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BTHX Bioethics Courses Spring 2015 - Jan 20 - May 18

Registration opens November 11, 2014

BTHX Bioethics Fall Courses Fall 2014


AHCBIOETHICS Henrietta Lacks' Legacy book coverSave the Dates!

College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) Reads: A Conversation with Author Rebecca Skloot

Monday, November 10, 2014
7:30 pm
Ted Mann Concert Hall
FREE and open to the public

Co-sponsored by University of Minnesota Center for Bioethics

Henrietta Lacks' Legacy: A Conversation with the Lacks Family and Dr. Ruth Faden

Friday, November 14, 2014
9:45-11:30 am
Northrop Auditorium, University of Minnesota
FREE and open to the public

Hosted by the University of Minnesota Center for Bioethics

Co-sponsored by Center for Bioethics; Department of Postsecondary Teaching and Learning: First Year Experience Program; College of Education & Human Development; College of Biological Sciences; School of Dentistry; School of Nursing; Consortium on Law and Values in Health, Environment & the Life Sciences; Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development; Office of Equity and Diversity; Clinical and Translational Science Institute; Center for Health Equity, Center for Spirituality & Healing; Institute for Advanced Study; and Program in the History of Medicine, University of Minnesota

The Lacks Family has enthralled audiences across the country talking about their matriarch, Henrietta Lacks, and her important contribution to science. The international success of Rebecca Skloot’s New York Times bestseller, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, has left people keenly interested in the Lacks Family and Henrietta’s legacy. In their appearances, members of the family share with audiences what it meant to find out—decades after the fact—that Henrietta’s cells were being used in laboratories around the world, bought and sold by the billions. The family’s visits put a personal face to big issues such as the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over “informed consent” and whether we control the stuff we’re made of, and should share in the profits.

The University of Minnesota’s Consortium on Law and Values will host its 15th Annual conference on Thursday, November 6, 2014 at the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs. This year’s conference will tackle an issue of growing urgency: Should genomics researchers and biobanks offer individual research results to a participant’s family members, including after the participant’s death?

While research ethics and privacy law protect individuals, genetics are shared. Biological family members will have some proportion of their genes in common, giving them a stake in learning a relative’s results. This conference will present the first consensus recommendations on sharing these individual research results and incidental findings.

To learn more about the conference and to register,


Prof. Wolf presents at NIH meeting on human genomics

Prof. Susan Wolf made two presentations at an NIH meeting of the Clinical Sequencing Exploratory Research (CSER) Consortium in Bethesda, MD, on Oct. 8-9. She first presented on the law governing access to an individual’s genomic results. This was part of a panel that she was asked to organize with Prof. Ellen Clayton, MD, JD (Vanderbilt University) addressing the law of human genomics. Prof. Wolf later presented on family access to an individual’s genomic results after their death. This is the focus of a current NIH-funded project that Prof. Wolf is leading with Profs. Gloria Petersen (Mayo Clinic) and Barbara Koenig (UCSF). For more on that project.

Center for Bioethics Interns Have Real World Experience

AHCBIOETHICS 2014 Interns Kirstin Almos and Kristin ChuStudents Kjirstin Almos, Kristin Chu, and Samantha Gerhardson realized the opportunity to combine their educational backgrounds with real world experience by interning at the Center for Bioethics over the summer. From shadowing clinical ethical consultations to gaining face to face exposure with pediatric patients, they have been researching ethical issues in health care.

AHCBIOETHICS 2014 Interns Samantha GerhardsonSamantha, a second year medical school student at the University of Minnesota Duluth, worked with Center faculty member Jennifer Needle, MD to write a publication on the use of ventricular assist devices in pediatric care. They explored the idea of informed consent and whether parents and patients are aware of the long term effects these devices can have on the child.

Samantha believes that her time meeting patients and their families helped her gain experience with and thinking about the ethics of her work, an area that hasn’t been a focus in her studies thus far. “You lose the human part of being a doctor if you take the ethics out of it” says Samantha.

Kjirstin and Kristin, both undergraduate students, worked under the guidance of Center faculty member Joan Liaschenko, PhD, RN, FAAN. Together, they reviewed qualitative date from focus groups about how the switch to an electronic health record affects the relationship between nurses and patients. They also had the opportunity to join Professor Liaschenko on clinical ethical consultations with families.

“This internship has been a great learning experience,” says Kristin. “It’s allowed me to get face-to-face patient experience and to see what happens behind the scenes.”


Steven Miles, MD, is featured in a wide number of publications, including Huffington Post, Washington Post, and Reuters, in regards to a recent trial about the force-feeding of detainees.

Carl Elliott, MD, PhD, is featured in an article on Huffington Post in regards to the relationship between pharmaceutical companies and doctors.

Carl Elliott, MD, PhD, was a guest on MPR's The Daily Circuit discussing the ethics of testing new drugs on the mentally ill and homeless.

Steven Miles, MD, was quoted in The Des Moines Register on transparency in human research trials.





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