UNESCO World Bioethics Day 2016

This year’s theme from the American Unit of the International Network of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics:

Bioethics in the Midst of a Trauma and Helplessness

Resources and Contributions:


Pivovarova, E., Tanaka, G., Tang, M., Bursztajn, H. J., & First, M. B. (2016). Is helplessness still helpful in diagnosing posttraumatic stress disorder?. The Journal of nervous and mental disease, 204(1), 3-8.

Abstract: Criteria A2, experience of helplessness, fear, or horror at the time of the traumatic event, was removed from the posttraumatic stress disorder diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. We argue that there is empirical support for retention of A2, a criterion that has clinical value and may improve diagnostic accuracy. Specifically, we demonstrate that A2 has high negative predictive power, aids in the prediction of symptom severity, and can be indispensible to detecting the disorder in children. We examine how augmenting A2 with other peritramautic emotions could improve clinical and diagnostic utility. In our opinion, rather than being eliminated, A2 needs to be reconstructed and included as one criterion of PTSD.

Hildebrandt, S. (2016). The Anatomy of Murder: Ethical Transgressions and Anatomical Science during the Third Reich. Berghahn Books. (Generous Contribution from Dr. Sabine Hildebrant and Recommended by the American Unit Through Close Correspondence)


Given by Dr. Harold J. Bursztajn, President of the American Unit of the UNESCO Bioethics Chair

Healthcare from Hell to Here: Trauma and Resilience from the Shoah (1939-1945) to Today (2015). Longwood Psychiatry Grand Rounds, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, October 15, 2015. A presentation which explores the relationship between trauma, massive psychic trauma, and post-traumatic discrimination.

Future Resources, Currently in Press


  1. Falls BA, Tanaka G, Bursztajn HJ. Geriatric psychiatry and the law. In The Principles and Practice of Forensic Psychiatry, 3rd Edition. Edited by Scott CL and Rosner R. New York, Taylor and Francis.(in press)
  2. Tanaka G, Soonsawat A, Haque OM, Bursztajn, HJ. Traumatized Older Individual and Society. In The Oxford University Press Handbook of Geriatric Forensic Psychiatry. (Ed 1). Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press. (in press)

*Above publications by corresponding author Dr. Harold J. Bursztajn in collaboration with American Unit Bioethics Chair Member Gen Tanaka, MD