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Archive for the ‘Ethics in Public Health’ Category

By: Stephanie Martinez

Last summer I travelled to Europe for the first time and spent my time in Italy. I had created an image of a beautiful, seemingly perfect country in my mind because of stories heard through friends, or as seen on movies and television. Indeed, the landscape and the architecture surpassed my expectations, but the many migrants I saw begging or sleeping under crippling buildings took me by surprise. I had heard about the growing humanitarian crisis in Europe but seeing it firsthand helped me understand the concerns as highlighted in the news. I have visited Developing countries such as El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala in the past but had not encountered these same circumstances there. It was alarming to see how much more attention was given to ancient monuments and not the present existence of migrants who were suffering. I stayed in a quiet street outside of downtown Rome and only ten minutes away, there were migrants living in what can only be described as slums. At night, tents or cardboard materials were used as beds just outside the train station.

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By: Julian Libin

Back in 2013 there was a motion in the Australia High Court on whether isolated parts of the human gene sequence were patentable. In 2014 the motion went through as ruling that they were. The implications of this allow snippets of the unmodified human genome to be priced and traded through a myriad of private entities such as different hedge funds, insurance, or sovereign wealth funds. There has been significant backlash regarding this new law, both before and after it was passed. Many voices exclaim the dangers that come along with patenting genetic code. It can slow or even prevent important research concerning anything related to the human body and its inputs or outputs. One real life example would be the patenting of BRCA1, a gene which if mutated is associated with inherited ovarian and breast cancer. Cancer Voices Australia was outraged, but their cries went unheard. This is now an area of cancer research with sticky red tape.

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By Dionna Joynes

If you couldn’t tell from the title of this blog post, then I will warn you all now. The topic of this post is HIGHLY disturbing in the way that it violates basic human rights, encourages the degradation of young future women in the long term, uses the face of culture and purity as a wayward choice to control the girls in specific communities, and it may even cause for a closer look at the health care providers you and your family use, So, for those of you who don’t know, this post is about Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), also known as FGC, Female Genital Circumcision. A short definition of what this process implies is, intentional injury to female genital organs for non medical purposes. This process has occurred for at least a couple centuries, at the very least. As I researched the topic of FGM, there were many things that came up that interested, as well as disgusted me. As a Health Science/Public Health student, I always try to remain open minded and non judgmental for new ideas that are completely different from the ones I grew up on. However, the practice of FGM, in my opinion, should signal for a global emergency or call of action. (more…)

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-By Vidya Attaluri

About nine years ago I was introduced to and learned more about the concept of euthanasia after seeing it portrayed on a television show I was watching. As a young teen I had what may be an unexpected reaction in full support of the concept of euthanasia for those who are terminally ill and have full understanding of what their decision to participate in euthanasia means for both them and their loved ones. But how do you determine who is mature enough to make this decision? Should there be an age limit on who can participate or what illnesses can be considered to require euthanasia? Who gets to decide these things?

In a groundbreaking decision on February 13th, 2014 Belgium became the first country in the world to allow euthanasia for incurably ill children. I learned about the impactful new law through an article in the New York Times, “Belgium Close to Allowing Euthanasia for Ill Minors” by Dan Bilefsky. This article discussed the new law as well as the criticisms and reactions that followed its adoption. The law states that euthanasia would be allowed for terminally ill children that are close to death, experiencing “constant and unbearable suffering” and show a “capacity of discernment,” which would mean they understand the consequences of the decision to participate in euthanasia, as well as written consent from a legal guardian (Bilefsky, Year). In Europe, as compared to the United States, euthanasia has been a more widely accepted idea. Currently in the United States, as of January of 2014, euthanasia is banned nationwide but assisted dying, doctors prescribing a lethal dose of medication to terminally ill patients, is legal in Oregon, Washington, Montana, New Mexico, and Vermont. In Europe euthanasia is legal in The Netherlands, Luxembourg and in Switzerland assisted dying is legal. (more…)

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-By Nicole Rapkin

Should terminally ill children have the right to end their own lives? On Thursday, February 13, 2014, Belgium voted ‘yes’ when its lower house of parliament passed the new “right-to-die” legislation by a significant majority. Belgium, which legalized adult euthanasia in 2002, is the first country to allow euthanasia for terminally ill children of any age (Bartunek 2014). (more…)

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Two universities on the same street, both with “Boston” in their titles, but with two radically different policies towards student sexual health, and in particular the provision of condoms and contraceptives.

At Boston College, a Jesuit university on Commonwealth Avenue in Chestnut Hill, MA, students who have been distributing free condoms to their fellow students have recently been told to cease and desist, or face disciplinary action. http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/health/2013/03/27/boston-college-threatens-action-condom-giveaway/9o2UKvn9czUK6QFA3lzfTM/story.html  (more…)

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By Hena Thakur,

The advancing technological state of the current world has come to characterize daily life. Technology has penetrated our social lives, businesses and homes, and more recently is staged to expand its presence in the medical setting.  The New York Times published an article entitled, “Apps Alert The Doctor When Trouble Looms,” which highlights the testing being done on cellphones equipped with an application to monitor the movement, location, and relative social interaction of a patient via the number of text messages and phone calls the individual makes each day. If there appears to be a significant change in an individual’s physical or social behavior, the primary care physician is notified and the patient will receive a follow up call or visit to discuss the situation. Physicians and developers, alike, hope this process will serve as an early detection system for certain conditions, such as severe pain, depression, or other diseases that render an individual unfit to seek the medical attention they may need.

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