18th SUMMER COURSE IN BIOETHICS – Public Health, and Infectious Global Health Threats

The 18th International Summer Course in Bioethics will take place from July 8 to 12, 2019 at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum at Via degli Aldobrandeschi 190 00165 Rome, Italy. The course, entitled Bioethics, Public Health, and Infectious Global Health Threats, is organized by the School of Bioethics with the collaboration of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights established at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum and with the Università Europea di Roma. The course will take place immediately after the summer course of introduction to bioethics (July 1-5, 2019). The course will be offered in English and Italian. The summer course is one of the elective courses of the Licentiate in Bioethics and is valid for 3 ECTS credits. At the end of the course students who require the European credits ECTS take an evaluation test. Registration Deadline: July 8, 2019

Why this subject?

The lack of conceptual moral clarity in global health issues leads to indecision in real-life questions, and hinders effective collective actions. Before the 2016 outbreak of Zika, there was the 2014 outbreak of Ebola, the 2009 outbreak of H1N1, the 2003 outbreak of SARS and the 1970s outbreak of AIDS. The need for a clearly understood and a widely accepted ethical course of action in dealing with serious infectious global health threats has been repeatedly underscored.

Who should attend?

The course is open to all, but is of special interest for humanitarian aid workers (including those working with migrants); physicians, epidemiologists, health care workers, administrators, and managers; educators and professors; priests, religious, catechists and other pastoral agents; lawyers and jurists; law and policy makers; journalists, communicators and sociologists, as well as those who are interested in the cultural and social dynamics of our globalized world and wish to have informed criteria on cutting-edge global, bioethical, and social issues related to public health questions of international concern.

What will you learn?

The course offers an interdisciplinary study of infectious global health threats to better understand the challenges, the stakeholders, the laws, and policies applicable in this particular state of affairs. Participants will acquire the knowledge and skills to make an ethical assessment of infectious global health threats, in a way that takes into consideration the main stakeholders involved, as well as their different degrees of responsibilities. In addition, participants will be able to apply their knowledge and skills professionally in the fields of medicine, heath care, humanitarian assistance, global affairs, politics, law, sociology, communication, and education. The course is structure around the following question: How should we allocate different responsibilities among different stakeholders in order to facilitate political decision and lawmaking processes addressing infectious global health threats? In order to tackle this overall research question in a comprehensive yet coherent way, we will address these topics:

• Clarifying terminologies and mapping the field/framing the field: Why infectious? Why global? Why health threat?

• Understanding the challenge: scientific knowledge, statistics, best practices, laws and regulations on the most important infectious global health threats.

• Understanding the stakeholders: from individuals to state and non-state institutions

• What is expected of individuals? Ethical implications and personal responsibilities of patients.

• What is expected of health care workers? Ethical implications and responsibilities of health care workers and hospitals for the common good of patients.

• What does justice and ethics require of medical and pharmaceutical researchers? The ethical responsibilities of pharmaceutical transnational corporations.

• What does justice require of national governments? The common good, human dignity, and the human right to health care as guiding principles for crafting preventive, precautionary, and restrictive measures, as well as emergency actions and policies.

• What does global justice require of international NGOs? The principle of subsidiarity as a pivotal guiding principle of leadership in global health governance.

• What does global justice require of international organizations (like the UN and the WHO)? Global bioethics in global health governance: inspiring leadership and solidarity to uphold the global common good. How is this taught? The course is structured in lectures, Q&A sessions, seminars, film discussions, and interactive group activities. Professors of the School of Bioethics and other experts will participate as speakers and moderators of group dynamics.

Course Directors Prof. Francisco Ballesta LC / Prof. Alberto García

For further info: info.bioetica@upra.org

Follow this link to read the program in Italian.

Roboethics: Humans, Machines and Health

Roboethics: Humans, Machines and Health is the title of the Workshop that will be on 25-26 February 2019 during the Assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

The goal of the Workshop is to provide updates on the characteristics of the technologies in the field of robotics: namely, through those who work on the ground, identify and shape the questions rising in the field from the anthropological and ethical point of view and propose some ethical criteria and possibly some recommendations, keeping alive the attention to the global dimension of the theme. First session (Monday 25, afternoon) will focus on state-of-the-art technologies and different approaches to robotics’ research and development. Second session (Tuesday 26, morning) will explore socio-anthropological implications, i.e., how robotics changes the ways of knowing and understanding the world, perceiving relationships, and understanding the body and social coexistence. Third session (Tuesday 26, afternoon) will address the ethical implications of robotics in the health sector.

Please note that this Workshop will be followed by the 2020 Assembly on Artificial Intelligence. The fields of robotics and artificial intelligence are distinct, but closely related. They both contain so much information and so many anthropological and ethical questions in themselves that we are dedicating two assemblies to these subjects. We hope that, by having two different assemblies dedicated to two different aspects of the larger field of robotic technologies in general, we can address the opportunities and challenges of these connected technologies in greater depth.

Source: http://www.academyforlife.va/content/pav/en/news/2018/humans–machines-and-health–workshop-2019.html

Germany looks into ultrasound age tests on unaccompanied minor refugees

Calls for mandatory X-ray age tests on unaccompanied minor refugees were rejected last year by German doctors. As an alternative, the Health Ministry is now launching a €1-million study into ultrasound testing.

Young refugees walk in a hallway, backs to the camera
Age can have a huge implication on the future prospects of an asylum-seeker in Germany. In principle, unaccompanied minors — under the age of 18 and without family — cannot be deported. Upon their arrival in Germany, unaccompanied minors also have the right togo to school or start a training course immediately.

Debate in Germany over mandatory age checks on unaccompanied minor refugees has drifted on and off the agenda for months. In practice, tests to determine a refugee’s age currently differ from state to state. But discussions were brought to a halt last year when the German Medical Association (BÄK) rejected a proposal by the Health Ministry to introduce mandatory age checks using X-ray on ethical and medical grounds, calling it “an interference in their human welfare.”

Now, in the search for an alternative, German Health Minister Jens Spahn is pumping €1 million euros ($1.1 million) into a study to find out if ultrasound can be used to determine people’s age. A small, portable device, not much larger than a shoebox, has been developed by the Fraunhofer Institute.

“I can understand why doctors are reluctant to use X-rays when determining the age of young migrants,” said Spahn. “But we need to determine age. Because this has a bearing on the asylum process and — when there is doubt — on legal proceedings. That’s why we have to find a way to make this as minimally invasive as possible.”

Results of the €1-million study are due by the end of 2020.

Continuing reading: https://www.dw.com/en/germany-looks-into-ultrasound-age-tests-on-unaccompanied-minor-refugees/a-47161360

The birthplace of modern medicine

By Rossi Thomson

Padua, Italy, was at the forefront of a shift to scientific consciousness that allowed the real picture of human anatomy to emerge for the very first time.

From the 2nd Century AD to the end of the Middle Ages, it was an accepted tenet that monkeys had the inner workings quite like those of man. This was the anatomical point of departure established by the 2nd-Century Greek physician Claudius Galenus – commonly referred to as Galen – who at the time was the authority on all things medical in Western Europe and Byzantium. Yet due to religious, legal and cultural taboos, he had never systematically dissected human bodies. Instead, his writings and dissections of monkeys, specifically Barbary and rhesus macaques, guided the development and practice of medicine for around 1,400 years.

And then something ground-breaking happened.

A scientific revolution burst through the self-imposed limits of ancient knowledge. After human dissections being frowned upon for hundreds of years, in the 16th Century a shift to scientific research and observation allowed the real picture of human anatomy to emerge for the first time, paving the way for the practice of medicine we see today.

At the forefront of it all was one Italian city – Padua – and its university.

Padua has a rich artistic, religious and literary heritage. It’s best known as the setting of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew and where Italian artist Giotto – recognised as the Father of the Renaissance – frescoed the Scrovegni Chapel with biblical scenes loaded with human emotions. What is most remarkable about this northern Italian city, though, is that it’s the cradle of modern medicine.

Medicine had been studied in Padua – once a free commune – for many centuries. This tradition was upheld when the University of Padua was founded in 1222. A renowned centre of the sciences, the University of Padua enjoyed unparalleled autonomy and religious tolerance even after it came under the rule of the Carrara dynasty during the 14th Century. When Padua was conquered by the Republic of Venice in 1405, the Venetians kept the university as the main educational hub of the Republic and managed it under the motto of Libertas docendi et investigandi (Freedom of teaching and researching).

Continuing reading: http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20190203-the-birthplace-of-modern-medicine