2017 Bioethics Graduate Research Symposium

For the Bioethics Institute, one of the highlights of the semester is the Bioethics Graduate Research Symposium. The Institute’s third annual Graduate Symposium took place on November 13. It was dedicated, this year, to various topics concerning health care justice and distribution.

The main scope of the symposium is to offer an opportunity for 2nd year Masters students to find a public avenue for discussion of their own ideas and work with fellow students, graduate and undergraduate, as well as interested people at large.

This “exoteric” exercise is a first step into the public world of bioethics scholarship, a prelude to the more robust and intellectually demanding exchange of ideas and perspectives traditionally taking place in professional societies, to which, the program encourages students to participate in.

In addition to preparing students for future scholarship, a graduate research symposium stands as a reminder of what a university is supposed to be: a community of scholars engaged in intellectual discourse.  Ultimately, the scope of the symposium, is to energize the exchange of ideas and to foster friendship across graduate programs within the College, and even the University at large.

This year’s topic on the ethics of health care justice and distribution constitutes an issue of enormous relevance in contemporary society. Political discourse concerning health care has been contentious and emotional. At a societal level, we struggle to articulate whether access to health care is a basic requirement of social justice or simply a commodity that can be purchased. If health care is, in fact, a requirement of justice, we must identify which conception of justice creates this requirement. In turn, it may be possible to understand how a constellation of rights and duties instruct societal questions of who is eligible to receive health care, how much, and who or what is responsible for its provision. By focusing primarily on the role of pharmaceutical companies as well as artificial reproductive technologies, each of our presenters examined questions of justice with regards to the use, allocation, and availability of health care resources.

The four presenters were: Samantha Stephenson, who presented on the topic “Choosy Moms Choose ART?: Feminist Perspectives of Assisted Reproductive Technologies”, Cheyenne Ford who presented “1 in 10 and Still Counting: A Communitarian Approach to Corporate Social Responsibility in Pharmaceutical Companies”, Zane Ashman who presented “Interpreting the Pharmaceutical Industry’s Approach to Intellectual Property from a Libertarian Perspective”, and Deborah Olson who presented “Addressing the Ethical Challenges of Industry-Sponsored Research in Private Clinical Practice”.

The Bioethics Institute thanks all of its students for their presentations and looks forward to their continued contributions to the field of bioethics.