Courses in bioethics: University of Otago

The Bioethics Research Centre at the University of Otago was established in 1988 in response to growing awareness of new ethical issues related to law, medicine and technology; issues which touch upon the lives of everyone. It is the only centre for applied ethics in New Zealand.

The Centre has developed a network of links with other research centres and is attracting an increasing number of overseas scholars. Its staff offer supervision for postgraduate master’s and doctoral degrees. The interdisciplinary nature of the staff ensures interaction with experts from a variety of academic disciplines.

The courses offered can be used to obtain the following degrees in bioethics: Master of Health Sciences, Master of Bioethics and Health Law (combining course work and thesis) and Master of Medical Science (for medical graduates). Further information can be obtained from Professor Alastair V. Campbell, Director, 8 Bioethics Research Centre, P. 0. Box 913, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Courses in Bioethics: Monash University

The Centre for Human Bioethics, Monash University (Clayton, Victoria, 3 168 Australia) offers a postgraduate degree in Bioethics. The Master’s degree can be obtained by course work and minor thesis or by a major thesis. Compulsory subjects include ethics and legal issues in bioethics. Elective units include questions on life and death, ethical issues in patient care, reproduction and genetics. Applications can be sent to Dr. Helga Kuhse, Director at the above address.

Courses in Bioethics: Southern Illinois University

The Department of Medical Humanities, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, P. 0. Box 19230, Springfield, Illinois 62794-9230 (Director: Dr. George J. Agich) offers several integrated teaching modules and medical humanity modules. The latter include philosophical and ethical aspects of physician-patient relationship, organ donation, physician assisted suicide, health care rights and obligations and conflicts of interest. Dr. Agich also runs the International Network for Bioethics Education.

Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI)

VHAI, a non-profit society, completes the 25th year of its laudable activities. It links over 3,000 health and development organisations spread across India and promotes community health, social justice and human rights in the provision of services related to health. It has evolved several low-cost programs harmonising traditional skills with modern knowledge. It runs two centres of traditional systems of medicine in Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka. Its publications include State of India’s Health (August 1992), Health expenditures in India and periodicals including a bi-monthly journal and newsletters. Co-traveller, its quarterly newsletter, features essays discussing neglect of patients by doctors making it necessary for us to issue the warning ‘Caveat consumer’ in medicine as well (1995;6:5-6) and on stemming the kidney bazaar (1995;6:7-8). In the first essay, the author asks the medical profession: ‘In the process of progress where have you lost the human face?’ Telling cartoons illustrate these essays. Health related cases under consumer law (1995, 40 pages) discusses the Consumer Protection Act of 1986 and pleads for ‘medical services as if consumers mattered’. Also covered are the rights of the patient, means open to the patient and relatives for availing of these rights and case stories from hearings at the National and State Commissions where patients were able to obtain just settlements.

Ethics and Intellectual Disability

The Network on Ethics and Intellectual Disabilities has just published Volume 1, number 1 of Ethics and intellectual disability. The newsletter will facilitate interaction among those working in this field. The first issue features Dr. J. A. Costa e Silva’s essay entitled ‘Multicultural ethics and intellectual disability’, describing the need for the network in this field, efforts being made by WHO and how multi-faceted collaboration will help remove the stigma attached to mental retardation. In the section entitled ‘The law and retardation’, the case Ricci v. Olkin is summarised. The court order in the class action filed on behalf of mentally retarded residents in Massachusetts required the state to create an office to ensure that mentally retarded persons are provided the services to which the law entitles them. Each issue will feature a case study, based on real situa tions, for discussion. Here we are asked to comment on a mother’s request that her sexually active, mentally retarded daughter be sterilised. A book review, bibliography drawn from Bioethics line and a n o t e o n meetings and announcements completes the issue. Those wishing to obtain copies should write to : Professor de Johannes S. Reinders, Institute for Ethics, Free University, Amsterdam, Netherlands ([email protected]) or Dr. Robert M. Veatch, Director, Joseph and Rose Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Georgetown University, Washington DC 20057-1065, USA ([email protected])

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