Past Events

  • Race and Reproduction: Eugenic Sterilization Revisited

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    Thursday, October 29, 2020 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
    • Endowed Lectureships
    Johanna Schoen, PhD, Professor of History, Rutgers University - New Brunswick

    This talk in the Boyarsky Series on Race & Health analyzes the history of North Carolina’s eugenic sterilization program which operated from 1929-1975 and authorized the sterilization of more than 7,000 people.

    See a recording of the talk.


  • Keepers of the House: Documentary Screening and Discussion

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    Tuesday, October 13, 2020 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
    • Humanities in Medicine Lecture
    Discussion to follow.
    In this 15-minute documentary video, eight hospital housekeepers talk about their special human relationships with patients and their families and the ways in which they believe their work contributes to healing.
    See a recording of the event.
  • Creativity & Mental Health

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    Wednesday, October 7, 2020 - 4:30pm to 5:30pm

    A discussion marking the 30th anniversary of William Styron's Darkness Visible, a memoir of his depression & recovery.

    More information....

  • Duke Hospital's History: A Conversation about Race and Memory

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    Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
    • Special Event
    Damon Tweedy, MD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Jeffrey Baker, MD, PhD, Director, Trent Center for Bioethics, Humanities & History of Medicine; Professor of Pediatrics and History


    From 1930 to the 1960s, Duke hospital’s wards were segregated by race. Did people of color truly receive “separate but equal” care? In what ways did the civil rights movement successfully challenge these inequities?  Did the racism associated with the Jim Crow era collapse, or re-appear in new forms?

    See a recording of the talk.

  • Research Unbound: Seeking Ethical Solutions to New (and Old) Problems

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    Tuesday, March 3, 2020 - 5:30pm
    • Endowed Lectureships
    Jeremy Sugarman, MD, MPH, MA, Harvey M. Meyerhoff Professor of Bioethics and Medicine, Johns Hopkins University

    Recent controversies such as the birth of the first gene-edited babies in China, unchecked uses of unproven stem cell-based therapies, clinical trials conducted without patient consent, and HIV research with vulnerable populations challenge existing approaches aimed at ensuring that research is ethically sound. New and creative solutions are needed to appropriately manage research that seems to be unbound.

  • The Ethics of Automating Informed Consent: A Comparative Study

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    Tuesday, February 11, 2020 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
    • Humanities in Medicine Lecture
    Chris Simon, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Population Health Sciences, Duke University School of Medicine

    Informed consent has entered the digital age. Automated consent processes are replacing face-to-face (F2F) discussions of research. Is this a good thing? For whom? How do we advance the ethical and legal integrity of consent processes as the emphasis shifts to technological efficiency? Professor  Simon addresses these questions with the support of fresh data from a multisite randomized trial comparing electronic and F2F consent processes for genomic biobanks.

    See recording of Chris Simon's talk.

  • CANCELED - Smallpox Eradication 40 Years On: An Alternative Commemoration

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    Thursday, January 30, 2020 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
    • Humanities in Medicine Lecture
    Sanjoy Bhattacharya, PhD, Professor of History of Medicine; Director, Centre for Global Health Histories, University of York, United Kingdom


    due to travel complications from UK

    An effective vaccine caused health officials around the world to start dreaming about the prospect of smallpox eradication. In the mid-1960s, a series of US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and USAID- supported pilot programs in western and central Africa proved the efficacy of the freeze-dried vaccine and provided the strategic template for worldwide smallpox eradication. But was it really all so simple?

  • Could Poetry Save Doctoring?

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    Tuesday, December 3, 2019 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
    • Humanities in Medicine Lecture
    Francis A. Neelon, MD, Associate Professor Emeritus of Medicine, Duke University School of Medicine


    "Doctoring"-- the therapeutic interaction of health professionals with patients -- has two components:  1) transferring information; 2) establishing a healing relationship. Today, over-reliance on information transfer imperils the fragile balance of these components....

    See recording of Frank Neelon's talk.