2016 Annual Bioethics Conference -- Social Justice and Ethics Committees in Health Care: Core to our Mission or None of our Business?

Harvard Medical School

This multidisciplinary program was co-sponsored by the Center for Bioethics at Harvard Medical School and The Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School to inform and deliberate with health care professionals, bioethicists, attorneys, and the public about how to address social justice issues in health care—such pressing problems as worsening drug shortages, continuing racial inequities, providing health care for refugees, uninsured and undocumented persons, and the like. 

Using selected examples speakers discussed the efforts of health care administrators and others to identify and address such large scale health system problems. Is there a role for ethics committees in handling social justice issues—should the attention of hospital ethicists and ethics committees expand to address broader institutional policies and programs? Faculty experts and participants described successful efforts to address specific problems and engage in thoughtful discussion with participants about strategies and struggles of ethic committees that move beyond individual case consultation to organizational ethics.

Support for this conference was provided by Oswald DeN. Cammann Fund at Harvard University.



Is there a role for ethics committees addressing social justice issues in health care?

WATCH: http://youtu.be/Rpl3FzoEWbY
James Corbett JD, MDiv
Sr VP, Community Health Improvement & Values Integration, Centura Health

Panel Discussion

Social justice problems and institutional responses—real world examples and reflections

ABC Panelists

PDF of Slides: James Heffernan, "Pharmacy/Medication Issues"

Concurrent Sessions I & II

Addressing race in health care delivery and ethics consultation
Gary Bailey, DHL, MSW, ACSW, Martha Jurchak RN PhD, Steve O’Neill LicSW, JD

Ethical Aspects of Emergency Preparedness
Ali Parmar JD, Meg Femino HEM

Fairness in Assisted Reproduction (second session only)
Louise King JD, MD

Caring for Refugees and Undocumented Patients
Paul Simmons MD, Lynn Black MD, MPH, Annekathryn Goodman MD, MS, Joshua Abrams JD


Dealing Respectfully with LGBTQ Patients (first session only)
Brian French RN

Making Medical Decisions for Unrepresented and Unknowable Patients
Carol Powers JD, Paul McLean, Jolion McGreevy MD, MBE, MPH, Enos Gardiner MDiv

Building Knowledge about Institutional Ethics Strategies (second session only)
Charlotte Harrison JD, MPH, PhD, Jim Sabin MD 

Christine Mitchell


Embedding Organizational Ethics in the Way We Do the Work

What is “org ethics” and how do we do it?  Can I take this work into my organization? Is addressing these or similar issues organizationally embraced as involving ethics? 
Christine Mitchell, RN, MS, MTS, FAAN Executive Director, HMS Center for Bioethics

Current Annual Bioethics Conference