Past Events

  • Mental Illness, Treatment Futility, and Compassionate Care: The Case of Anorexia Nervosa

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    Friday, March 9, 2018 - 8:00am to Saturday, March 10, 2018 - 3:00pm

    The focus of this conference is severe and enduring anorexia nervosa. Given that the odds of recovery become lower with the passage of time and that patients with anorexia nervosa genuinely suffer, might it make sense at some point to transition from a focus on cure to a focus on quality of life? Might it make sense in such cases to honor a patient’s desire to avoid hospitalization and/or forced feeding? If so, what else should we provide? If we are to offer compassionate care for this patient population, we must carefully reflect on these questions.

    For more information, see conference website. To register, click here.

  • An Evening with Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II

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    Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - 5:30pm to 6:30pm

    Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II is the president of Repairers of the Breach and co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival which is a multi-state movement fighting to end systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, environmental destruction, and other injustices. Repairers of the Breach is a not-for-profit organization that seeks to build a moral agenda rooted in a framework that uplifts our deepest moral and constitutional values to redeem the heart and soul of our country.

    See recording of Rev. Barber's talk.

  • Head Trauma in Football: Implications for Medicine, Law & Policy

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    Friday, February 16, 2018 - 6:15pm to Saturday, February 17, 2018 - 6:00pm

    Friday, February 16, 2018
    The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University
    6:15-8:45 pm

    Screening of the documentary Requiem for a Running Back and a conversation with the filmmaker Rebecca Carpenter

    Saturday, February 17, 2018
    Duke Law

  • Should We Be Resuscitating 22 Weekers?

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    Wednesday, February 7, 2018 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm
    • Topics in Medical Ethics Lecture Series
    John Lantos, MD, Director, Children’s Mercy Bioethics Center, Children’s Mercy Hospital; Professor of Pediatrics, University of Missouri at Kansas City

    Until very recently, almost all babies born at 22 weeks of gestation died.  That is starting to change.  A number of recent studies show 30-50% survival with outcomes among survivors that are similar to outcomes for babies born at 23 and 24 weeks of gestation.  However, most tertiary care centers, with support of bioethicists, still withhold active treatment from most babies born at 22 weeks. Is there any other situation in medicine in which doctors discover a remarkable new treatment for a previously fatal disease and other doctors show no interest in studying it or disseminating it?  And bioethicists support them?

    See video recording.

  • African Americans in Civil War Medicine

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    Tuesday, January 30, 2018 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
    • Humanities in Medicine Lecture
    Margaret Humphreys, MD PhD, Josiah Charles Trent Professor in the History of Medicine, Professor of History and Medicine, Duke University addition to liberation of America's slaves, the Civil War also promoted the professional development of African American physicians and nurses in surprising ways.  This talk highlights the career of Dr. J.D. Harris, an African American born free in Fayetteville, NC, who served as a surgeon during the war.

    See video recording.

  • Narrative Medicine Interest Group

    Thursday, December 7, 2017 - 5:30pm to 7:00pm
    The Narrative Medicine Interest Group for medical students will meet on Thursday, December 7 in the Trent Center conference room, 108 Seeley Mudd Building.


    Medical students meet with faculty facilitators Karen Jooste, MD, Jennifer Lawson, MD, and Brian Quaranta, MD and a team of students led by Alexis Wilsey, to read and discuss selected texts that reflect on the experience of illness. Narrative medicine engages attention to story in order...

  • So You Want to Be a Good Physician? Reflections on the Challenges of Medical Education and Service to Others

    Wednesday, November 8, 2017 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm
    • Special Event
    Farr Curlin, MD, Duke University School of Medicine; Lydia Dugdale, MD, Yale University School of Medicine; Warren Kinghorn, MD, Duke University School of Medicine; John Yoon, MD, University of Chicago School of Medicine



    What does it mean to be a “good” physician?  What sorts of moral formation can take place in medical school education? What does it mean to see medicine as a “vocation” and how does the practice of medicine have a moral dimension to it? These are hard, important questions that anyone planning on medical school (or already in medical school) should give time to contemplate. In this public panel, four experts from medical schools around the country will weigh in on these and other questions.

    Co-sponsored with the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University

  • Brain Death, Organ Donation, and the Dead Donor Rule: Contemporary Controversies

    Tuesday, November 7, 2017 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm
    • Topics in Medical Ethics Lecture Series
    Melissa Moschella, PhD, Director, Center for Biomedical Ethics, Department of Medicine, Columbia University


    Recently, prominent ethicists have challenged the validity of long-established brain death criteria and argued that the dead donor rule for transplantation should be abandoned. In this talk, Professor Moschella will review recent clinical cases, scientific developments, and ethical arguments that bear on these questions. She will argue, against a growing tide of professional opinion, that brain death really is death and that, therefore, the dead donor rule is well justified. She will briefly explore whether an alternative ethical justification could be given for removing vital organs from imminently-dying, life-support-dependent patients.

  • Can Obamacare Survive the Trump Administration?

    Wednesday, September 27, 2017 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm
    • Topics in Medical Ethics Lecture Series
    Jonathan Oberlander, PhD, Chair, Department of Social Medicine; Professor of Health Policy & Management, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill


    Seven years after its enactment, the Affordable Care Act remains mired in controversy and partisan division.  How is the ACA actually working?  What is its future--repeal, replace, or repair?  Could a new bipartisan consensus on health care policy emerge?   This talk will explore recent political struggles over Obamacare as well as the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for health care reform.

    See video recording.