Olja analyzes the marketing strategy of genomic sequencing company, 23andMe, to understand the role of rhetoric in explaining (or failing to explain) the potential risks and benefits of undergoing personal genome sequencing. Olja deconstructs the 23andMe starter kit, carefully dissecting the implications of 23andMe’s privacy statement.
Lena explores the relationship between every individual’s unique genetic code and the quest for greater knowledge of the collective human genome. Lena offers an interactive art piece that allows participants to build their own simplified DNA double helix, and then challenges participants to “donate” their unique genome to the larger effort toward understanding genomics on a broader scale.
Valeria presents five photographs that underscore the tension between the potential risks and benefits of personal genomic sequencing. Valeria’s work illuminates the dilemmic nature of undergoing genomic sequencing, as individuals must consider the implications of their genetic results.
Marnie Klein (NHS’18) first encountered the now-infamous Guatemala STD Experiments (1946-1948) in a class on bioethics with KIE Scholar Tom Beauchamp. American physicians intentionally infected a variety of vulnerable populations — prisoners, mental patients, prostitutes, orphans, school children — with sexually transmitted diseases without informed consent.
Klein explains, “While many subjects were treated with antibiotics, many were not, resulting in at least eighty deaths and countless infections both inside the study and in the larger population.”
Her multimedia piece vividly evokes the experiences of four victims of these experiments: a sex worker, a prisoner, an orphaned child, and a soldier, whose differing backgrounds raise intersecting and divergent moral dimensions of the case.
“Art allows us to talk about things that otherwise make us uncomfortable,” says Klein, “[making] bioethics tangible through stories.”
2015 FIRST PRIZE WINNER
Sylvia analyzes the current status of the legalization of abortion in Latin America, taken into special consideration the influence of religion on national decisions surrounding abortion access for women.
MARGARET DUNNE + ELEANOR BIRCH
Margaret Dunne (NHS’17) and Eleanor Birch (NHS’17), both International Health majors, first encountered the issue of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) — the non-medical partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to female genital organs — in a class at Georgetown on Maternal and Child Health.
Most FGM/C is performed by “traditional circumcisers,” but nearly one-fifth is performed by healthcare professionals in a practice known as “medicalized” FGM/C. The poster focuses on the moral responsibility of physicians and others involved in the practice, suggesting that there are no easy or quick answers in this domain.
Though both authors began their exploration firmly opposed to the medicalization of the practice, their research ultimately led them to reverse course, and their poster advocates medicalization as a harm-reduction technique and morally-acceptable intermediate step to the ultimate eradication of the practice.
2015 FIRST PRIZE WINNER
Janelle advocates for the enactment of law that permits death row prisoners to be organ donors. Janelle discusses the potential benefit to the entirety of American society and the potential opportunity for moral contrition for the donor, and wrestles with the ethical questions of coercion and autonomy as it pertains to the individual’s decision to donate.
Andrew proposes legislation to use federal funds to mandate an influenza vaccine for healthcare workers, with an exception for those who cannot receive the vaccine for medical reasons. Andrew draws upon the duty of healthcare providers to do no harm to their patients to advocate for the mandate on flu vaccines while weighing the potential conflict of individual healthcare providers’ autonomy.
LUCIE FELDER, ALANA KURTTI, SANA CHARANIA, + OLIVIA REYES
The team calls for mandated vaccinations among populations at high risk for influenza infection, specifically children and the elderly. The team’s proposal considers the ethical questions of coercion and excessive costs associated with such legislation.
Rosa promotes the implementation of the Spanish model of organ donation to address the kidney donation shortage in the United States. Rosa suggests that this model, which actively recruits potential donors and counsels the families of brain-dead or recently deceased patients, will increase the number of lives saved, reduce healthcare costs, and significantly diminish the length of the kidney transplant waitlist.