Berman Institute Monthly Newsletter – September 2019

Hanna Pickard Joins Berman Institute as Bloomberg Distinguished Professor

Hanna Pickard, a leading applied philosopher in the fields of philosophy of psychiatry and moral psychology, has joined Johns Hopkins as a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Bioethics. She holds joint appointments in the Berman Institute of Bioethics and the Department of Philosophy.

Pickard comes to Johns Hopkins from the University of Birmingham in the U.K., where she is Chair in Philosophy of Psychology, and from Princeton University, where she has served as a visiting research scholar in cognitive science for the past two years. Previously, she’s been a research fellow at the University of Oxford and served for 10 years as an assistant team therapist at the Oxfordshire Complex Needs Service, where she worked clinically in an outpatient therapeutic community for patients with personality disorders and other complex mental health needs.

“We are thrilled about Hanna Pickard’s appointment as a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor,” said Jeffrey Kahn, Andreas C. Dracopoulos Director of the Berman Institute. “Her innovative work with responsibility without blame provides a promising framework for addressing opioid addiction and other substance use disorders. Her research embodies the Berman Institute’s emphasis on utilizing interdisciplinary approaches to explore contemporary ethical issues that take place in real-world circumstances.”


Debra Mathews, Assistant Director for Science Programs and Associate Professor at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, has been named to a two-year term as Chair of the Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission. The Commission is focused on identifying and fostering cutting-edge research and innovation in the field of regenerative medicine in Maryland


Faculty Play Role in Publication of Public Ethics Handbook

Berman faculty took a leading role in the recently published Oxford Handbook of Public Health Ethics, editing the volume and authoring 23 of its chapters.

Allison McCague, a 2019 Berman Institute Ph.D. graduate, has been named an inaugural Eagleton Science and Politics Fellow by Rutgers University. The fellowship, led by Rutgers–New Brunswick’s Eagleton Institute of Politics, has appointed four scientists to positions in the New Jersey departments of health, human services, transportation and the Legislature. During their yearlong appointment they will serve as full-time science advisors to agency leaders and legislators.

Danielle Crawford, social work sophomore at Morgan State, spent the summer as our intern. She recounts experiences shadowing social workers to learn about ethical issues they face in their practice.


Berman Institute Announces 2019-20 Seminar Series
More than a dozen leading bioethics scholars from around the world will lecture on vital issues in the field as part of the Berman Institute’s biweekly 2019-20 Seminar Series. This year’s series begins at noon on Monday, Sept. 23, with “Surrogate Decision Making in the Internet Age,” by Jessica Berg, Dean and Professor of Law and Professor of Bioethics & Public Health at Case Western Reserve University. Lectures, held at lunchtime, are free and open to the public. Click here for this year’s full schedule.

Ethics for Lunch Series Starts Sept. 17
On the third Tuesday of each month, Johns Hopkins Hospital staff and bioethics experts gather for an in-depth lunchtime discussion about an important clinical ethics issue. This year’s series gets underway at noon on Sept. 17 with “Is life worse than death? Decision making for children after devastating neurological injury.”


Kass and Rubenstein’s JAMA Paper Examines Ethics of Physicians Working in US Immigration Detention Facilities
Berman Institute faculty Nancy Kass and Len Rubenstein, along with Paul Spiegel of the Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for Humanitarian Health, published “Can Physicians Work in US Immigration Detention Facilities While Upholding Their Hippocratic Oath?” in the Aug. 30 online edition of JAMA Viewpoint.

The authors state that medical ethics “have been strikingly consistent from Hippocrates to modern-day guidance. Whatever the future of US immigration policy, decent and humane treatment of children, as well as all other detainees, and preservation of the independence of physicians and other health professionals to meet patients’ medical and psychological needs are essential.” The paper puts forward a number of concrete steps that should be taken to ensure appropriate treatment of individuals receiving medical care in Health and Human Services (HHS) facilities run by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).

Full monthly list of publications by Berman Institute authors

A Professional Standard for Informed Consent for Stem Cell Therapies“, JAMA
Authors: Jeremy Sugarman, Roger A. Barker, Alta R. Charo

Virtue Ethics in a Value-driven World: Ethical Telemedicine“, Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research
Author: Casey Jo Humbyrd

Ethical Considerations in Limb Lengthening and Deformity Correction: Do Aesthetics Matter?“, Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery
Authors: Rachel Randall, Julie Balch Samora, Claire Shannon, Casey Jo Humbyrd

The SDG of Zero Hunger 75 Years On: Turning Full Circle on Agriculture and Nutrition“, Global Food Security 
Authors: Derek Byerlee, Jessica Fanzo

The Influence of Parents’ Religiosity or Spirituality on Decision Making for Their Critically Ill Child: An Integrative Review“, Journal of Palliative Medicine 
Authors: Melissa Kurtz, Uveges, Jill B. Hamilton, Kelli DePriest, Renee Boss, Pamela S. Hinds, Marie T. Nolan

Rethinking Resistance: Public Health Professionals on Empathy and Ethics in the 2014-2015 Ebola Response in Sierra Leone and Liberia“, Critical Public Health 
Authors: Alexis Walker, Caitlin Kennedy, Holly Taylor, Amy Paul

Digital Futures Past — The Long Arc of Big Data in Medicine“, New England Journal of Medicine 
Authors: Jeremy A. Greene, Andrew S. Lea

Who’s on third? Regulation of third-party genetic interpretation services,” Genetics in Medicine
Authors: Christi J. Guerrini, Jennifer K. Wagner, Sarah C. Nelson, Gail H. Javitt, Amy L. McGuire

Ravaged landscapes and climate vulnerability: The challenge in achieving food security and nutrition in post-conflict Timor-Leste,” Advances in Food Security & Sustainability
Authors: Gianna Bonis-Profumo, Rebecca McLarenJessica Fanzo

Feasibility and perception of a question prompt list in outpatient cancer care,” Journal of Patient-Reported Outcomes
Authors: Zackary Berger, Monica Tung, Pooja Yesantharao, Alice Zhou, Amanda Blackford, Thomas J. Smith, Claire Snyder

Exploring Medical Foster Care as a Placement Option for Children With Medical Complexity,” Hospital Pediatrics
Authors: Rebecca R. SeltzerJessica C. Raisanen, Erin P. Williams, Trisha Da Silva, Pamela K. Donohue, Renee D. Boss

Advanced Image-Guided Procedures for Painful Spine,” Neuroimaging Clinics
Authors: Yian Chen, Teresa Tang, Michael Anthony Erdek

The Tyranny of Hope,” Hastings Center Report
Author: Gail Geller 

Support Network Factors Associated with Naming a Health Care Decision-Maker and Talking about Advance Care Planning among People Living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus,” Journal of Pain and Symptom Management
Authors: Dulce M.Cruz-Oliver, Tuo-Yen Tseng, Mary M. Mitchell, et al, including our Cynda Rushton

Consent for mobile phone surveys of non-communicable disease risk factors in low-resource settings: an exploratory qualitative study in Uganda,” mHealth
Authors: Erisa Mwaka, Janet Nakigudde, Joseph Ali, et al

Challenges and Priorities for Pediatric Palliative Care Research in the United States and Similar Practice Settings: Report from a Pediatric Palliative Care Research Network Workshop,” Journal of Pain and Symptom Management
Authors: Chris Feudtner, Abby R. Rosenberg, Renee D. Boss, et al

The Pediatric Home Health Care Process: Perspectives of Prescribers, Providers, and Recipients,” Pediatrics
Authors: Karen Fratantoni, Jessica C. RaisanenRenee D. Boss, Jennifer Miller, Kathryn Detwiler, Susan M. Huff, Kathryn Neubauer, Pamela K. Donohue

Personal Genetic Information about HIV: Research Participants’ Views of Ethical, Social, and Behavioral Implications,” Public Health Genomics
Authors: A. BoyceA. Walker, P. Duggal, C. L. Thio, G. Geller

Can Physicians Work in US Immigration Detention Facilities While Upholding Their Hippocratic Oath?” JAMA
Authors: Paul Spiegel, Nancy KassLeonard Rubenstein

BI In the News

Travis Rieder shares “The painful truth about pain” in Nature
A harrowing medical experience gave the Berman Institute’s Travis Rieder more insight than he would have wished for into how people end up dependent on opioids. He writes about his experience in Nature.

Ali Barlow interviewed Ruth Faden, PhD, MPH, about food ethics for the Martha’s Vineyard Times. Dr. Faden also commented in MIT Technology Review in an article on IVF for women over 40.

Medical Ethics Advisor covered the recommendations set forth by the 2017 Summit on the Ethics of Grateful Patient Fundraising. Megan Collins, MD, MPH, was lead author of the report and was quoted in this article.

Alan Regenberg, MBE, spoke to Science News about CRISPR entering human trials. His quote was also featured in Big Think.

Nancy Kass, ScD, was quoted in Medical Ethics Advisorin an article on barriers to informed consent.

Jeffrey Kahn, PhD, MPH, joined host Tom Hall on WYPR’s Midday for a conversation about how ultra-expensive drugs could price some people out of life saving treatment. For a list of Professor Kahn’s past appearances on Midday, click here.

Several news outlets covered the JAMA op-ed, “Can Physicians Work in US Immigration Detention Facilities While Upholding Their Hippocratic Oath?” co-authored by Paul Spiegel, Nancy Kass, and Leonard Rubenstein. The paper received coverage in Forbes and The Washington Post.

Marielle Gross, MD, MBE, wrote for Medium about the ethics of the surgical management of ectopic pregnancy.

Yoram Unguru, MD, MS, MA, was featured on The Etherist podcast, talking about drug shortages in pediatric oncology.


September 13
Bethesda, MD
Gail Geller, ScD, MHS
, will give a talk titled, “Ethical Issues Arising from the Application of Genomics to the Prevention and Treatment of Infectious Diseases” at the NHGRI’s International Summit in Human Genetics and Genomics.

September 25-27
Memphis, TN
Yoram Unguru, MD, MS, MA
, will give two talks at the Pediatric Palliative Oncology Symposium at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The titles of his talks are: “Keeping Adolescents in the Dark: Ethical Reflections on Parental Requests for Nondisclosure of a Cancer Diagnosis,” and “Ethics at the End-of-life – The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth … Except When an Adolescent is Dying.”