Bioethics Journal Club

The Bioethics Journal Club creates a space where medical and bioscience students can discuss ethical dilemmas and questions. During each session students are encouraged to explore the responsibilities and challenges (i) physicians encounter in relation to their patients, team members, peers, the healthcare system and the law, and (ii) scientists encounter in relationship to colleagues, mentors, the biomedical research establishment and the healthcare system. The sessions give students an opportunity to interact with a variety of faculty who are interested in bioethics. The sessions also provide students with a safe space to share questions, concerns, and experiences. The Bioethics Journal Club sessions include a limited number of students and a guest facilitator.  For more information, email Zach Schwartz or Kim Gressick.

2014-15: Jennifer Shiroky, Julien Thomas | Founders
2015-16: Samuel Kareff, Michelle Shnayder
2016-17 Kim Gressick, Zach Schwartz

September 3, 2015
The Ethics of Outbreaks: How politics, money, religion and national security complicate global pandemic response
Facilitator: Peter Sawyer

March 9, 2015
The Ethics of Conducting Research: Exploring the Topics of Authorship and the Blind Trust We Give as Readers
Facilitator: Dr. Thomas Champney

Trulson, ME, Trulson, TJ, Arasteh, K. (1987). Recording of mouse ventral tegmental area dopamine-containing neurons. Experimental Neurology, 96; 68-81.

Review the following websites:

Guiding Questions:

    • 1. What are your responsibilities as research collaborator and author of research manuscript?

    • 2. Is research misconduct a victimless crime?

    • 3. What mechanisms are in place to decrease the likelihood of research misconduct? What could we do better?

    • 4. What penalties should be imposed on those that commit research misconduct?

    • 5. What responsibilities do we have as readers when interpreting publications and other presentations of research?

December 12, 2014

The Interface of Religion and Medical Ethics
Facilitator: Dr. Jeffrey P. Brosco

Curlin, FA et al. When patients choose faith over medicine. Arch Intern Med, 2005;165:88-91.

Doyle JD (2002). Blood transfusions and the Jehovah’s Witness patient. American Journal of Therapeutics;9:417-424.

Green, R. Religion and medical ethics. Handbook of Clinical Neurology, 2013; 118(6):79-89.

Shaner DM, Prema J (2014). Conversation and the Jehovah’s Witness dying from Blood Loss. Narrative Inquiries in Bioethics;4(3):253-61.

Guiding Questions:
1. What role do you think hospital chaplains and religious authorities in the community should play in guiding patients and family members through illness? What role should they play in helping physicians and patients communicate and understand each other?
2. How can sacred and religious traditions, teachings, and text be used in the interpretation and application of new advances in medicine?
3. When a patient refuses treatment for religious reasons does the physician’s responsibility end at explaining the consequences of their decision?
4. Should the state intervene when parents refuse medical care for their children based on their sincerely held beliefs? If so, what defines the point at which the state should intervene?
5. When procedures enter the gray area of Jehovah’s Witness doctrine is it the physician’s responsibility to discuss these questions with their patient? Is it the physician’s responsibility to understand JW doctrine?
6. Have you had any personal observations or experiences where religious beliefs played a fundamental role in treatment or healthcare planning?

October 13, 2014

The Role of Intelligent Machines in Healthcare Decisions
Facilitator: Dr. Kenneth W. Goodman

  • Goodman, KW. (2012). Ethics and healthcare: Focus on information technology. In Dr. Kathleen A. McCormick & Dr. Brian Gugerty (Eds.), Healthcare Information Technology Exam Guide for CompTIA Healthcare IT Technician and HIT Pro Certifications (43-59).

  • Goodman, KW. Ethics, information, technology, and public health: New challenges for the clinician-patient relationship. Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics, 2010 Spring;31:58-63. 

  • Goodman, KW. Health analytics and big data. Lahey Health Journal of Medical Ethics, Spring 2014:9-10. 

Guiding Questions:
1. Under what circumstances should a physician use a computer to aid in a diagnosis?

2. Should a patient be denied treatment because a prognostic scoring system says the patient is going to die?

3. Is there such a thing as too much technological support in healthcare?

4. How much of the practice of medicine could be conducted through social media, email, etc.?