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From Alienism to ACOs: Integrating Psychiatry, Again

This column describes the gradual integration of psychiatrists into mainstream general medical care, from their exile as “alienists” in isolated asylums to their current roles in accountable care organizations. The authors note that a contemporary form of alienism persists and argue that conceptual parity—the idea that mental illnesses exist within the…

Governing for the Common Good

The proper object of global health governance (GHG) should be the common good, ensuring that all people have the opportunity to flourish. A well-organized global society that promotes the common good is to everyone’s advantage. Enabling people to flourish includes enabling their ability to be healthy. Thus, we must assess health…

Where to Draw the Line on Gene-Editing Technology

The biologists have done it again. Not so long ago it was cloning and embryonic stem cells that challenged moral imagination. These days all eyes are on a powerful new technique for engineering or “editing” DNA. Relatively easy to learn and to use, CRISPR has forced scientists, ethicists and policymakers to…

Are Good Doctors Bad for Your Health?

One of the more surprising — and genuinely scary — research papers published recently appeared in JAMA Internal Medicine. It examined 10 years of data involving tens of thousands of hospital admissions. It found that patients with acute, life-threatening cardiac conditions didbetter when the senior cardiologists were out of town. …

Lessons in End-of-Life Care from the V.A.

The voice on the phone was that of an older man. He sounded cultured, well educated, and thoughtful. Also very angry. The man, Roy, had called me to describe some of the ways in which the health care system had failed his wife, Sheila, and him, when she was hospitalized for…

Robin Williams' Last Act and the Stigma of Loss

One year after the comedian Robin Williams’ suicide, his widow, Susan Williams, has declared that her husband’s suicide was not, as had been suspected, a devastating symptom of a depression. He was, she insists, “killed” by Lewy Body Dementia, a neurodegenerative disease. Her remark suggests her husband’s suicide was the…

Penn study: Pay patients to take pills

Statins are proven to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, yet as many as half of patients with prescriptions eventually stop taking the pills. A possible solution, says a team of University of Pennsylvania researchers: Pay the patients. And for those whose good pill-taking habits lead to lower levels…
Tags: david asch

Effectively Communicating the Uncertainties Surrounding Ebola Virus Transmission

The current Ebola virus outbreak has highlighted the uncertainties surrounding many aspects of Ebola virus virology, including routes of transmission. The scientific community played a leading role during the outbreak—potentially, the largest of its kind—as many of the questions surrounding ebolaviruses have only been interrogated in the laboratory. Scientists provided an…

Ben Carson: The candidate from bioethics

During the George W. Bush administration, Ben Carson was a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics.  Compared to separating conjoined twins in a landmark surgical procedure, this might seem like a small item on his resume. But there’s good reason to think that his bioethics experience helped shape the thinking…

Working Late, Courting Stroke

When Jeb Bush told a crowd in New Hampshire this past summer that people in the United States need to “work longer hours,” presumably he didn’t know that working longer hours is associated with a higher risk of strokes. According to a recent review and meta-analysis in The Lancet, if…

2015 Influencers in Aging: Zeke Emanuel

Meet Next Avenue’s 2015 Influencers in Aging. These 50 thought leaders, innovators, writers, advocates, experts and others are changing how we age and think about aging. --- Dr. Zeke Emanuel, an oncologist, author and medical ethicist, is a provocateur who suggests we skip our annual physical and ask ourselves if we…

Toward Evidence-Based End-of-Life Care

The disquieting patterns of end-of-life care in the United States have been well documented. In the last month of life, one in two Medicare beneficiaries visits an emergency department, one in three is admitted to an intensive care unit, and one in five has inpatient surgery. But one of the most…

Erin Aakhus: A doctor trapped between medical oath and health laws

Maria is a tiny woman in her late 30s. Though she is a mother of two, she hasn't seen her children in more than 10 years. In 2004, she entrusted them to her mother in Honduras when Maria made her way, on foot, to the United States to find work. As…

Apply Now: Penn Bioethics Boot Camp

Bioethics Boot Camp The Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania is accepting applications for Bioethics Boot Camp, a 3-week intensive introduction to bioethics, held at Penn on June 5-24, 2016. Boot Camp is designed for law students and Ph.D. students in philosophy, political theory, and…

MBE/JD Graduate Nicolle Strand Delves into Bioethics for Presidential Commission

Nicolle Strand L’13 always knew she wanted to work in bioethics. It was her major at Wellesley College, where she graduated in 2010, and she came to Penn Law to specifically to pursue a joint JD/MBE in bioethics. Now, after graduating with her JD/MBE, Strand is a research analyst at…
Tags: MBE

Professionally Responsible Disclosure of Genomic Sequencing Results in Pediatric Practice

Genomic sequencing is being rapidly introduced into pediatric clinical practice. The results of sequencing are distinctive for their complexity and subsequent challenges of interpretation for generalist and specialist pediatricians, parents, and patients. Pediatricians therefore need to prepare for the professionally responsible disclosure of sequencing results to parents and patients and guidance…
Tags: steven joffe

Science Underpins New Development Goals

Negotiators of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted last week in New York, have stressed the role of science in meeting the wide range of concerns that the new goals aim to address by 2030. More than 150 heads of state and government, as well as high-level representatives, attended the UN…

Oncologists' Experiences and Attitudes About Their Role in Philanthropy and Soliciting Donations From Grateful Patients

Physician participation in philanthropy is important to marshal resources that allow hospitals to pursue their missions, but little is known about how physicians participate and their attitudes toward participation.  Institutions are asking physicians to directly solicit their patients for donations with variability in physicians' perceptions of the impact on relationships with…

Open Position: Bioethics Assistant Professor in Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy

The Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania seeks candidates for an Assistant Professor position in either the non-tenure clinician-educator track or the tenure track. Track will be commensurate with experience. Responsibilities include 60% protected research time with minimal administrative…

The Solution to Drug Prices

WE’RE paying too much for prescription drugs. The price for cancer drugs like Yervoy, Opdivo and Keytruda routinely exceeds $120,000 a year. Some other specialty drugs have even higher prices. Cerezyme for Gaucher disease costs about $300,000 per year for life. Kalydeco for cystic fibrosis also costs about $300,000 per year.…