School of Nursing Hosts Lecture on Ethics in Medicine
|Professor Thalia Arawi
The Research and Continuing Education Committee at the School of Nursing
held its first lecture on October 25, the first in a series of lectures
in an upcoming seminar on the Conduct of Biomedical and Health Related
Research. This month's lecture, entitled "Science Without Conscience,"
was presented by guest speaker Thalia Arawi of the AUB Faculty of Medicine
and the Philosophy Department.
Arawi received her PhD in bioethics and is a member of the American Society
of Bioethics, the Canadian Society of Bioethics, and the International
Association of Bioethics. She recently also became a member of the University's
Institutional Review Board committee.
As an introduction to the issue, Arawi began with a historical account
of medical research ethics that dates back to the Roman era and continues
with the conception of ethical concerns in the twentieth century. She
then gave a chronology of the principal ethical guidelines and policies,
most prominent of which is the Belmont Report in 1979. Juxtaposed to this
were visual reminders of past cases of unethical research practices, which
included pictures of the participants in the Tuskegee syphilis study of
1932-72 and, more recently, the United Kingdom's consent to research on
animal-human hybrid embryos.
"Who plays God in the twenty-first century?" was one of Arawi's
leading questions. It seems that despite all efforts, absolute prevention
and protection is beyond what any legislative action can achieve. Arawi
alluded to the idea that what is not addressed in ethical guidelines and
which cannot be achieved by legal regulations are the characteristics
of an ethical researcher. She said that a researcher must have inherent
values in ethical practice and not rely solely on rules and regulations.
Medical and nursing staff and students, and members of the AUB community,
all actively engaged in the final questions and answer session. One significant
concern was raised regarding the cultural differences that must be accommodated
with respect to ethical practices in the Middle East.