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Brian Zikmund-Fisher, Sarah Hawley, Reshma Jagsi and others were recently published in a JAMA Oncology research letter on breast cancer patient risk communication. They found that medical oncologists were found to be far more likely than surgeons to quantify risk estimates for patients and that patients who do not see a medical oncologist may make treatment decisions, including surgery, without all relevant risk information.

For the full article: http://oncology.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2491464

 

Subjective Numeracy Scale

The Subjective Numeracy Scale (SNS) is a self-report measure of perceived ability to perform various mathematical tasks and preferences for the use of numerical versus prose information. The SNS has been validated against objective numeracy measures and found to predict comprehension of risk communications and ability to complete utility elicitations.

The 8-item scale contains no mathematics questions and has no correct or incorrect answers. Instead, it consists of 4 questions asking respondents to assess their numerical ability in different contexts and 4 questions asking them to state their preferences for the presentation of numerical and probabilistic information. The SNS is both reliable and highly correlated with the Lipkus, Samsa & Rimer (2001) numeracy measure, and it has been validated in both risk communication and utility elicitation domains.

For a PDF version of this document and the SNS instrument, click here: Subjective Numeracy Scale PDF.  

Please contact Angie Fagerlin for versions in Dutch, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, and Spanish.

SNS Questions

For each of the following questions, please check the box that best reflects your answer:

  • How good are you at working with fractions? (Not at all good – Extremely good)
  • How good are you at working with percentages? (Not at all good – Extremely good)
  • How good are you at calculating a 15% tip? (Not at all good – Extremely good)
  • How good are you at figuring out how much a shirt will cost if it is 25% off? (Not at all good – Extremely good)
  • When reading the newspaper, how helpful do you find tables and graphs that are parts of a story? (Not at all helpful – Extremely helpful)
  • When people tell you the chance of something happening, do you prefer that they use words ("it rarely happens") or numbers ("there's a 1% chance")? (Always prefer words – Always prefer numbers)
  • When you hear a weather forecast, do you prefer predictions using percentages (e.g., “there will be a 20% chance of rain today”) or predictions using only words (e.g., “there is a small chance of rain today”)? (Always prefer percentages – Always prefer words)
  • How often do you find numerical information to be useful? (Never – Very often)

Scoring Instructions

All questions use 6-point Likert-type scales with endpoints as marked. Response values increase left to right (1-6). Scoring is based on these values, except Question 7 is reverse coded (6-1) for consistency.

  • SNS: Average rating across all 8 questions (w/ Q7 reverse coded)
  • SNS ability subscale: Average rating on Questions 1-4
  • SNS preference subscale: Average rating on Questions 5-8 (w/ Q7 reverse coded)

To cite the scale, please use the following reference:

Fagerlin, A., Zikmund-Fisher, B.J., Ubel, P.A., Jankovic, A., Derry, H.A., & Smith, D.M.  Measuring numeracy without a math test: Development of the Subjective Numeracy Scale (SNS). Medical Decision Making, 2007: 27: 672-680.

In any discussions about the validation of the scale, please use the following reference:

Zikmund-Fisher, B.J., Smith, D.M., Ubel, P.A., Fagerlin, A.  Validation of the subjective numeracy scale (SNS): Effects of low numeracy on comprehension of risk communications and utility elicitations. Medical Decision Making, 2007: 27: 663-671.

Dean Shumway, MD

Faculty

Dean Shumway is an Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology with the University of Michigan Health System and the Ann Arbor VA Medical Center. He received his M.D. from the University of Chicago and completed his residency training at the University of Michigan, where he served as Chief Resident. His research focuses on advancing the quality of care received by breast cancer patients, with emphasis on improving individualized care by developing interventions to enhance decision making.

Last Name: 
Shumway

Julie Wright Nunes, MD, MPH

Faculty

Julie Wright Nunes is an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan Department of Internal Medicine. Her research interests include Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and its prevention and also the development of methods and tools to help facilitate and optimize provider-directed CKD patient education.

Last Name: 
Wright Nunes

Reshma Jagsi, MD, DPhil, is the lead author on a new study showing that breast cancer patients who have had mastectomies and need radiation are less likely to receive these treatments than patients who have had lumpectomies. The article appears in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (online March 29, 2010). Additional authors are Paul Abrahamse, Sarah T. Hawley, Jennifer J. Griggs, Steven J. Katz, Monica Morrow, John J. Graff, and Ann S. Hamilton. Read a press release about the research here.

2015 Bishop Lecture featuring Lawrence O. Gostin, J.D., LL.D. (Hon.)

Tue, March 17, 2015, 11:00am
Location: 
Founders Room, Alumni Center, 200 Fletcher St., Ann Arbor, MI

Bishop Lecture in Bioethics: "Law, Ethics, and Public Health in the Vaccination Debates: Politics of the Measles Outbreak" (Keynote Address for the 2015 CBSSM Research Colloquium)

Abstract: The measles outbreak of early 2015 is symptomatic of a larger societal problem–the growing number of parents who decide against vaccinating their children. This failure is causing the resurgence of childhood diseases once eliminated from the United States.
falseThis presentation explores the legal and ethical landscape of vaccine exemptions. While all states require childhood vaccinations, they differ significantly in the types of religious and/or philosophical exemptions permitted, the rigor of the application process, and available review mechanisms. States with relaxed exemption policies disproportionately experience more outbreaks of vaccine-preventable disease.

Vaccine exemptions are an illustration of the “tragedy of the commons,” in which parents choose not to vaccinate their children, relying on the fact that other parents will vaccinate their children, thus providing community immunity. However, the net result of many individual decisions not to vaccinate is the collapse of herd immunity and thus an upsurge in preventable disease and death.
The failure to vaccinate puts others at risk, thus violating an important ethical principle. However, punishing individual parents could entrench political opposition to vaccine policy. The most ethical and effective solution is for state legislatures to tighten vaccination laws, making it more difficult to obtain non-medical exemptions.

Lawrence O. Gostin, J.D., LL.D. (Hon.) is University Professor, Georgetown University’s highest academic rank conferred by the University President. Prof. Gostin directs the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law and is the Founding O’Neill Chair in Global Health Law. He is Professor of Medicine at Georgetown University, Professor of Public Health at the Johns Hopkins University, and Director of the Center for Law & the Public’s Health at Johns Hopkins and Georgetown Universities. Prof. Gostin is also the Director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center on Public Health Law & Human Rights.

  • Click here for the video recording of the 2015 Bishop Lecture.

Beth Tarini and Scott Roberts spoke at the Michigan State Medical Society’s 17th Annual Conference on Bioethics, "Putting the Me in Medicine: The Ethics of Personalized Medical Care"

For more information on the conference, you can visit its website here.

Fri, February 28, 2014

Drs. Scott Kim and Franklin Miller propose an integrated consent model for pragmatic trials in a recent NEJM Health Law, Ethics, and Human Rights article. 

Research Topics: 

Dr. Kathryn Moseley has received the Pediatric Health Disparities Award from the UM Department of Pediatrics. The award confers $20,000 of intramural funding towards her project titled “Understand Disparities in Ethics Consultation.”

CBSSM Seminar: Lisa Lehmann, MD, PhD, MSc

Fri, June 09, 2017, 3:00pm
Location: 
NCRC, Building 10, G065

Lisa Lehmann, MD, PhD, MSc
Executive Director, National Center for Ethics in Health Care
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

"Moral Distress in Health Care: The Role of Courage and Culture"

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