As the Institute is part of the UNESCO Bioethics Chair network’s American Unit, ABC&I focuses on developing a psychodynamically and culturally informed conversation regarding bioethics issues which reflect the diversity of interests and values in America with our history of ethical failures and accomplishments.
In our conversation we make reference to bio-ethical failures which provide lessons for the present is the painful legacy American medicine’s pioneering the racist eugenics movement. That movement, in combination with the promise of immortality, served as a rationalization by Nazi medicine’s spearheading the program of extermination against those inferior, beginning with the disabled and culminating with the war against the Jews more commonly known as the Shoah.
In today’s healthcare, highly diverse patient populations are ever more vulnerable to dehumanization with the growth of complex biotechnology, the fragility of aging, and the trauma of transgenerational inequality. The American Bioethics Culture Institute promotes mentorship of clinicians and public conversations to foster humane, bio-ethically & culturally informed healthcare.
- Haque OS, De Freitas J, Viani I, Niederschulte B, Bursztajn HJ. Why did so many German doctors join the Nazi Party early? Int J Law Psychiatry. 2012;35(5-6):473-479.
As much as we can learn from bio-ethical failures, we can also learn from bio-ethical accomplishments such as when health care is delivered ethically during times of trauma and crisis be it during the Shoah (1939-1945) or the 1960’s catalyzed American civil rights movement. An illustration of how such learning can proceed is found in:
- “Healthcare from Hell to Here: Moral Courage and Vulnerability from the Shoah (1939-1945) to Today.” Vanderbilt University School of Medicine Flexner Dean’s Lecture Series, Nashville, TN, March 9, 2015.
Through our mentorship programs for health care providers at all stages of career development we look forward to widening and deepening the conversation regarding bioethics in times of change, crisis, and uncertainty.
We also engage in ongoing conversation with the mental health and medical professions and the public regarding bio-ethical issues of concern. Is there a place for psychodynamically informed forensic interviews in understanding ISIS’s appeal to some Western adolescents?:
- Haque OS, Choi J, Phillips T, Bursztajn HJ. Why are young westerners drawn to terrorist organizations like ISIS? Psychiatr Times. 2015;32(9).
These include reference to culturally timely events such as the following discussion held recently for Harvard Medical school psychiatry residents and students:
- “Psych Cinema Tuesday presents Woman in Gold.” Harvard Medical School Longwood Psychiatry Residency Training Program Movie Night Discussion, Boston, MA, September 15, 2015.