UVA professor addresses current topics in biomedical ethics in talk at Shenandoah University

shenandoah universityA well-known name in biomedical ethics will take the podium for the upcoming James A. Davis Lectures In Religion.

James F. Childress, Ph.D., professor emeritus of medical education at University of Virginia, will speak at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 5, and Tuesday, Nov. 6, in Hester Auditorium, Henkel Hall, on the Winchester campus. The event is free and open to the public.

The Monday lecture is “Physician-Assisted Dying: An Idea Whose Time Has Come?” Seven states and the District of Columbia have passed laws that allow physician-assisted dying under some circumstances. Several countries also have such laws. The lecture examines the rapid expansion in recent years in the number of states that have legalized this practice, along with the moral arguments that have been offered for these laws and the ethical concerns raised.

Tuesday’s lecture, “Conscientious Refusals in Health Care: Respecting Health Professionals and Protecting Patients” examines the moral arguments of patients seeking certain procedures or products, and the doctors and health professionals who claim a conscientious objection to providing these procedures and products to patients.

“While the most heated debates have focused on abortion and contraception, these are not the only important and troubling conflicts,” Dr. Childress said.

Childress was the John Allen Hollingsworth Professor of Ethics, professor of religious studies, and director of the Institute for Practical Ethics and Public Life at the University of Virginia until he retired in May 2016 and became an emeritus professor. He has been professor of public policy in the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at UVA and professor of research in medical education in the University of Virginia School of Medicine.

Childress won the 2004 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Bioethics and Humanities and was a member of the presidentially appointed National Bioethics Advisory Commission from 1996 to 2001.

Childress also served as vice chairman of the national Task Force on Organ Transplantation and has served on the board of directors of the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), the UNOS Ethics Committee, the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee, the Human Gene Therapy Subcommittee, the Biomedical Ethics Advisory Committee, and several data and safety monitoring boards for NIH clinical trials.

He has written several books.

“There is nothing one reads in biomedical ethics that doesn’t reference his book, ‘Principles of Biomedical Ethics,’” said Barry Penn Hollar, Ph.D, professor and program coordinator of the Department of Religion and Philosophy at Shenandoah. “He’s had a profound effect on the subject in the United States.”

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