Seminar Series – Surrogate Decision Making in the Internet Age

Monday, Sep 23, 2019
12:00 pm - 1:15 pm
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Johns Hopkins Hospital, Zayed 2117
1800 Orleans Street
Baltimore, MD 21287

Surrogate Decision Making in the Internet Age
Jessica Berg, JD, MPH
Dean and Tom J.E. and Bette Lou Walker Professor of Law
Case Western Reserve University School of Law

The technology revolution has had an enormous effect on all aspects of the practice of medicine, from record-keeping to scheduling to billing to treatments to research. But although there have been efforts to create online decision-aids to facilitate informed consent, little thought has been given to the role of social media in surrogate decision making. Many people have been using various outlets for years, and left significant electronic documentation of their preferences. As social media users age, questions of how and whether to use social media to assist surrogate decision making will become more prevalent. This presentation considers the ethical and legal issues involved in the use of social media– such as Facebook and Twitter– in determining medical treatment preferences for surrogate decision making.

Jessica Berg is Dean and Tom J.E. and Bette Lou Walker Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve University’s School of Law. She is also a Professor of Bioethics and Professor of Public Health, with a joint appointment in Case Western Reserve University’s School of Medicine. She received both her B.A. and J.D., with honors, from Cornell University where she was a notes editor of the Cornell Law Review. She received her MPH from Case Western Reserve University.

Ms. Berg joined the faculty at Case Western in 1999 after serving as the Director of Academic Affairs of the Institute for Ethics, and Secretary of the Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs for the American Medical Association. While in Chicago, she also taught courses at the University of Chicago Law School and Northwestern University Law School. Before that, she was a Visiting Professor at Michigan State Medical School, a Scholar in Excellence at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and a Fellow at both the Center for Biomedical Ethics and the Institute for Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy at the University of Virginia.

Ms. Berg has taught many courses in law schools, medical schools and graduate programs including: Health Management & Policy, Food & Drug Regulation, Public Health Law & Ethics, Bioethics & Law, and Research Regulation. She is first author on a book published by Oxford University Press entitled “Informed Consent: Legal Theory and Clinical Practice” and has over 50 publications, spanning a wide variety of areas including professionalism, public health, mental health, e-medicine, medical decision-making, organizational ethics, research with human subjects, confidentiality, reproductive law and ethics, genetic enhancement, and end-of-life care.

Ms. Berg was the legal consultant for the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Bioethics from 2007-2013; was a member of the National Cancer Institute’s Pediatric Central Institutional Review Board from 2006-2009; served on various Protocol Review Committees and Data Safety and Monitoring Boards for the National Heart Lung Blood Institute from 2005-2013; and has served as a consultant for various professional organizations including the American College of Physicians and the American College of Cardiology. In 2008 Ms. Berg was named “Health Policy Researcher of the Year” by the Health Policy Institute of Ohio, and in 2009 she received the Case Western Reserve University Mather Spotlight Award for Excellence in Research. She was appointed the inaugural Oliver C. Schroeder Jr., Distinguished Research Scholar in 2012 and awarded an endowed chair in 2014. In November 2013 she was appointed Dean of the Law School, along with Professor Michael Scharf.