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Ken Langa was recently named to an Institute of Medicine committee that will examine the evidence on preventive factors and/or interventions associated with decreasing the risk of developing Alzheimer's-Type Dementia, amnestic mild cognitive impairment, and age-related cognitive impairment (i.e., primary prevention) and make recommendations to inform public health strategies and messaging and recommendations for future research.

Funded by the NIH

In the past 30 years, the incidence of thyroid cancer has tripled. The majority of the rise in thyroid cancer incidence is attributed to an increase in low-risk, well-differentiated thyroid cancer, a disease that has a 10-year mortality close to zero. Our previous work suggests that patients with low-risk thyroid cancer are at risk for overtreatment, defined as the use of surgical and medical interventions in the absence of a clear survival benefit. The overtreatment of thyroid cancer has inherent costs, both to patient health and to society. The reason for the intensive management and potential overtreatment of low-risk thyroid cancer remains unclear. By using SEER-linked patient and physician surveys, we plan to understand the treatment decision making in low-risk thyroid cancer. We hypothesize that knowledge and attitudes influence decision making. Specifically, we anticipate that lack of knowledge of risks of death, recurrence and treatment complications is associated with treatment that is more intensive. In addition, we postulate that a general preference for active treatment will also be associated with more intensive cancer treatment. Although both patient and physician perceptions of treatment need (i.e., knowledge and attitudes) likely contribute to treatment intensity, we anticipate that the primary driver will be physicians, even after controlling for their patients' perceptions. This study will serve as the foundation for future intervention studies. By identifying the specific role of physician and patient knowledge and attitudes toward thyroid cancer treatment, we will be able to create tailored educational interventions to personalize surgical and medical care for thyroid cancer patients, thus minimizing overtreatment and its inherent risks and costs. As the rising incidence, low mortality, and pattern of intensive treatment make thyroid cancer arguably the best cancer model for overtreatment, this proposed study will also serve as a model to understand overtreatment in other malignancies. For more info:

PI: Megan Haymart

CBSSM Co-Is: Sarah Hawley & Brian Zikmund-Fisher

Funded by the NIH

PROJECT SUMMARY Differences (or Disorders) of Sex Development (DSD) is a superordinate term encompassing congenital conditions in which chromosomal, gonadal, or anatomic sex development is atypical. Adopting an inclusive definition, between 1 in 200 to 1,000 people are born with some degree of atypical sex development. Clinical management of DSD is in a state of flux with disagreements within and between professional, advocacy, and patient communities regarding optimal care. Advances in molecular diagnosis and surgical techniques, findings regarding psychological outcomes in affected persons, and patient advocacy group engagement, led to a consensus conference attended by international experts in the DSD field and patient advocacy. Consensus recommendations included changes to diagnostic and clinical management strategies and in nomenclature that eliminated terms considered confusing and stigmatizing; e.g., “intersex,” “hermaphroditism,” “pseudohermaphroditism,” and “sex reversal.” While scientific and medical communities rapidly adopted the new nomenclature, vocal patient community elements strongly opposed the word “disorder” - experiencing it as unnecessary pathologization of atypical bodies that contributes to the perceived need for potentially harmful surgical “normalization” procedures. Some affected adults now prefer the term “intersex” - referring to an identity, rather than a medical condition. Further, little agreement exists across provider, advocacy, and patient communities regarding what constitutes optimal care for patients and families. Clinical management topics triggering contentious debate include decision- making over gender of rearing, genital surgery and its timing, gonad removal, and disclosing diagnostic details to patients. Evidence of these controversies exists in medical literature, social media, and courts of law, yet a remarkable lack of discussion, much less consensus, exists on how stakeholders value various outcomes. There has yet to be a study designed to systematically examine how patients, parents, healthcare providers, and other stakeholders differentially define and value optimal DSD health care delivery. The proposed study has the following aims: (1) Assess the importance ascribed by stakeholders to DSD clinical management options (i.e., identify what constitutes a “successful outcome”), both immediately and in the future; (2) Identify differential trade-off preferences (e.g., trade-offs between genital appearance, preserving fertility, sexual function, privacy, patient autonomy) and choice processes made by different stakeholder groups; (3) Design and pilot evidence-based curricula for stakeholders that clarify priorities, and integrate these with evidence to facilitate informed and shared decision-making. The proposed approach to understanding differential valuation of clinical management elements and developing data-driven curricula is potentially generalizable to other congenital or chronic conditions involving multidisciplinary care in which treatments are elective and dependent on patient/family values and preferences.

PI: David Sandberg

Bioethics Grand Rounds

Wed, September 28, 2016, 12:00pm
UH Ford Amphitheater & Lobby

Carl Schneider, JD -- “Can Informed-Consent Laws Work? Evaluating Compelled Disclosure as a Method of Regulation”

Abstract: The law of informed consent is an example of a form of legal regulation called mandated disclosure.  In such regulation, one party to a transaction is required to give the other party to the transaction information to use in making decisions about the parties’ relationship.  There are hundreds of examples of such legal rules besides medical informed consent. This talk asks how well these rules have worked outside medicine. It concludes that there is little evidence that those rules ever work, explores some of the reasons for this surprising failure, and asks what the failure of mandated disclosure outside medicine tells us about the success of informed-consent laws in medicine.

Andrew Shuman delivered the inaugural C.T. Lee Endowed Lectureship on Humanistic Compassionate Care to the Department of Surgery of Yale University.

CBSSM Seminar: Jason Rose, PhD (Toledo)

Wed, March 09, 2016, 3:00pm to 4:00pm
NCRC, Building 16, Room 266C

Jason Rose, PhD
Associate Professor
University of Toledo

Title: “Decisions, Decisions: The Impact of Treatment Choice on Health-Related Outcomes”

Abstract: From selecting a health care provider to choosing among an array of over-the-counter treatment options, choice has become a ubiquitous element of health care. Using an experimental, lab-based approach, the current research examines how, why, and when treatment choice impacts health-related outcomes (e.g., pain, discomfort).


The article, "The DECISIONS Study: A Nationwide Survey of United States Adults Regarding 9 Common Medical Decisions," authored by Brian Zikmund-Fisher et al. in Medical Decision Making (September-October 2010) was recently identified as the most downloaded article in the journal of all articles published in 2009 and 2010. 

Press Kit


CBSSM acts at the premier intellectual gathering place of clinicians, social scientists, bioethicists, and all others interested in improving individual and societal health through scholarship and service.

Schedule an Interview

Members of the media interested in interviewing Center members can call the UMHS Public Relations office at 734-764-2220 between the hours 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern Time, or email us directly at

Beth A. Tarini, MS, MD


Beth A. Tarini is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics & Division Director of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine at the University of Iowa. Before that, she was an Assistant Professor in the UM Department of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases. She received her MD from Albert Einstein College of Medicine (2001) and a master's degree from the University of Washington (2006), where she was a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar. In addition to her clinical interest in preventative care, she pursues an active research program on issues of newborn screening and genetic testing.

Last Name: 

PIHCD:Melissa Cousino-Hood

Wed, November 30, 2016, 4:00pm
B003E NCRC Building 16

Melissa will speak about an internal grant to better understand provider practices, specific to involving pediatric patients in end of life planning, prognostication and involvement in difficult medical decision-making.