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Multigene Cancer-Susceptibility Tests Require New Approaches to Patient Counseling

Multigene panel (“multiplex”) gene tests for cancer susceptibility can save time compared to sequential targeted-gene tests, and are becoming more widely used. Many see them as an inevitable and important step toward genomics-based cancer prevention. But it is too soon for multiplex tests to be offered broadly as a routine part…

Randomized Trial of Four Financial-Incentive Programs for Smoking Cessation

We randomly assigned CVS Caremark employees and their relatives and friends to one of four incentive programs or to usual care for smoking cessation. Two of the incentive programs targeted individuals, and two targeted groups of six participants. One of the individual-oriented programs and one of the group-oriented programs entailed rewards…

Reinventing American Health Care by Ezekiel J. Emanuel

The definitive story of American health care today—its causes, consequences, and confusions. In March 2010, the Affordable Care Act was signed into law. It was the most extensive reform of America’s health care system since at least the creation of Medicare in 1965, and maybe ever. The ACA was controversial and…

How to Solve the E.R. Problem

BACK in 2009, a big selling point of health care reform was the idea that expanding insurance coverage would increase Americans’ access to preventive and primary care and decrease the unnecessary use of emergency rooms, saving billions. President Obama said it this way: “One of the areas where we can potentially…

Online Course: The Affordable Care Act and the Future of Health Care Reform

Starting Monday, May 4th 2015, the Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy is offering a new online course via Coursera: "The Affordable Care Act and the Future of Health Care Reform," taught by Ezekiel Emanuel. Click the sign up button below to learn more about this free online course. Course…

60-Second Lecture: Impromptu Man


Justin Bekelman, MD awarded PCORI Grant

Project Summary For patients with stage II or III breast cancer, radiation therapy after breast conservation surgery or mastectomy improves breast cancer control and survival. However, because of unwanted radiation to the heart, radiation therapy may also increase the chance of future heart problems after breast cancer treatment has finished. Photon…

Announcing New Fellows in Biomedical Ethics for 2016

The Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy is pleased to announce the incoming Fellows in Advanced Biomedical Ethics.  We have a great group and we are very excited for them to arrive, join our community & get started. The 2016 fellows are: Grace Lee, MD, Hospital of the University…

Autumn Fiester: Teaching Nonauthoritarian Clinical Ethics

One area of bioethics education with direct impact on the lives of patients, families, and providers is the training of clinical ethics consultants who practice in hospital-based settings. There is a universal call for increased skills and knowledge among practicing consultants, broad recognition that many are woefully undertrained, and a clear…

Penn Bioethics Journal

The Penn Bioethics Journal (PBJ) is the premier peer-reviewed undergraduate bioethics journal. Established in 2004, the Journal provides a venue for undergraduates to make contributions to the field of bioethics. Embracing the interdisciplinarity of bioethics, PBJ reviews and publishes original work addressing debates in medicine, technology, philosophy, public policy, law, theology, and ethics,…

March 2015 Newsletter from LDI/CHIBE

Link to Newsletter Dear Colleague, We hope you stayed warm and dry this winter season! The March 2015 issue of the CHIBE newsletter focuses on some exciting research that received a lot of media attention in the last few months. You can follow our media publications on our Twitter account @PennCHIBE…

Karlawish: How can we really live with Alzheimer's?

When I was in medical school at the end of the 20th century, I was taught that Alzheimer's disease was a rare cause of dementia in middle-aged adults. The elderly had senility caused by an indecipherable mess of pathologies and aging. Now, in the 21st century, Alzheimer's is called an epidemic.…

Penn Bioethics Boot Camp

Penn Bioethics Boot Camp is a three-week intensive introduction to bioethics for graduate students in philosophy, political theory, the social sciences, and law.  Boot Camp includes real-world bioethics experiences and seminars by Pen faculty and visiting faculty. Admissions to Bioethics Boot Camp is competitive.  There is no fee for Bioethics Boot…

Zeke Emanuel: How to Develop New Antibiotics

THE bacteria are winning. Every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least two million people are infected with bacteria that can’t be wiped out with antibiotics, and as a result, 23,000 people die. Direct health care costs from these illnesses are estimated to be as…

The risk of knowing: Alzheimer's research volunteers

Jason Karlawish, a Penn physician who is leading the psychological study, said people often join trials like this because they have seen what Alzheimer's does up close and want to help, even if they may not benefit. His pitch: "Do you want to be a partner with me to achieve the…

Wearable Devices as Facilitators, Not Drivers, of Health Behavior Change

Several large technology companies including Apple, Google, and Samsung are entering the expanding market of population health with the introduction of wearable devices. This technology, worn in clothing or accessories, is part of a larger movement often referred to as the “quantified self.” The notion is that by recording and reporting…

Many Breast Cancer Patients Receive Unnecessarily Long Courses of Radiation

A study published in JAMA authored by researchers Justin Bekelman and Zeke Emanuel found that two-thirds of women treated for early-stage breast cancer in the U.S. receive longer radiation therapy than necessary. The vast majority of women who undergo lumpectomies receive six to seven weeks of radiation therapy, despite multiple randomized…

Dr. Connie Ulrich Awarded Grant from the National Cancer Institute

Dr. Connie Ulrich received a 5 year, $2,038,959 grant from the National Cancer Institute for her 1R01CA196131 award entitled:  " Retention in Cancer Clinical Trials: Modeling Patients' Risk Benefit Assessments”.  Dr. Ulrich’s study will use an innovative mixed methods approach and mathematical 3-D perceptual mapping (multidimensional scaling) to examine how patient-participants conceptualize…

How old is too old? Two ethicists debate quality of life as we age

How is this for a headline sure to catch your attention: "Why I hope to Die at 75." It was the title of an opinion piece written earlier this year for The Atlantic by Zeke Emanuel, chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University…

Ebola quarantines: nurses' perspective

American nurses and physicians have a long history of volunteering their time and talent during times of natural disasters, epidemics or other world calamities. International relief plays a significant role in providing first aid on the ground, making sure that those in need receive immediate medical care, education, or other resources.…