Past Events

  • 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.


  • Opening Reception: Exhibition Documenting Durham's Health History

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    Thursday, November 21, 2019 - 4:30pm to 6:30pm
    • Special Event
    Remarks by Jeffrey Baker, MD, PhD, Director, Trent Center for Bioethics, Humanities & History of Medicine

    How have racial health disparities in Durham been understood over the past century? To what extent have their structural roots been appreciated? What role has Duke Health played in this history?

  • Race, Medical Research, and Reparations

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    Thursday, October 31, 2019 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
    • Humanities in Medicine Lecture
    Terri Laws, PhD, MDiv, African and African American Studies and Religious Studies, University of Michigan-Dearborn

    What is the moral aim of medical research in the context of race-based health inequity and health disparity? The history of race in medical research is fraught with misinformation, deceit, and disproportionate suffering and burden-bearing.

  • The Arc of the Heart: What the History of the Heart Teaches Us About the Future of Humanity

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    Tuesday, September 24, 2019 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
    • Humanities in Medicine Lecture
    Haider Warraich, MD, Associate Director, Heart Failure Program, VA Boston Healthcare System; Associate Physician, Brigham and Women’s Hospital; Instructor, Harvard Medical School

    Advances in heart disease have fundamentally changed what it means to be a human being, opening raw ethical conundrums. Technology today allows many patients to survive long after their own hearts have stopped beating. This talk will explore the implications of the commodification of artificial organs and the merger of man and machine.

    See recording of Haider Warraich's talk.