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Carol Pollard-Levy

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION: Bioethics is a field of inquiry that addresses questions of life and death, vulnerability and possibility in human existence and in the whole of nature. It is, above all, concerned with the human duties that such questions involve. As such, it is essentially interdisciplinary and inter-professional inquiry in the service of society. Specific issues range from the moral dimensions of medical decisions, to the ethical questions raised by molecular genetics, to the goals of sustainable world populations within a viable world environment. The intersection of philosophical and religious ethics, natural and social sciences, humanities, law, health professions, and public policy is actively explored. The purpose of bioethics rises from the significance and urgency of the questions posed through bioethical inquiry for our society as a whole: the preservation and enhancement of human life along with appropriate respect for all things in nature; careful assessment of benefits and dangers in advancing knowledge and possibilities for action; and requirements of responsible and fair decision-making regarding the needs and goods of the human community and the world's environment. Public discourse on such questions needs to be fostered. Case studies will be examined and used to enhance discussion during each session.

1. Laying the Foundation: Ways to think critically about bioethics - The Principles, Casuistry, the Bio-Psycho-Social Model, Feminist Ethics - discussions about case studies.
2. Laying the Foundation: Continued discussion of ways to think critically about bioethics with focus on case studies.
3. End-of-Life Issues: Palliative Care, Grief, Life-Extension, The Caregiver's Role, Physician Assisted Suicide - use of the Mandela and videos to stimulate discussion.
4. Perspectives on Aging: Use of poetry and guided discussion to focus on "wisdom," "sadness," the richness of the "older life," empathy and respect for the disabled.
5. Medical Tourism: Discussion of the ethics of many forms of medical tourism, where it happens and why, financial burdens or benefits, ethical judgments.
6. Environmental Ethics: What is the "environment" and who, or what, is worthy of moral consideration; human-centered or biocentric focus on climate change, use of animals, intrinsic values of all life; the meaning of “personhood” in environmental ethics.
7. Global Health: Focus on women's and children's health and education as a way to lift societal burdens; war, poverty, and epidemics. Readings and guided discussions.
8. Sum it all up! One Health and Reverence for Life, how to come to terms with our needs and wants and what is right for the world.
BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION: Carol Pollard-Levy, MA, MSc, MEd, spent ten years working in hospital administration and ten years after that as the founder and executive director of an international human rights organization. The connection between these two areas – healthcare and human rights – became very clear once she discovered the field of bioethics. She is one of the founding members and associate director of Yale University’s Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics and is the immediate past director of Yale University’s Summer Institute in Bioethics ( She has appeared on national and international talk shows, both radio and television, and is a lecturer, writer, and commentator on human rights issues and more broadly the field of bioethics. She is also a practicing artist and musician.

Time: 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm
Date: Fridays, October 6, 13; 20, 27, November 3, 17; December 1, 8
Location: Continuing Education Building, 31-D
Fees: Member - $100
Non-member - $130
Cash will no longer be accepted as payment for lectures.

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