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Misericordia University launches The Center for Human Dignity in Bioethics, Medicine and Health
Posted 09/27/2017 09:04AM

To promote a deeper understanding of medical practices and their ethical ramifications, Misericordia University has announced the formation of The Center for Human Dignity in Bioethics, Medicine and Health at Misericordia University. The center will foster the study of medical ethics and the boundaries of medical research practices, and will build on the teachings offered in the university's Medical and Health Humanities Program.

Stacy Gallin, D.M.H., internationally known for her work as director of the Maimonides Institute for Medicine, Ethics, and the Holocaust (MIMEH), has been named director of the center. A 2012 graduate of Drew University with a doctorate in medical humanities, Dr. Gallin began teaching the subject at the undergraduate and graduate levels and subsequently organized the Conference on Medicine, Bioethics and the Holocaust in Madison, New Jersey. The 2015 conference brought together internationally renowned health care professionals, scholars, bioethicists and leaders in the field to initiate a dialogue at all educational and professional levels regarding the importance of creating enduring programs on medicine after the Holocaust. The conference's success provided the foundation for the development of MIMEH later that year.

"Misericordia's Center for Human Dignity will provide and support education on the ethics of medical practices in the past, as well as in the present and in the future," stated David B. Rehm, Ph.D., vice president of Academic Affairs at Misericordia University. "It is a perfect vehicle for Misericordia in that it marries the liberal arts and health sciences – who we are – and will provide educational opportunities for our students, the public, our faculty and others in the study of bioethics and related fields. We want to be able to communicate to the world important issues at the intersection of medicine and ethics."

The Center for Human Dignity offers a natural synergy to the bachelor's degree program in Medical and Health Humanities that enrolled its first students in the fall, according to Amanda Caleb, Ph.D., director of the Medical and Health Humanities Program.

"With the addition of the center, we will be able to expand our exploration of ethical issues regarding medical experimentation and health care access," Dr. Caleb added. "The center will go beyond the classroom and engage the community through its programming and outreach, which will allow for a meaningful and essential conversation about ethics in medicine. Misericordia University will take the lead in this topic by inviting scholars to give lectures, developing online resources including webinars and databases, and hosting conferences and symposia at the campus."

More than 40 percent of Misericordia's students are enrolled in health and medical sciences academic programs, including addictions counseling, applied behavioral sciences, diagnostic medical sonography, geriatric care management, health care informatics, health sciences, medical imaging, medical science, nursing, occupational therapy, patient navigation, physical therapy, and speech-language pathology.

"The creation of the center shows that Misericordia shares a dedication to placing human dignity at the center of bioethics, medicine and health," said Dr. Gallin. "Issues of equity, access to care and the treatment of vulnerable populations continue to plague our society. Rapid advancements in medical technology are eclipsing the traditional doctor-patient relationships at the heart of modern medicine, while economic and political concerns are overtaking the humanitarian and ethical foundations of health care. This center will provide a unique opportunity to initiate a dialogue between the academic community and the public regarding these topics that are of paramount importance for us all."

In addition, The Center for Human Dignity will provide expanded opportunities for students of all ages to reflect upon past medical and research practices with a vision of promoting an ethical and beneficial future.

"We plan to develop a new generation of scholars, bioethicists, and future community leaders who are engaged in research and program development that goes beyond the classroom," Dr. Gallin said. "We will offer programs that aim to transcend generational, religious and professional boundaries, and unite the community in service of a shared ideal: the importance of balancing necessary medical and scientific progress with the need to protect the sanctity of all human life. I look forward to creating an enduring center that will serve as a beacon for other like-minded universities and organizations."

A Center for Human Dignity in Bioethics, Medicine and Health Advisory Council has been established that includes representatives of the Misericordia faculty and student body, as well as the local community. The center is developing a series of lectures and workshops featuring internationally renowned scholars in the fields of bioethics, health care, Holocaust education, and human rights. It will also collaborate with like-minded national and international institutions, including the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. In addition, Dr. Gallin is planning a Grand Rounds program on bioethics to provide an opportunity for local health care professionals from across the medical disciplines to discuss the issues of bioethics, health and medical research.

The center will expand on and continue the efforts of the late Misericordia University Assistant Professor Okla Elliott, Ph.D., to compile an electronic database of educational resources for the teaching of the Holocaust, bioethics and topics related to medical experimentation. In addition, the center plans to explore the development of academic programs geared to health care professionals and students at Misericordia University.

Dr. Gallin has served as founding director of MIMEH, which has focused on the medical and bioethical implications of the Holocaust since its inception in 2015. In June 2017, she was appointed co-chair of the newly developed Department of Bioethics and the Holocaust of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Chair of Bioethics (Haifa). Dr. Gallin is a member of the board of directors at the Center for Medicine after the Holocaust in Houston, Texas. She also works closely with various national and international organizations, including the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, UNESCO, the Ukrainian Center for Bioethics, and the Aspen Program for Ethical Healthcare Leadership to raise awareness regarding the relevance of medicine, ethics and the Holocaust for modern society.

For more information about The Center for Human Dignity in Bioethics, Medicine and Health, please contact Stacy Gallin at sgallin@misericordia.edu or visit www.misericordia.edu/humandignity.

Caption:

Misericordia University recently announced the formation of The Center for Human Dignity in Bioethics, Medicine and Health to promote a deeper understanding of medical practices and their ethical ramifications. The center will foster the study of medical ethics and the boundaries of medical research practices, and will build on the teachings offered in the university's Medical and Health Humanities Program. Participating in the formation of The Center for Human Dignity, from left, are Amanda Caleb, Ph.D., director of the Medical and Health Humanities Program; President Thomas J. Botzman, Ph.D., Stacy Gallin, D.M.H., director, and David B. Rehm, Ph.D., vice president of Academic Affairs.

Misericordia University Sandy and Marlene Insalaco Hall
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