged learning.

Facilitated discussions – online or in-person – are perhaps the best way to use class time to allow the students to gain this deeper understanding. Not only does it offer the student an opportunity to use analytical skills and critical thinking, it also exposes them to other students’ ideas and points of view in a controlled and safe learning environment.  However, when time is the biggest obstacle to addressing bioethical issues, I feel comfortable simply naming some questions, concerns, and controversies during a lecture.  The students can then be provided with additional resources to gain a deeper perspective that tie in to an assigned essays for homework or as exam questions so that they can probe the issues carefully outside of class time.

A second challenge is that basic science instructors do not typically have training in or feel comfortable guiding a discussion about ethical issues.  In my case, I do not always structure the material or course time as a formal philosophical ethics-based discussion, as I am not a professionally trained ethicist either.  Instead, I navigate the topic so it begins with a discussion of the background terminology or information that all participants should share. Then, I ask the students to form small groups and brainstorm the pros and cons of the issue.

I set up several “guidelines” during the small group sessions; I encourage students to avoid assigning any value to the pros and cons at this point. I might suggest to them that they list all the pros and/or cons, even those that seem ridiculous to them at first. I find that an exhaustive list here is helpful in acknowledging as many points of view as possible and allows for a better-reasoned conclusion.  As each group reports back the findings, I do a quick review, after making sure the list seems thorough enough, and depending on how much time we need, I then ask them to start weighing the pros and cons on the list – of course, this naturally occurs during the brainstorming as well – so, that we can move towards a conclusion or recommendation.  I think the approach to a discussion of bioethical issues described here provides an accessible format, and I also expect that many types of instructors could be comfortable with it since this is largely an exercise in reasoning and logic.

FRANK STRONA: What would you say to science educators or others concerned that bioethics might distract from science education?

KESSLERThat is what I consider the third challenge of incorporating bioethics content in the classroom, and that is overcoming the skepticism that exists from other science instructors.  This is something I have experienced.  This skepticism is expressed as criticism of my choice to spend time on bioethics at the expense of an already dense list of material that is required in the course.  (I make sure that I am also addressing all required material as well.)  Another type of criticism I have received is more theoretical.  A colleague has voiced to me a concern that attention to ethical issues muddies the students’ understanding of the science.

Firstly, I consider an avoidance of the ethical issues may convey a set of implied values the instructor may hold or it could leave the students confused.  For instance, if the topic is the genetic engineering of human embryos and the instructor only covers the technical aspects of this (possible future) technology, the students might get the impression that the teacher is promoting the technology, provided that the teacher does not have a cynical tone when presenting the material.  Alternatively, taking even a few moments to acknowledge concerns with the technology provides the students with some assurance that it is acceptable to think more deeply and critically about the technology and rounds out the understanding that there is multiple ways of thinking on the topic.

Secondly, by actively addressing the ethics angle, there is a possibility that the instructor will engage and inspire more students in their overall pursuit of a deep and meaningful education.  I hold that this is the opposite effect of any colleague concerned with distracting the students by addressing ethical issues.

Thirdly, some ethical discussions involve a direct examination of the science. If the discussion revolves around the safety of a technology, then a solid understanding of the science is an important part of assessing the safety. Considering safety then can direct the students to more deeply consider the technical aspects. Additionally, when I bring in the discussion associated with Ethics & Ebola, I am gratified by the attention to the scientific method and clinical trial design that happens as a part of weighing the reliance on placebo-controlled trials.

FRANK STRONA: Incorporating bioethics into science curriculum can be exciting, challenging, and engaging. The Bioethics Commission has developed educational resources for students and professionals including topic-based modules, deliberative scenarioswebinars, and empirical research resources, that address a variety of ethical issues related to public health emergencies, whole genome sequencinghuman subjects research, and more.

As students move into graduate and professional programs, their ethical training becomes more specialized, and can continue to build upon the ethical skills students have learned throughout their life. Developing the skills needed to make difficult ethical decisions does not happen overnight, and like any other skill, requires time and practice.

Incorporating bioethics into science curriculum can enhance a student’s learning experience and encourage further exploration into bioethics through professional or extracurricular activities. All of the Commission’s reports emphasize the importance of incorporating ethics education at all levels of education, because everyone, regardless of their background, will encounter a bioethical challenge at some point in their life.

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Ethically Sound podcast: Full series now available https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2016/11/23/ethically-sound-podcast-full-series-now-available/ https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2016/11/23/ethically-sound-podcast-full-series-now-available/#respond Wed, 23 Nov 2016 16:00:54 +0000 https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/?p=2113 bioethics_twitter-v3-08Since the Bioethics Commission was established by Executive Order by President Obama, the Bioethics Commission has released 10 reports on a variety of ethically challenging topics, and has provided recommendations on topics ranging from synthetic biology and neuroscience to whole genome sequencing and public health preparedness. Over the last 10 weeks, the Bioethics Commission has released its 10-episode podcast series Ethically Sound, based on the work produced by the Bioethics Commission. Each episode in the series focuses on a particularly salient ethical challenge that was addressed by the Bioethics Commission, and illustrates how these ethical challenges impact our society. All 10 episodes of Ethically Sound are now available on our website.

Each of the 10 podcasts opens with an introductory vignette from a speaker closely associated with the topic, who recounts a personal or professional experience related to the ethical issues addressed in the particular report. Each episode also features an interview with a member of the Bioethics Commission, who describes how the Commission addressed the topic. Ethically Sound is hosted and narrated by the Commission’s former Communications Director Hillary Wicai Viers.

The Bioethics Commission has also released a new educational resource related to the podcasts, “Ethically Sound Discussion Guide: Podcast Series Discussion Questions.” This discussion guide is designed to facilitate classroom or seminar discussion.  The discussion guide, and all of the Bioethics Commission’s educational materials, can be downloaded for free and adapted for all levels of learners.

This podcast series is the Bioethics Commission’s most recent project aimed at bringing the Commission’s work to a variety of audiences. The Ethically Sound series is now available on our website, as well as on our SoundCloud, YouTube and iTunes pages. Listeners can follow the podcast using #EthicallySound or by following us on Twitter @bioethicsgov. The Bioethics Commission’s reports can be downloaded for free at www.bioethics.gov/studies, and the Commission’s educational materials can be accessed and downloaded for free at www.bioethics.gov/education. We welcome comments and feedback at info@bioethics.gov.

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Introducing “Ethically Sound Discussion Guide: Podcast Series Discussion Questions” https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2016/11/09/introducing-ethically-sound-discussion-guide-podcast-series-discussion-questions/ https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2016/11/09/introducing-ethically-sound-discussion-guide-podcast-series-discussion-questions/#respond Wed, 09 Nov 2016 18:29:05 +0000 https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/?p=2105 The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (Bioethics Commission) has released a new educational resource, “Ethically Sound Discussion Guide: Podcast Series Discussion Questions.” safariscreensnapz001The discussion guide is based on the Bioethics Commission’s podcast series Ethically Sound. This 10-episode series is based on the 10 reports the Bioethics Commission produced during its tenure. Each podcast focuses on an ethical challenge the Bioethics Commission addressed in a specific report. Each episode opens with an introductory vignette from a speaker closely associated with the topic, and features an interview with a member of the Bioethics Commission.

The discussion guide includes a set of questions for each podcast designed to stimulate classroom or seminar discussion. The questions challenge students and those in professional training to think critically about why certain topics are important to consider, and how certain ethical challenges might be addressed. The questions are suitable for high school, undergraduate, and graduate-level students, as well as professionals in post-graduate training.

The discussion guide is the most recent addition to a series of educational materials designed to facilitate discussion around the topics addressed by the Bioethics Commission. Educators can access a set of classroom discussion guides to introduce students and professionals to the Bioethics Commission’s reports. Teachers and instructors can use our Guides to Deliberation to introduce students and those in professional training to democratic deliberation, an inclusive method of decision-making used to address open policy questions. Deliberative scenarios can help students and professionals use democratic deliberation to collaboratively address and propose a solution to a contemporary ethical challenge. Educators can use our user guides to find educational materials suitable for a particular field, discipline, or level of education.

All of the Bioethics Commission’s educational materials can be accessed and downloaded for free at www.bioethics.gov/education. The Bioethics Commission welcomes comments and feedback on its materials at info@bioethics.gov.

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Ethically Sound Episode 9: Bioethics for Every Generation https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2016/11/07/ethically-sound-episode-9-every-generation/ https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2016/11/07/ethically-sound-episode-9-every-generation/#respond Mon, 07 Nov 2016 17:53:07 +0000 https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/?p=2048 ep-9The ninth episode of the Bioethics Commission’s podcast series, Ethically Sound, is now available. This 10-episode series brings the diverse body of the Commission’s work to a broad audience. Today’s episode, “Bioethics for Every Generation,” focuses on the Commission’s legacy report Bioethics for Every Generation: Deliberation and Education in Health, Science, and Technology, which outlines how democratic deliberation and ethics education can be used to address challenging ethical issues in health, science, and technology.

The Bioethics Commission has addressed the importance of democratic deliberation and ethics education in previous reports. In its first report, New Directions: The Ethics of Synthetic Biology and Emerging Technologies, democratic deliberation—a method of collaborative decision making that calls for mutual respect and reason-giving—is one of the five ethical tenets used to assess emerging technologies. In multiple reports, the Bioethics Commission has recommended incorporating ethics education into all stages of training for scientists and health care providers. The report Bioethics for Every Generation describes democratic deliberation and ethics education as mutually reinforcing processes that can help foster a more civic-minded society.

The podcast opens with a narrative from Dr. Lisa M. Lee, Executive Director of the Bioethics Commission. Dr. Lee recounts a challenging experience early in her public health career where she was asked to justify a particular policy. Regarding the importance of ethics in health and science, Dr. Lee said “Science and technology provide us with great tools for improving our experience as human beings, and it is up to us to consider how we ought to use these tools. It is these two parts—the can that science offers and the should that ethics offers—that are critical elements of the decisions we make in health and science.”

The podcast then includes an interview with Dr. Amy Gutmann, President of the University of Pennsylvania and Chair of the Bioethics Commission. The interview is conducted by Hillary Wicai Viers, a former Communications Director with the Bioethics Commission staff. Dr. Gutmann discussed how the Bioethics Commission’s commitment to democratic deliberation allowed it to address ethically challenging topics, and emphasized the importance of ethics education. Regarding the importance of ethics education, Dr. Gutmann said “Ethics education does not teach students what to think, which many parents and educators might worry about. Rather, ethics education helps students learn how to think, and helps students approach ethically challenging topics in a thoughtful and reflective way.”

Episode 9 is now available on our website, as well as on our SoundCloud, YouTube and iTunes pages. In addition to this episode, listeners can access the first eight episodes of Ethically Sound. Listeners can follow the podcast using #EthicallySound or by following us on Twitter @bioethicsgov. Stay tuned for the tenth and final episode in our series, “Charting a Path Forward,” which will be available on November 21, 2016. We welcome comments and feedback at info@bioethics.gov.

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Ethically Sound Episode 3: Anticipate and Communicate https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2016/09/26/ethically-sound-episode-3-anticipate-and-communicate/ https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2016/09/26/ethically-sound-episode-3-anticipate-and-communicate/#respond Mon, 26 Sep 2016 13:51:38 +0000 https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/?p=1934 The third episode of the Bioethics Commission’s podcast series, Ethically Sound is now available. This 10-episode series has been created to bring the diverse body of the Commission’s work to a wide audience. Today’s episode, “Anticipate and Communicate,” focuses on the Commission’s sixth report Anticipate and Communicate: Ethical Management of Incidental and Secondary Findings, which addressed how to ethically manage incidental findings—findings that lie outside the aim of a test or procedure—that arise in clinical, research, and direct-to-consumer contexts.

In the report, the Bioethics Commission analyzed the ethical issues related to incidental findings that could arise in clinical, research, and direct-to-consumer settings. During its public meetings, the Commission heard from individuals who have been affected by incidental findings, including Carol Krucoff, a yoga teacher and journalist. Ms. Krucoff spoke before the Commission about the discovery of her brain tumor, which was an incidental finding that resulted from an MRI taken after she fainted during a marathon. Ms. Krucoff opens this podcast by recounting her experience and sharing how the discovery of her incidental finding affected her life. She notes that “advances in imaging technology have made it increasingly common for healthy, asymptomatic people like me to learn of such a disturbing incidental finding.”

The podcast also features Bioethics Commission Member Dr. Christine Grady, Chief of the Department of Bioethics at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, who was interviewed by Hillary Wicai Viers, a former Communications Director with the Commission staff. Dr. Grady explains how her background as a researcher and as a nurse informed her understanding of the ethical challenges that incidental findings pose. Dr. Grady also shares how the diverse perspectives that the Commission members brought to the discussion helped address these ethical challenges in a wide range of contexts. “It was really very beneficial and helpful to hear from people who had received information about incidental findings and had vastly different experiences and perspectives on the matter,” Dr. Grady said in reference to the inclusion of diverse perspectives.

Episode 3: Anticipate and Communicate of Ethically Sound is available on our website, as well as on our SoundCloud, iTunes, and YouTube pages. In addition to this episode, listeners can access the first episode in this series, “Safeguarding Children,” and the second episode, “Ethics and Ebola.” Stay tuned for the fourth episode of Ethically Sound, “Privacy and Progress,” which will be available on October 3, 2016. We welcome comments and feedback at info@bioethics.gov.

 

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Introducing New Deliberative Scenario and Teacher Companion from the Bioethics Commission: “Return of Genetic Research Results” https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2016/09/21/deliberative-scenario-return-of-genetic-research-results/ https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2016/09/21/deliberative-scenario-return-of-genetic-research-results/#respond Wed, 21 Sep 2016 14:19:57 +0000 https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/?p=1976 The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (Bioethics Commission) has released two new educational materials, “Deliberative Scenario: Return of Genetic Research Results” and “Teacher Companion for Deliberative Scenario: Return of Genetic Research Results.” This new deliberative scenario and teacher companion build on the work of two of the Bioethics Commission’s reports, Anticipate and Communicate: Ethical Management of Incidental and Secondary Findings in the Clinical, Research, and Direct-to-Consumer Contexts (Anticipate and Communicate) and Bioethics for Every Generation: Deliberation and Education in Health, Science, and Technology.

Deliberative Scenario: Return of Genetic Research Results” highlights contemporary ethical questions about incidental and secondary findings that can result from genetic testing.

This scenario, like others the Bioethics Commission has released, presents an outline of ethically challenging situations that can provide students an opportunity to practice deliberation.

The “Teacher Companion for Deliberative Scenario: Return of Genetic Research Results” provides teachers with specific instructions for facilitating deliberations for the scenarios in “Deliberative Scenario: Return of Genetic Research Results.” These new educational materials are designed to facilitate deliberation on bioethical issues that have been addressed by the Bioethics Commission, and provide students and teachers with the means to enhance and enrich interdisciplinary ethics education.

These new educational resources are part of a collection of over 60 educational materials that the Bioethics Commission has developed throughout its tenure to support the integration of bioethics education in many disciplines in traditional and nontraditional educational and professional settings. This collection includes a series of teaching tools for students at various educational levels, including topic-based modules, case studies, deliberative scenarios, videos, webinars, and empirical research resources, that address a variety of ethical issues related to public health emergencies, whole genome sequencing, human subjects research, and more.

All of these resources are available for free download and can be integrated into or adapted for existing science or ethics curricula. All Bioethics Commission educational materials are free and available at www.bioethics.gov/education. The Bioethics Commission encourages feedback on its materials at education@bioethics.gov.

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Ethically Sound Episode 2: Ethics and Ebola https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2016/09/19/ethically-sound-episode-2-ethics-and-ebola/ Mon, 19 Sep 2016 14:00:33 +0000 https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/?p=1932

Since the Bioethics Commission was established through Executive Order in 2009 by President Barack Obama, it has released 10 reports on a variety of ethically challenging topics, including synthetic biology, neuroscience, and whole genome sequencing, among others. The Bioethics Commission is excited to release a new podcast series, Ethically Sound. Each episode features one of the Commission’s reports.  Today’s episode, the second in the series, focuses on the Commission’s report Ethics and Ebola: Public Health Planning and Response, which addresses several ethical challenges, including ethical dimensions of public health preparedness, ethical justification for U.S. engagement in global health response, the use of liberty-restricting public health interventions, and selected research ethics issues, that emerged during the response to the 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic in western Africa.

This podcast focuses on the use of restrictive measures, such as quarantine and travel restrictions. Upon their return from affected regions, some health care workers were subjected to restrictive measures by state governments and local public health agencies. Restrictive meaures are sometimes necessary during an epidemic in order to maintain public safety. However, some of the measures used during the Ebola epidemic were overly restrictive, and were issued by state governments and public health agencies in response to the public fear that accompanied Ebola, rather than on the best available scientific evidence. The Commission addressed the stigma and discrimination that can accompany public health emergencies, which can be exacerbated by the use of restrictive measures, and reviewed the historical use of such measures in response to other epidemics. The Commission recommended that governments and public health agencies use the least restrictive interventions necessary, such that interventions are grounded in the best available scientific evidence, and ensure that both the ethical and evidentiary rationale for these measures is clearly communicated, with particular attention to the needs of those most directly affected.

The podcast opens with Dr. Patricia Henwood, an emergency medicine physician and the co-founder and president of the PURE initiative, which examines the use of point-of-care ultrasounds in regions with limited resources. Dr. Henwood recounts her experience of traveling to Liberia during the Ebola epidemic to provide medical care to over 100 patients before the Commission during the Commission’s 20th public meeting. After her return, Dr. faced unclear guidance about what restrictive measures were necessary. Dr. Henwood decided to limit contact with friends and family members during her 21-day monitoring period so they would not have to undergo unnecessary measures. Of her experiences, Dr. Henwood said she and her colleagues were “often touted as heroes while working in West Africa, [but] felt like pariahs once we were back in the United States.”

The podcast also includes an interview with Commission member Dr. Barbara Atkinson, the Founding Dean of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Medicine. Hillary Wicai Viers, former Communications Director with the Bioethics Commission, conducted this interview. Dr. Atkinson discussed some of the ethical challenges surrounding restrictive measures. Regarding the decisions surrounding the use of restrictive measures, Dr. Atkinson said “the people who were making the decisions at a state level were responding to the fear of the public, [not] the scientific facts. The public was very worried about the lethal nature of this virus, and so they responded in a political way, which was to segregate [health care workers].”

The podcast is available on our website, as well as on our SoundCloud, YouTube and iTunes pages. In addition to this episode, listeners also can access the first episode, “Safeguarding Children.” Listeners can follow the podcast using the hashtag #EthicallySound or following us on twitter @bioethicsgov. Stay tuned for the third episode in our series, “Anticipate and Communicate,” which will be available on September 26, 2016. We welcome comments and feedback at info@bioethics.gov.

 

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Ethically Sound Episode 1: Safeguarding Children https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2016/09/12/ethically-sound-episode-1-safeguarding-children/ https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2016/09/12/ethically-sound-episode-1-safeguarding-children/#respond Mon, 12 Sep 2016 14:00:57 +0000 https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/?p=1921 Since the Bioethics Commission was established via Executive Order by President Obama, the Bioethics Commission has released 10 reports on a variety of ethically challenging topics, and has provided recommendations on topics ranging from synthetic biology to neuroscience to whole genome sequencing. In an effort to share the Bioethics Commission’s work with a wide variety of audiences, we are issuing a new podcast series called Ethically Sound.  Today’s episode, the first in the series, focuses on the Commission’s report Safeguarding Children: Pediatric Medical Countermeasure Research, which addressed the ethically challenging topic of when and how to test pediatric medical countermeasures for possible bioterrorism agents. When and how, for example, should we test an anthrax vaccine, approved for adults, in children?

The Ethically Sound: Safeguarding Children podcast centers around the question: How can we best protect children in the event of a bioterrorism attack? At the time this report was written, a vaccine for anthrax had only been tested in adults, but not in children. The Commission was asked to provide recommendations on how this vaccine could be safely tested in children, and when the vaccine would be ethically permissible to test.

The podcast opens with a narrative from Dr. Suzet McKinney, who is the Executive Director of the Illinois Medical District Commission. Dr. McKinney discusses how her public health training taught her that vaccines were largely beneficial, but the thought of an anthrax vaccine that had not been tested in children was a cause for concern. “If there were an anthrax bioterrorism attack in the US and the government determined a need to immunize children with a vaccine that had not been tested and deemed safe, experience tells me that even the most aggressive and comprehensive efforts to educate parents about the risks and potential benefits will be met with anxiety, fear, protest and apprehension… even I would have difficulty agreeing to an untested anthrax vaccine for my own child in the absence of a real, credible threat of attack.”

Hillary Wicai Viers, a former Communications Director with the Commission, interviewed Commission Member Col. Nelson Michael, the Director of the U.S. Military HIV Research Program at Walter Reed Army Medical Institute of Research. Col. Michael discussed his military background, and how the Commission came together to address a particularly sensitive topic. When asked about the most challenging aspect of this topic, Col. Michael said, “Research with children is ethically different from research with other groups, especially when the research in question promises really no direct prospect of benefit for the participants. This was really the heart of our matter. [While] competent adults can volunteer and give their consent and can accept risks and benefits for doing research, children really can’t do that legally or ethically. [As] a consequence, that really posed lots of dilemmas for us as a deliberate group.”

The podcast is available to interested listeners on our website, on our SoundCloud, and will launch shortly on YouTube and iTunes pages. Listeners can also follow the podcast using the hashtag #EthicallySound or following us on twitter @bioethicsgov. Stay tuned for the second episode on our series, “Ethics and Ebola,” which will be available on September 19. We welcome comments and feedback at info@bioethics.gov.

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Introducing the Bioethics Commission’s New Educational Resource: “Classroom Discussion Guide on Ethics and Incidental Findings” https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2016/09/08/introducing-the-bioethics-commissions-new-educational-resource-classroom-discussion-guide-on-ethics-and-incidental-findings/ https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2016/09/08/introducing-the-bioethics-commissions-new-educational-resource-classroom-discussion-guide-on-ethics-and-incidental-findings/#respond Thu, 08 Sep 2016 09:00:22 +0000 https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/?p=1916 The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (Bioethics Commission) has released a new discussion guide titled “Classroom Discussion Guide on Ethics and Incidental Findings.” This guide is designed to facilitate students’ engagement with the ethical issues surrounding incidental and secondary findings. This guide builds on the work of the Bioethics Commission’s report Anticipate and Communicate: Ethical Management of Incidental and Secondary Findings in the Clinical, Research, and Direct-to-Consumer Contexts

This guide introduces students of various levels to the ethical issues related to incidental and secondary findings. The guide provides a set of discussion questions to help students understand, evaluate, and reflect on these ethical challenges. The guide also includes three case studies that demonstrate the real-life impact that incidental and secondary findings have had in clinical, research, and direct-to-consumer settings.

This guide is part of a series of classroom discussion guides that have been developed for students at various educational levels, and includes discussion guides on ethical issues related to public health emergencies and neuroscience. We have also developed a series of teaching tools, including topic-based modules, case studies, deliberative scenarios, and empirical research resources. All resources are available for free download, and can be integrated into existing science or ethics curricula, or used to create a new course.

Please stay tuned for forthcoming educational materials, including a new deliberative scenario and teacher companion about incidental findings.

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

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Introducing Ethically Sound: A Podcast Series from the Bioethics Commission https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2016/09/06/introducing-ethically-sound-a-podcast-series-from-the-bioethics-commission/ https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/2016/09/06/introducing-ethically-sound-a-podcast-series-from-the-bioethics-commission/#respond Tue, 06 Sep 2016 21:29:43 +0000 https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcsbi/blog/?p=1919 bioethics_twitter-v3-08Since the Bioethics Commission was established via Executive Order by President Obama, the Bioethics Commission has put forth 10 reports on a variety of ethically challenging topics, and has provided recommendations on topics ranging from synthetic biology to neuroscience to whole genome sequencing. As the Bioethics Commission’s tenure comes to a close, we are issuing a new podcast series called Ethically Sound.  Beginning Monday, we will release one podcast per week for ten weeks, beginning with the podcast on the report Safeguarding Children: Pediatric Medical Countermeasure Research.

The podcasts focus on a particularly salient ethical challenge that was addressed in each report, and illustrate how these ethical challenges impact our communities and how the Commission’s work can influence how these challenges are handled. Each of the 10 podcasts will open with an introductory vignette from a speaker closely associated with the topic, who will recount his or her personal or professional experiences and thoughts about that ethical challenge. The podcasts will also feature an interview with one of our Commission members, who will recount how the Commission addressed these ethical issues and what challenges they faced along the way.

All of our podcasts are hosted and narrated by the Commission’s former Communications Director Hillary Wicai Viers. Listeners will be able to access the podcast directly on our website, as well as through the Bioethics Commission’s SoundCloud page and iTunes page. Listeners can also follow the podcast using the hashtag #EthicallySound or following us on twitter @bioethicsgov.

The podcast series is our most recent project aimed at bringing the Commission’s work to a variety of audiences. Other available materials include educational modules that can be adopted for classrooms at all levels, by professionals, and by interested individuals. The Bioethics Commission’s reports can be downloaded for free at www.bioethics.gov/studies, and the Commission’s educational materials can be accessed and downloaded for free at www.bioethics.gov/education. We welcome your feedback and comments at info@bioethics.gov.

The first podcast, featuring Dr. Suzet McKinney, Executive Director of the Illinois Medical District Commission and Commission Member Col. Nelson Michael, will be available on September 12 at www.bioethics.gov.

You can listen to the podcasts from our website, and from our SoundCloud,  YouTube and iTunes pages. Listeners can also follow the podcast using the hashtag #EthicallySound or following us on twitter @bioethicsgov.

 

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