Seminar Series – Recovering Inside? Ethical and Policy Challenges in Correctional Behavioral Health Care

Monday, Feb 17, 2020
12:00 pm - 1:15 pm
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Bloomberg School of Public Health Feinstone Hall
615 N. Wolfe Street
Baltimore, MD

Recovering Inside? Ethical and Policy Challenges in Correctional Behavioral Health Care
Dominic Sisti, PhD
Director, Scattergood Program for the Applied Ethics of Behavioral Health Care
Assistant Professor, Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy
University of Pennsylvania

Prisons and jails in the United States have become de facto mental healthcare institutions. Approximately half of the 2.2 million incarcerated individuals have a mental disorder, and 20 percent have a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depressive disorder. In this seminar, Dr. Sisti will review the origins of this public health crisis and present findings from his team’s conceptual and empirical bioethics research. He will describe the ethical double-binds faced by clinicians who work to provide high-quality behavioral healthcare to this vulnerable population and suggest policy remedies to meet these challenges.

Dominic Sisti, PhD is director of the Scattergood Program for the Applied Ethics of Behavioral Health Care and assistant professor in the Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania. He holds secondary appointments in the Department of Psychiatry, where he directs the ethics curriculum in the residency program, and in the Department of Philosophy. Dr. Sisti’s research examines the ethics of mental health care services and policies, including long-term psychiatric care for individuals with serious mental illness, and ethical issues in prison & jail healthcare.  He also studies the philosophical, ethical, and policy implications of defining and redefining mental disorders in the DSM. Most recently, Dr. Sisti has begun examining the ethical implications of artificial intelligence and social media in the context of mental healthcare delivery.

Dr. Sisti’s writings have appeared in peer-reviewed journals such as JAMAJAMA PsychiatryPsychiatric Services, the Hastings Center Report, and the Journal of Medical Ethics. His scholarship has been featured by popular media outlets such as the New York TimesThe EconomistNPRthe Philadelphia Inquirer, Slate, and The Atlantic. He is editor of three books: Health, Disease, and Illness: Concepts in Medicine (with Arthur Caplan & James McCartney, Georgetown University Press, 2004), The Case of Terri Schiavo: Ethics at the End of Life (with Arthur Caplan & James McCartney, Prometheus Books, 2006), and Applied Ethics in Mental Healthcare: An Interdisisciplinary Reader  (with Arthur Caplan & Hila Rimon-Greenspan, MIT Press, 2013).

Sisti was an Edmund Pellegrino Fellow at the Center for Clinical Bioethics at Georgetown University. He received his bachelor’s degree in biology from Villanova University, a master of bioethics from the University of Pennsylvania, and his doctorate in philosophy from Michigan State University. His research has been funded by the Thomas Scattergood Behavioral Health Foundation, the Greenwall Foundation, the The Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice, the Leonard Davis Institute, and the Dana Foundation.  Dr. Sisti teaches graduate courses on clinical ethics, ethics in behavioral health care, and social media, ehealth, and biomedical ethics. For the past seven years, he has organized and led the ethics track for the American Psychiatric Association’s Annual Meeting.