Calendar of Events

February 26, 2018 -
5:00pm to 6:30pm
602 Cathedral of Learning

Alice Dreger, PhD
Clinical Professor of Medical Humanities and Bioethics
Feinberg School of Medicine
Northwestern University

The intersex patient rights movement has been in existence for about thirty years. What have been the goals, and what has actually been achieved? Why has reaching those goals been so difficult, even when what is being sought—age-appropriate, honest information about medical histories; obtaining patients’ consent before optional sexual surgeries; meaningful psycho-social care—seems so reasonable? After a basic introduction to intersex (i.e., when a person is born with a body that isn’t standard male or standard female), this talk will explore these questions. The speaker is the former Chair of the Board of Directors of the Intersex Society of North America and has worked with various groups, including the Association of American Medical Colleges, to try to improve care for people born intersex.

Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies / Medical Humanities / Bioethics Lecture

February 27, 2018 -
7:15am to 8:15am
Auditorium - Magee Womens Hospital

Prenatal Dexamethasone for CAH: How Safe Are Pregnant Women and Fetuses in Our Medical System?
Alice Dreger, PhD
Author of  The Talk: Helping Your Kids Navigate Sex in the Real World (2016), One of Us: Cojoined Twins and the Future of Normal (2004), and Hermaphrodites and the Medical Invention of Sex (1998).

February 27, 2018 -
6:00pm to 7:00pm
Scaife Hall - 4th Floor

CF Reynolds Medical History Society
Gregory Anstead, MD, PhD
Associate Professor
Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine
University of Texas Health Science Center

March 1, 2018 - 9:15am to March 4, 2018 - 4:00pm
Palmer House Chicago, IL

APPE Call for Submissions invites individuals from all disciplines and professions interested in advancing scholarship, teaching and a general understanding of practical and professional ethics to submit presentations, case studies, pedagogical demonstrations, creative arts, posters, etc no later than October 27, 2017.  One individual submission per person will be accepted.  Submissions are invited on ethical issues in all fields including business, engineering, government, media, law, medicine and science and technology as well as interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary issues that cut across professions such as biomedical, educational, environmental, public health and research.

March 4, 2018 -
4:30pm to 5:30pm
Trust Arts Education Center 807 Liberty Avenue Pittsburgh

Alex John London
Clara L. West Professor of Ethics and Philosophy
Director of the Center for Ethics and Policy
Carnegie Mellon University

Abstract: As machines take on roles that were once the sole province of humans, how they impact our lives will depend on their ability to make moral decisions and navigate the human social world. This talk explores the nature and ubiquity of moral decision making, why it is a challenge for machines, and why some concerns about AI systems making “life and death” decisions are overblown.

Pittsburgh Humanities Festival, a production of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and The Humanities Center at Carnegie Mellon University

March 14, 2018 -
4:00pm to 5:30pm
Scaife Hall Lecture Room 6

Abstract: Your Health: A Sacred Matter is a documentary exploring the intersection of religion and spirituality with healthcare and health. This Grand Rounds will include a showing of a segment of the documentary involving a patient with traumatic brain injury and her caregiving team. The patient’s mother will be present and will offer her reflections on her daughter’s care. Her remarks will be followed by a panel discussion with clinicians, a chaplain, and the documentary’s producer, as well as discussion with the audience.

Special Medical Humanities Grand Rounds of the Departments of Neurosurgery, Neurology, and Rehabilitation Medicine

March 19, 2018 -
5:00pm to 6:30pm
501 Cathedral of Learning

Katy Butler
Family caregiver, journalist, and author of Knocking on Heaven's Door

How do you take the “straw” of ordinary personal experience and transform it into the “gold” of a polished essay that is a gift to the reader? How do you tell your truth without harming others?  Journalist Katy Butler will discuss how she wrote her critically-acclaimed medical memoir, Knocking on Heaven’s Door. The book, based on a New York Times Magazine story that went viral, recounts her aged father’s prolonged decline, and her struggle to deactivate the pacemaker she felt was depriving him of a good death.  Katy will give tips on how to write your own powerful, truthful, even seemingly dangerous medical essay or memoir.

Medical Humanities Mondays Lecture

March 20, 2018 -
12:00pm to 1:00pm
MUH - 7 Main Auditorium

Katy Butler
Family caregiver, journalist, and author of Knocking on Heaven's Door

Medicine Grand Rounds


March 23, 2018 -
8:30am to 4:30pm
Scaife Hall - 11th Floor Conference Center

Drug use, particularly the opioid epidemic, threatens the health and well-being of entire regions, communities, families, and individuals. Addressing the epidemic requires action at multiple levels from individual provider practices to state and national policies. At each level, ethical and legal issues arise. Simultaneously, blockbuster (and budget busting) new drugs promise life-saving and quality-of life enhancing benefits to patients suffering from chronic and acute conditions, but threaten the fiscal viability of our healthcare system. The pharmaceutical industry’s social roles indeed raise ethical concerns about the health of our research and regulatory infrastructures and about transparency within the provider-patient relationship. This conference features three lectures in the morning with concurrent breakout sessions in the afternoon on ethical concerns regarding: substance using pregnant women, medical use of marijuana, conflicts of interest, adherence to cancer treatment, policy to guide valve replacement practices for patients with opioid use disorders, and pharmacogenomics.

Ira R. Messer Lecture:

Combatting the High Price of Drugs: What does patient empowerment have to do with it?
Peter A. Ubel, MD
Madge and Dennis T. McLawhorn University Professor
Duke University

Plenary Lecture
The Role of Healthcare Financing in Causing (and Curbing) Opioid Abuse
Valarie Blake, JD, MA
Associate Professor of Law
West Virginia University

Keynote Lecture:
Pain Management and Subjectivity in a Climate of Distrust: The Case of Opioid Contracts
Daniel Z. Buchman, MSW, PhD
Bioethicist, University Health Network
Assistant Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto

Registration is now open.  Continuing education credit in law, medicine and social work is available.

March 26, 2018 -
7:00pm to 8:30pm
602 Cathedral of Learning

Comments by:
Larry Davis, PhD, Dean of the School of Social Work
Lisa S. Parker, PhD, Director, Center for Bioethics & Health Law
Elizabeth Pitts, PhD, Assistant Professor of English

Abstract: Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and more. Henrietta's cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can't afford health insurance. This phenomenal New York Times bestseller tells a riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew. This panel discussion will consider the book as a work of science writing, as well as a work that raises issues of research ethics and of race.

This event is the result of a partnership of the Humanities Center, the Center for Bioethics & Health Law’s Medical Humanities Mondays series, and CCAC’s “One Community Reads” Program. Reception to follow.

March 28, 2018 (All day)
University Club

Abstract: This cross-disciplinary conference on family and health will examine the role of the family in education, health, caregiving, and social support, and in shaping beliefs about sickness, health, and medicine, as well as in shaping health behaviors. More information is available here; registration will open in 2018.

March 29, 2018 -
2:30pm to 4:45pm
University Club 123 University Place

Dr. Thomas Parran:  An Overview of His Career
Gregory J. Dober, MA
Adjunct Professor, Lake Erie College of Medicine (LECOM) Erie, PA

Escaping Melodrama: What do we do about the "bad" men in the Studies in Tuskegee and Guatemala
Susan Reverby, PhD
Marion Butler McLean Professor Emerita in the History of Ideas, Wellesley College
Fellow, Crime and Punishment Workshop, Charles Warren Center,
Harvard University, 2017-18

Lessons from the history of the US Public Health Service Research Studies in Tuskegee and Guatemala
Bill Jenkins, PhD, MPH
Professor of Public Health Sciences and Associate Director of the
Research Center on Health Disparities Morehouse College

The roles of monuments and naming in collective memory and identity
Kirk Savage, PhD
William S. Dietrich II Chair and Professor of History of Art and Architecture
University of Pittsburgh

Sponsored by the Graduate School of Public Health.

April 3, 2018 -
6:00pm to 7:00pm
Scaife Hall - 4th Floor

CF Reynolds Medical History Society
Shelley McKellar, PhD
Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine
University of Western Ontario

April 6, 2018 -
9:00am to 7:00pm
University of Pittsburgh - Johnstown Campus

Abstract: This conference will feature interdisciplinary health scholarship in panel presentations, applied workshops, and poster presentations. Among other topics, it will include a panel on genetic enhancement and a keynote lecture by Deepu Gowda, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine at the Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) and the Director of Clinical Practice in the program in Narrative Medicine at CUMC.

April 9, 2018 -
5:00pm to 6:30pm
501 Cathedral of Learning

Jesse Soodalter, MD, MA
Clinical Instructor of Medicine
University of Pittsburgh

Abstract: Mr. H, a previously healthy 51-year-old African-American man, presents to a major academic medical center with several days of flu-like symptoms, and is found to be in fulminant heart failure, a rare autoimmune complication of a common virus. Over several days and an escalating series of emergent interventions, his heart dies, and he winds up on a highly advanced complex of life support technologies that replace the function of his heart, lungs, and kidneys. This constellation of care is known as “bridge therapy,” a definitionally temporizing configuration intended to keep a dying patient alive long enough to reach some “destination,” be it recovery, transplant, implantation of more permanent support devices, or decision to withdraw care. In the case of Mr. H, a lengthy, tumultuous, and ultimately tragic series of events follows.  Mr. H’s sojourn on the bridge affords a vantage point from which we can consider problems of race, class, sovereignty, bio- and necropower as they play out in the increasingly technologized setting of critical care in America. The figure of the cyborg as proposed by Donna Haraway will be our guide in considering the possibilities and limitations of radical resistance to this regime of power over life and death.

Medical Humanities Mondays Lecture