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CBSSM was well-represented at the annual American Society for Bioethics & Humanities (ASBH) in Kansas City, MO (Oct 19-22) and the Society for Medical Decision Making (SMDM) in Pittsburgh, PA (Oct 22-25).

At ASBH, Andrew Shuman, Susan Goold, Kayte Spector-Bagdady, Janice Firn, Kerry Ryan, Michele Gornick, Stephanie Kukora, Naomi Laventhal, and Christian Vercler presented.

At SMDM, Michele Gornick, Sarah Hawley, and Dean Shumway presented. Several CBSSM alumni also presented.

CBSSM Seminar: Roi Livne, PhD

Wed, November 08, 2017, 3:00pm
NCRC, Building 16, Room 266C

Roi Livne, PhD
Assistant Professor, Sociology

Title: “The New Economy of Dying: Palliative Care, Morality, and Finance in the Age of Excess”

Abstract: This talk argues that over the past 40 years, a new economy has emerged around end-of-life care: one seeking to control, cap, and limit both spending and treatment near the end of life. Built around the expertise of Hospice and Palliative Care, this economy draws on the moral conviction that near the end of life, less treatment (and consequently, less spending) is better. Based on a historical analysis and ethnographic fieldwork in three California hospitals, Livne examines the interactive work that palliative care clinicians do with severely ill patients and their families, trying to facilitate their voluntary consent to pursue less life-sustaining and life-prolonging treatments.


Joseph Colbert, BA

Research Associate

Joseph joined CBSSM as a Research Area Specialist in November 2017. As a project manager, he coordinates the daily operations of Dr. Jeffrey Kullgren’s project “Provider, Patient, and Health System Effects of Provider Commitments to Choose Wisely,” a grant funded research project using novel approaches to reduce the overuse of low-value services in healthcare.

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Woll Family Speaker Series: Debate on Conscience Protection

Fri, March 09, 2018, 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Med Sci II, West Lecture Hall

The Woll Family Speaker Series on Health, Spirituality and Religion

We are excited to be hosting a debate on Conscience Protection on Friday March 9th from 12-1 as part of the UMMS Program on Health, Spirituality and Religion. Please save the date! CME Credit provided (see below).

Point: Healthcare professionals are "obligated to provide, perform, and refer patients for interventions according to the standards of the profession.” NEJM, 2017

Counterpoint: Healthcare professionals have the right to opt out of performing or referring for procedures they view as objectionable in accord with their religious or personal values.

Join Dr. Naomi Laventhal and Dr. Ashley Fernandes in this academic discussion as part of the University of Michigan Program on Health, Spirituality and Religion.

Bioethics Grand Rounds- Janice Firn, PhD & Tom O'Neil, MD

Wed, December 20, 2017, 12:00pm
Univerisity Hospital Ford Auditorium

Professionalism, Ethical Obligations, and the Moral Imperative of Self-Care

Healthcare providers are inevitably called to participate in and bear witness to emotionally challenging cases. Combined with time constraints, competing responsibilities, the urgent nature of these cases, healthcare providers risk burnout.  The consequences of burnout have been shown to be increased staff turnover, substandard patient outcomes and increased likelihood for errors.  As part of competent clinical practice, healthcare providers must not only attend to the needs of the patient and family but also themselves. However, a tension exists between making enough time for patients and taking enough time for oneself. But, engaging in self-care activities can help address clinician distress; this practice is essential for remaining compassionate, providing competent patient care services, and avoiding harm. Healthcare providers, therefore, have an ethical duty to engage in personal self-care.  This presentation makes a case for why self-care is a key component of competent clinical practice.  Several ways in which a lack of self-care can undermine professional competence, thus risking burnout and poor patient outcomes, are discussed. Strategies for recognizing and addressing burnout are also reviewed.

CBSSM is soliciting applications from qualified individuals for 1-2 postdoctoral research fellow positions for the 2018-2019 academic year.

The mission of CBSSM is to be the premier intellectual gathering place of clinicians, social scientists, bioethicists, and all others interested in improving individual and societal health through scholarship and service.

Bioethics Post-Doctoral Research Fellow
Active projects in bioethics at CBSSM currently include the ethical, legal, and social implications of genomic medicine, human subjects research ethics, empirical research with relevance to clinical ethics, global bioethics, gender equity, reproductive justice, deliberative democratic methods in bioethics, resource allocation, ethical issues associated with learning health systems, and the sociology of medical ethics/bioethics, among others. Candidates' area of focus must be in bioethics, although their backgrounds may be in social or natural sciences, humanities, medicine, or law.

Decision Sciences Post-Doctoral Research Fellow
This fellowship focuses on understanding and improving the health care communication and decisions made by both patients and providers. Past postdoctoral fellows have included scholars whose research in health care communication and decision making has been approached using theories drawn from social cognition, motivation and emotion, risk communication, human factors, ethics, and economics.

Postdoctoral fellows are expected to collaborate on established projects and are encouraged to conduct independent research with an emphasis on study inception, manuscript writing, and applying for grants. CBSSM’s resources and collaborative support enable fellows to build their own research programs.

Please see: for more details about these fellowship opportunities.


Bioethics Grand Rounds -Reshma Jagsi, MD, DPhil

Wed, October 25, 2017, 12:00pm
UH Ford Auditorium

Reshma Jagsi, MD, DPhil

Title – "Ethical Issues Related to Fundraising from Grateful Patients"

Abstract: Health care institutions are becoming increasingly deliberate about philanthropic fundraising given the need to sustain their missions in the face of decreases in governmental research funds and lowering reimbursement for clinical care.  Donations from grateful patients constitute 20% of all philanthropic contributions to academic medical centers, totaling nearly $1 billion a year in recent years.  Institutions frequently employ development professionals to facilitate philanthropy. The development literature describes various approaches for identifying patients capable of contributing, cultivating potential donors, and engaging physicians in the solicitation of grateful patients, emphasizing that patients themselves may also benefit from exercising altruism in this way.  However, little evidence exists to guide the ethical practice of grateful patient fundraising, and concerns exist regarding privacy and confidentiality, patient vulnerability, and physicians' conflicts of obligations in this context.  Therefore, we will discuss how the process of philanthropic development should be structured in order to demonstrate respect for all persons involved, including patients who donate, those who might consider donation, those who do not wish to donate, and those who cannot afford to do so.

Lunch is provided. Please note: Lunch is first come, first served.


Masahito Jimbo, MD, PhD, MPH


Masahito Jimbo is Professor of Family Medicine and Urology at the University of Michigan. Having worked as a family physician in both urban (Philadelphia) and rural (North Carolina) underserved areas, he has first-hand knowledge and experience of the challenges faced by clinicians and healthcare institutions to be successful in providing patient care that is personal, comprehensive, efficient and timely. Initially trained in basic laboratory research, having obtained his MD and PhD degrees at Keio University in Tokyo, Japan, Dr.

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Edward Goldman, JD, BA


From 1978 to 2009, Ed was head of the U-M Health System Legal Office.  In 2009 he moved into the Medical School Department of ObGyn as an Associate Professor to work full-time on issues of sexual rights and reproductive justice.  He has teaching appointments in the Medical School, the School of Public Health, the Law School, and LSA Women's Studies.  He teaches courses on the legal and ethical aspects of medicine at the Medical School, the rules of human subjects research at the School of Public Health and reproductive justice in LSA and the Law School..  In 2011, Ed went to Ghana and helpe

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Conference on Bioethics: First Do No Harm: Avoiding Overdiagnosis and Overtreatment in Medicine

Sat, November 11, 2017, 8:45am
Sheraton Ann Arbor Hotel | 3200 Boardwalk Street | Ann Arbor, MI

Registration available here.
8:45 am
Welcome, Opening Remarks, and Presentation of Certification of Appreciation Award to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation
Lauren B. Smith, MD, Chair, MSMS Committee on Bioethics; Department of Pathology, University of Michigan
Audrey J. Harvey, CEO, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation; and,
Shauna Ryder-Diggs, MD, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation
9:00 - 10:00 am
7 Assumptions that Drive Too Much Medical Care
H. Gilbert Welch, MD, MPH, Professor of Medicine, Community & Family Medicine, The Dartmouth Institute, The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Adjunct Professor, Business Administration, Tuck School
of Business and Adjunct Professor, Public Policy, Dartmouth College
10:00 - 11:00 am
Responding to those who Hope for a Miracle
Devan Stahl, PhD, Assistant Professor, Center for Ethics & Humanities in the Life Sciences, Department of Pediatrics & Human Development, Michigan State University
11:15 am - 12:15 pm
Whose Decision is it Anyway? Code Status and the Unilateral DNAR
Adam Marks, MD, Associate Director of the Adult Palliative and Supportive Care Clinic, East Ann Arbor Health and Geriatrics Center, Adult Palliative Care Medical Director, Arbor Hospice
1:15 - 2:15 pm
Capacity for Preferences: An Overlooked Factor in Ethical Dilemmas with Incapacitated Patients
Jason A. Wasserman, PhD, Associate Professor, Biomedical Science, Faculty Advisor on Professionalism, Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine; and,
Mark C. Navin, PhD, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine
2:15 - 3:15 pm
Over-treatment/Over-diagnosis of Genetic Testing
Michele Gornick, PhD, MA, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School
3:30 - 4:30 pm
Case Studies
4:30 pm
Closing Remarks
Lauren B. Smith, MD, University of Michigan