Summer Institute 2009

2009 Lectures

2009 Seminars

2009 Participants


Lecturers and Their Topics


David Smith

What’s cooking in bioethics

Steve Latham

Complicity with past wrongs: examples from bioethics

Roger Worthington

Ethics, Professionalism, and Questions of Culture

Brian Scassellati

Social Robots and Human Social Development

Jack Hughes

Society and Health Care: Obligations, fairness, and limits

Sandy Alfano

Ethical Considerations in Human Subjects Research

David Linsenmeier

Ethical Issues in the Pharmaceutical Industry

Mark Mercurio

Ethical Issues in Extreme Prematurity

Diane Krause & Karen Lebacqz

Introduction to Embryonic Stem Cells and

Inducible Pluripotent stem cells &

Stem Cells: Getting the ethics straight

Becca Levy/Pil Chung

Age Stereotypes and Public Health  


Scott Long

Evolution of hospice in the United States


Shep Nuland

How Patients, Families, and Doctors

Approach the End of Life


Tom Duffy

Reflections on Portraits of an Illness  


Douglas Bruce

Ethical Concerns at the Intersection of

Addiction and Criminal Justice: 

Why Don’t We Treat Addiction in Prison?


Paul Kirwin

A View of Aging Through Poetry


Erika Blacksher

Ethical Issues Raised by Healthy Behavior Programs


Gretchen Berland

The Use of Film as a Means to Understand

the Experiences of Patients


Paul Waldau

Animal Ethics


Wendell Wallach

The Road to Singularity: Robot Minds and Human Ethics


Jonathan Borak

Introduction to Risk Assessment

and its Ethical Underpinnings


Pasquale Patrizio

Postponement and Preservation of Fertility:

Ethical and social implications


Bob Levine

Origins of the ethical norms and principles for

research involving human subjects


Ethics of placebo controls in research

involving human subjects


Shelly Kagan

Applied Ethics and the Distinction between

Killing and Letting Die 


Leora Kahn 
Bystanders in Genocides


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Seminar Series




Bioethics and Human Dignity, Karen Lebacqz               

“Human dignity” has become a widely used term in bioethics. It is also a controversial term. Some say it is meaningless; others say it is essential to resolving bioethical debates. This course will examine some of the uses of “human dignity” in contemporary bioethics with a view to how the term functions, what it means, whether it helps or hinders discussion, and how its grounding in religious affirmations and political contexts impacts its uses and meanings. We will then look at two specific arenas in which “dignity” has framed bioethics debates: “death with dignity” and questions regarding human enhancement.

Basic Issues in Bioethics, David Smith                             

This seminar is designed as a survey of classic issues in biomedical ethics; it will be broad in scope. Issues to be discussed include experimentation with human subjects, genetics and new technologies for reproduction, care for the dying, transplantation, and justice in health care. Key readings will be available on-line. We will make supplementary use of Steinbock, London and Arras, Ethical Issues in Modern Medicine [7th edition] so it may be handy to have that book. Because the book is so expensive, we will make copies of relevant readings available in another way.

Public Health Ethics, Julius Landwirth                           

This seminar series will examine the ethical implications of some of the major areas of public health practice and policy. Seminars will be co-facilitated by Dr. Landwirth and a guest expert in the particular topic under discussion. The format will be interactive. Each session will open with a brief presentation by one of the interns of the group reading assignment for that session followed by comments from the facilitators and open discussion. Topics to be covered include: analytical framework for public health ethics, ethical aspects of preparedness planning for public health emergencies, the genome and public health, mandatory vaccination of children and health care workers, environment and public health ethics, public health and socioeconomic health disparities.            

Research Ethics, Carrie Thiessen                                              


This course will provide an overview of historical, legal, ethical, and practical issues related to the conduct of clinical trials with human subjects in the United States and abroad. In addition, students will develop an appreciation for the relationship between empirical and normative bioethics. Each class session will involve discussion of readings and key concepts and an analysis of one or two cases. Students will have the opportunity to attend an institutional review board meeting and to share their experiences with their classmates.

End of Life Issues, Mark Mercurio, Scott Long, Tom Duffy                  

This seminar series will develop themes involved in each speaker’s particular areas of interest. Each of the leaders of this seminar will have given the morning lecture to all interns shortly prior to leading two seminar sessions, so the seminars will build on these lectures.  Possible topics include but are not limited to: what makes a good death, conflicts between patients’ rights and physicians’ rights, assisted suicide, balancing honesty in hope when talking to terminally ill patients, conflicts between religion and medicine, and issues particular to infant deaths.   

Full Summer (June and July)


Bioethics & the Media, Carol Pollard & Jeff Stryker         

This seminar offers a chance to reflect upon, and contribute to, coverage of bioethical issues in the popular press.  Students will examine a sampling of bioethics coverage, evaluating news coverage and commentary in terms of fairness, accuracy and salience.  The seminar will consider how bioethics coverage is changing in light of the rapidly morphing media landscape.  Participants will critique media coverage of bioethical topics.  Are questions of values parsed clearly and addressed properly? Are scientific uncertainties represented fairly?  Are potential biases or conflicts of interests identified?  Do the experts quoted have any expertise?  Are the slopes too slippery, the herrings too red?  The seminar will consider the purveyors of bioethical reportage as well as its content and audience.  What are the best news sources for keeping up on bioethics topics?  Where does the press turn when looking for experts in “bioethics?” What ethical demands of journalism as a profession have an impact on coverage of bioethical topics?

Considerable seminar time will be devoted to student presentations.  Students will choose among a variety of modest assignments.   

Bioethics in Film & Fiction, Steve Latham                    

This weekly seminar will run throughout June and July. Over the course of the summer, we will view about 6 bioethics-related films (e.g., The Sea Within, Gattaca, Extreme Measures) and read two or three bioethics-related novels (e.g., Frankenstein, Never Let Me Go). The “fiction” weeks will be separated by two or three “film” weeks, to give everyone time to finish the novels. Each week, we will meet as a group for discussion of the treatment of bioethical themes by that week’s film or novel. Interns should feel free to drop into and out of this discussion group over the summer, as their schedules permit. Suggestions for films and novels gladly entertained!    



Methods in Bioethics, Karen Lebacqz                                


The purpose of this course is to examine different methods used in bioethics, with attention to the strengths and weaknesses of each method. The readings and class lectures will not always coincide, as the lectures deal with methods used within the field of ethics, whereas the readings include other fields such as decision theory in economics and legal cases. Thus, the questions asked for each session cover both the readings and the class lectures. By the end of the course, students should have a feel for the language and approach of at least five different ways of doing bioethics, and a sense of the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches.


Bioethics & the Law, Steve Latham                               

This seminar will examine the basic treatment by American law of some major issues in contemporary biomedical ethics. Readings will include standard legal materials such as cases and regulations, a number of quasi-legal sources such as government commission reports and institutional guidelines, and some academic articles. No familiarity with legal materials is assumed; indeed, this seminar is designed for students with no background in American law. For each of the topics listed below, the instructor will offer a very broad and necessarily cursory overview of the area, and then will focus seminar discussion on one or two sub-issues to be addressed in detail. While the focus will be American law, some comparative-law readings will be supplied in order to bring possible alternative approaches to light.

Topics: Basics of the US legal system; abortion; assisted reproduction; stem-cell research; organ donation; research on human subjects; end-of-life care and aid in dying; and public health law.


Living with Disability, Moira O’Neill                          

This 8-session seminar series goes beyond the more common bioethical considerations of avoiding disability to examining the lived experiences of people with disabilities.  The discussion will strive to underscore the potential all people hold and the possibility of a different but OK “normal.” Applying the social or social-environmental model of disability that suggests disability is caused by societal obstacles including social attitudes, built or structural barriers, and other poorly designed and discriminating processes, participants will be exposed to the day-to-day lives and dilemmas of people with disabilities.  The dialogue will start with a legal framework and then range from the very intimate experience of tube feeding at McDonald’s and sex in a group home to bureaucratic parenting and the dangers of an ill-informed criminal justice system.   The series finishes by examining the bioethical principles in research of human subjects…at the front end of research, the funding end…with a look at how an aged comedian has upset a whole bunch of people.

Bioethics, Religion, & Environment,

Christy Peppard    

This seminar will explore selected aspects of contemporary environmental ethics over the course of seven sessions meeting Tues/Thurs from 5-7 p.m., beginning July 2. The first two sessions will be devoted to framing questions (What is religious ethics? How is it a relevant approach to environmental issues? How are bioethics and environmental ethics related?) and to different ways of evaluating the relationship between humans and the earth. The next four sessions will focus on water and climate change (two sessions per topic). The final session will wrap up loose ends, look retrospectively at the terrain covered in the course, and suggest directions for future study. Case studies, brief readings, group breakout exercises, and occasional reflection papers will be part of the course.

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2009 Participants


Jonathan M. Anthony

Philosophy & Biology

San Diego State University, San Diego, CA

Year of Graduation: 2010

Sydney Axson

Political Science

Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY

Year of Graduation: 2010

Elizabeth M. Balough


Columbia University

Year of Graduation: 2011

Justin Berk

B.A. Political Science - Health Policy (2010)

M.P.H. Health Management (2011)

Yale University, New Haven, CT

Caroline Broughton

Medical Student

Keele University School of Medicine, Staffordshire, UK

Year of Graduation: 2010

Jennifer Chevinsky

Bioethics in Cross Cultural Perspective

University of Connecticut

Year of Graduation: 2011

Rachel Fabi

Political Science with Public Health Policy concentration

Yale University, New Haven, CT

Year of Graduation: 2011

Vikas Gampa

Molecular Genetics & Philosophy

Ohio State University

Year of Graduation: 2010

Allison Grady

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Graduate Degree Candidate

Yale University School of Nursing, New Haven, CT

Year of Graduation: 2011

Jennifer Guyton

Political Science

Yale University, New Haven, CT

Year of Graduation: 2012

Maria Han

Medical Student

Yale University, New Haven, CT

Year of Graduation: 2010

Jennifer Hardy

History & Philosophy

Biola University, La Mirada, CA

Year of Graduation: 2009

Jaazzmina Hussain

Medical Student

Keele University School of Medicine, Staffordshire, UK

Year of Graduation: 2010

Eun Young Hwang

Master of Arts in Religion candidate

Yale Divinity School, New Haven, CT

Year of Graduation: 2010

Vanessa Jackson

Medical Student

Keele University School of Medicine, Staffordshire, UK

Year of Graduation:

Robert Y. Joynt


New York University, New York, NY

Year of Graduation: 2009 (December)

Julia Kiewit

Philosophy & Political Science

Biola University, La Mirada, CA

Year of Graduation: 2009


John Jay Institute for Faith, Society, & Law

Beginning Fall 2009

Christian J. Krautkramer

Law Student

University of Minnesota Law School

Year of Graduation: 2011

Melissa Jane Kurtz

Joint Graduate Degree Candidate

Yale University School of Nursing & Yale Divinity School, New Haven, CT

Year of Graduation: 2011

Lauren Lefebvre

English Literature

Depauw University, Greencastle, IN

Year of Graduation: 2009

Craig Luekens

Master of Divinity

Yale Divinity School

Year of Graduation: 2008

Anna McNamara

Medical Student

Keele University School of Medicine, Staffordshire, UK

Year of Graduation, 2010

Patrick Murphy


Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA

Year of Graduation: 2009

Law Student

St Louis University School of Law, St Louis, MO

Year of Graduation: 2012

Lee Thomas Nutini

Philosophy & Spanish

Transylvania University, Lexington, KY

Year of Graduation: 2009

Master of Liberal Arts candidate

St. John’s College, Annapolis, MD

Year of Graduation: 2011

Chizoba N. Nwachukwu

Medical Student

Ulyanovsk State University Medical School, Ulyanovsk, Russia

Year of Graduation: 2012

Obinna T. Nwankwo

Medical Student

Ulyanovsk State University Medical School, Ulyanovsk, Russia

Year of Graduation: 2012

Benjamin Ortiz

Religious Studies

Yale University, New Haven, CT

Year of Graduation: 2011

Wei Ouyang

Law Student

University of Edinburgh School of Law

Second year

Alexis Paton

Master of Arts in Philosophy Candidate with Bioethics concentration

University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Year of Graduation: 2010

Jennifer Ramos

Political Science

Yale University, New Haven, CT

Year of Graduation: 2010

Tuua Ruutiainen

Biological Basis of Behavior

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Year of Graduation: 2010

Caroline Nancy Seery

Neuroscience and Behavior

Columbia University

Year of Graduation: 2011

Virginia Sheftall

Law Student

University of South Carolina School of Law, Columbia, SC

Year of Graduation: 2009

Young Joo Shim

Master of Laws & Candidate for Ph.D. in Law

Graduate School of Hanyang University School, Korea

Fourth year

Monica Slinkard

Women’s Health & Adult Health Nurse Practitioner Graduate Degree Candidate

Yale University School of Nursing, New Haven, CT

Year of Graduation: 2011

Monica Vucko

Health Studies

Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Year of Graduation: 2011

Aileen Walsh

Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Health and Social Care

Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, England

Michael Young

Philosophy & Biology

University of Maryland, Baltimore County, MD

Year of Graduation: 2011

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