Professor and Director of the Center for Healtchcare Ethics at Duquesne University (and perhaps best known as Director of UNESCO’s Division of Science and Technology), Dr. Henk A.M.J. ten Have’s Honorary Pellegrino Lecture on “The Principle of Vulnerability in Present-day Global Bioethics” promises to stimulate as many questions as answers.
As ten Have relates, “[T]he concept of vulnerability has only rather recently been introduced in the bioethical debate. In philosophy, vulnerability has been a core notion…[and] while regarding every human being as vulnerable (although different expressions have been used to qualify the human predicament), in bioethics the concept has been introduced in the context of clinical research to demarcate groups of individuals or populations as ‘vulnerable’ and, therefore, entitled to special protections.”
Dr. ten Have has further elaborates that “with the globalization of bioethics, suffering and risk in the face of medical research, technologies and care have become global realities, so that the concept of vulnerability has emerged as one of the principles of global bioethics (for example, in the UNESCO Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights). The principle of respect for human vulnerability as a general statement will be endorsed by many but it is far less clear how it can be applied in various practices.”
The Intensive Bioethics Course is a week-long academic program in bioethics designed for health care practitioners, policy makers, and clinical researchers. The course addresses the day’s most challenging topics in health care ethics in a setting that allows for sustained dialogue through lectures and small discussion groups with a distinguished faculty. This year’s course, “Setting Your Ethical Compass,” will be held June 4-8, 2012, with the Library Proseminar beginning on the morning of June 4.