Nov. 2, 2006
Vol. 26 No. 4

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    Annual conference to address ethical challenges facing patients, caregivers

    By John Easton
    Medical Center Public Affairs

    The MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University will sponsor its 18th annual conference next week, which will focus on the contemporary issues and ethical challenges that caregivers and patients face, as well as potential opportunities for positive health care reforms.

    The conference begins on Friday, Nov. 10, and continues through Saturday, Nov. 11, in the Max Palevsky Cinema in Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 E. 59th St.

    Talks on health care reform are scheduled for Friday, Nov. 10, with presentations by Bruce Vladeck, president of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey; Ralph Muller, CEO of the University of Pennsylvania Health System; Dan Brock, director of the Division of Medical Ethics at Harvard University; Nancy Kane, professor of health management at Harvard University; Matthew Wynia, Clinical Assistant Professor in Medicine and Director of the Institute for Ethics of the American Medical Association; and Jeff Goldsmith, CEO of Health Futures Inc.

    Day two will feature a debate between two renowned health care economic theorists, who will tackle issues in a presentation titled, “Fairness and Markets: Should Access to Health Care Be Determined by the Ability to Pay?”

    One of the nation’s leading and most eloquent authorities on health-care economics, Uwe Reinhardt, professor of political economy at Princeton University, will match wits with Richard Epstein, a Senior Fellow in the MacLean Center, the James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor in the Law School, and one of the most provocative and influential legal theorists in the United States.

    Reinhardt has long been critical of the ability of the marketplace to drive health care reform. Epstein, a libertarian, has argued for a hands-off, market-guided approach to health care change. Jordan Cohen, president emeritus of the Association of American Medical Colleges and newly elected president of the Gold Humanism Foundation, will moderate the Reinhardt-Epstein debate.

    The second day of the conference will feature presentations on a broad range of topics in clinical ethics, including research ethics, genetic testing and surrogate decision makers. Invited speakers Daniel Sulmasy of New York Medical College and Daniel Brock of Harvard Medical School will be joined by more than 20 former fellows who studied medical ethics at the MacLean Center and return each year to share current projects.

    For more information about the conference and presentation times, please visit: http://ethics.bsd.uchicago.edu/events/2006conference.