The American Bioethics & Culture Institute (ABCI) of the American Unit of the UNESCO Bioethics Chair has as its theme that a resilient moral life needs the support and inspiration for bioethical reflection that art and culture can provide even in the worst of times. This theme is explored in the distinguished Vanderbilt University’s School of Medicine Flexner Lecture “Healthcare from Hell to Here: Moral Courage and Vulnerability from the Shoah (1939-1945) to Today.” The invited lecturer is one of our founding Directors, Harold J. Bursztajn, MD. Complete video of his presentation can be found here. In this lecture Dr. Bursztajn illustrates this theme via a painting of a Rabbi who, though terrified, holds onto the Torah. This was one of the artist’s, Hyman Bloom’s, favorite paintings. Bloom himself continued to be creative throughout his life cycle until shortly before his death at 96 in 2009.

We are now creating an infrastructure for building collaborations among clinicians, scientists, psychologists, jurists, ethicists, and religious, human, and social-studies scholars and artists in all media, as well as the public. Our goal is to produce materials and create a climate for the teaching and learning of bioethics in a manner that is psychologically informed, memorable, and meaningful even in the midst of real-life stress and uncertainty. Via our national and international network we seek to cultivate a mentored, cross-culturally meaningful conversation that advances the bioethics of healthcare as the life cycle turns.

“Words have meaning only in the stream of life.”
–Wittgenstein, L. (1990, No. 913) Last Writings on the Philosophy of Psychology, Vol. I. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

ABCI, a part of the American Unit of the International Network of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics, is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.