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Dr. Ross Quoted in Recent Article

Dr. Lainie Ross, chair of the Department of Health Humanities & Bioethics, was quoted in the May 2023 edition of Medical Ethics Advisor in the article “Living Donor Liver Transplant Raises Multiple Ethical Questions” You can read the full article here.

Lainie Friedman Ross Receives Honorary Doctorate of Humanities

On May 12, 2023, during the commencement ceremony at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, Lanie Friedman Ross, MD, PhD, will receive an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree for her exemplary scholarship and leadership in bioethics. Ross recently joined URMC as the inaugural Chair of Health Humanities and Bioethics and serves as director of the Paul M. Schyve, MD Center for Bioethics.

At Oakland University, the William Beaumont School of Medicine is a relatively new institution, established in July 2008. Ross’s nomination comes during the creation of their first Center for Moral Values and Medicine. Three bioethicists at the university recommended her for this honor, stating that she is “arguably the most influential, accomplished, and important pediatric ethicist of our time.”

Ross’s core areas of expertise include ethical and policy issues in pediatrics, clinical decision making, death and organ transplantation, genetics/genomics, clinical research ethics, and human subject protections. She has published five books, over 225 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, and is currently writing a sixth book examining ethical issues related to siblings in health care.

“I’m thrilled to receive this honorary Doctor of Humanities degree,” said Ross. “It is a validation of the importance of bioethics in academic medicine and the training of the next generation of clinicians in both the art and science of medicine.”

Dr. Jon Herington Presents at the Bioethics Noon Conference Series

Dr. Jon HeringtonOn Wednesday, May 3rd, Dr. Jon Herington presented “Quantifying Value Tradeoffs in Ventilator Allocation Under Crisis Standards of Care” during the Interdisciplinary Bioethics Noon Conference Series.

Policies designed to ethically allocate scarce resources often rely on untested assumptions about tradeoffs between ethical values (i.e. saving the most lives, saving the most life years, and non-discrimination against the chronically ill). Because these policies are implemented in complex, dynamic systems, many assumptions about these tradeoffs may turn out to be false. Thus, a rigorous and reproducible methodology to test such

assumptions is essential for bioethics to properly inform policymaking. Using a unique time series dataset of all ICU patients admitted to a large medical center during 2020-2021, we use Monte Carlo methods to simulate implementation of three different COVID-19 ventilator allocation protocols given different levels of scarcity.

MS Medical Humanities Students Present Final Capstone Projects

On Tuesday, March 24th, two of the graduating students from the MS Medical Humanities Program presented their final capstone projects to fellow students & department faculty.

Gretchen Strobbe’s project was titled, “Typologies in the Endo Narrative: An Exploration of the Voices that Penetrate Silence, Stigma, and the Struggle to Write About Pain.”

Alejandro Vera’s project was titled, “The Lived Experience of Vitiligo in the Visual Arts.”

Congratulations Gretchen & Alejandro on all your hard work and fantastic final projects!

Capstone Project presenter AlejandroCapstone presentations - GretchenCapstone projects - Gretchen and Alejandro

Erik Larsen & Trish Luck Finalists in AAMC NEGEA Conference

Erik and Tish receiving awardSeveral members of the department attended the Association of American Medical Colleges Northeast Group on Educational Affairs Conference in April. Erik Larsen and Trish Luck were picked as finalists for the Excellence in medical Education Oral Abstract Presentation Award with Trish winning 1 of the 4 awards for “The Photo/Tiny Story: A Novel Activity for Reflective Practice in Medical Education."

Congratulations Erik & Trish!!

Laura Stamm received a grant from the Humanities Center for her project: “Making Public History: Oral Histories of COVID-19 and Rochester’s Black Communities”

This project seeks to provide a collection that captures the impact of COVID-19 on Rochester’s black communities. Using community-based participatory research methods (CBPR), this project will listen to, record, and preserve the experiences of those made most vulnerable by the pandemic. It is a widely accepted fact that COVID-19 disproportionately affects black communities, but there is little research available on how COVID-19 and the impact of the disproportional burden differently affects black communities. Moreover, most research on COVID-19 in marginalized communities is told from the perspective of scientific researchers, rather than by individuals who experience the everyday impact of the pandemic. Scholarship on vaccine hesitancy in the black community, for example, typically cites survey data and theorizes about why black people might not trust medical institutions without hearing directly from black community members about why their experiences and understandings of history cause them to distrust medicine. The proposed project will provide a collection of stories about COVID-19 directly from voices of Rochester’s black communities that centers their experiences and provides a new narrative of life and health during a global pandemic. Preserving these black oral histories in an archival collection and digitized open access platform affirms their historical importance and assures their existence for future generations.

Congratulations Laura!!

Expanding the Role of Justice in Secondary Research Using Digital Psychological Data

Jonathan Herington1, Kevin Li2, Anthony R.Pisani3

1 Department of Health Humanities and Bioethics and Department of Philosophy, University of Rochester
2 Department of Family Medicine, University of Rochester
3 Center for the Study and Prevention of Suicide, Department of Psychiatry & Department of Pediatrics, University of Rochester

Abstract: Digital psychological data (DPD) can advance behavioral health research. Under current practices, much of secondary research does not require human subjects research review because data are de-identified. This standard approach to the ethics of secondary research (i.e. de-identification) does not address a range of ethical risks. We argue that greater emphasis should be placed on the ethical principle of justice. We outline inadequacy of an individually-focused research ethic for DPD and describe the range of unaddressed “social risks” generated by secondary research of DPD. These risks exist in the “circumstances of justice”: i.e. a circumstance where individuals must cooperate to create a public good (e.g. research knowledge), and where it is impractical to individually exempt individuals. Instead, we recommend greater emphasis upon the just allocation of benefits and burdens against a background of social cooperation. We explore six considerations for researchers who wish to use DPD in secondary research without explicit consent: (i) create socially valuable knowledge, (ii) fairly share the benefits and burdens of research, (iii) be transparent about data use, (iv) explore mechanisms for withdrawal of data, (v) ensure that stakeholders can provide input into the design and implementation of the research, and (vi) responsibly report limitations.

Congratulations Jon & Kevin!

Dr Shaw speaks with Boston Globe

Dr. Margie Shaw spoke with the Boston Globe and was quoted for the article, “Foundation stirs controversy by charging cancer patients $83,000 for unproven but promising experimental drug.”

Foundation stirs controversy by charging cancer patients $83,000 for unproven but promising experimental drug - The Boston Globe

Special Lecture:  "Conceptually Engineering Disability"

Monday March 13th, 2023 11am, CEL 2-7520


Congratulations to the Alpha Omega Alpha Inductees for 2023!

We are excited to announce that we had several Pathways students as well as our own Dr. Margie Shaw inducted into Alpha Omega Alpha.

Congratulations Spencer Chen, Dalton LeBarge, Christian Dohring & Courtney Vidovich!

Margie ShawAlpha Omega Alpha inductees

‘Changing Perspectives Through the Arts’ event

The Department of Health Humanities and Bioethics presents “Drawing On and From Healthcare” with Kriota Willberg, the next installment of the “Changing Perspectives Through the Arts” series, a collaboration of the Department of Health Humanities and Bioethics, Eastman Performing Arts Medicine, and Rochester community organizations. The event takes place Friday, March 10, at noon in the School of Medicine and Dentistry, Auditorium K-207 (2-6408), and via Zoom. Learn more and register for the Zoom link here.

Music Therapy Finds Its Rhythm at URMC

March is Music Therapy Month and, to honor URMC's music therapy program, we're taking you on a journey to discover the important work our team is doing to help patients—young and old—benefit from the healing sounds of music. Learn how the program began 25 years ago, and how it has grown to care for thousands of patients since its inception. Meet our team of music therapy collaborators and hear how their dedicated work resonates throughout the halls of our hospital.

Music Therapy Finds its Rhythm at URMC - URMC Today (

The Nocturnist Podcast – Jackie Howitt’s Experience Volunteering During COVID Pandemic

OB/GYN Jackie Howitt and pediatrician Gretchen Volk bring us into the deserted airport where they first met in April 2020 on their way to offer COVID-19 relief in NYC. Though their friendship began at one of the most disorienting moments in their lives, the coincidences that followed made the connection feel almost fated.

Listen here: Serendipity in Shutdown — the NOCTURNISTS

Anatomy of Hate Grand Rounds – “Breaking the Silence: Dismantling Hate Through Restoring Community”

We have a unique opportunity to engage with an expert in restorative justice. Dr. Pedro Flores will be in Rochester next Tuesday, March 28 and Wednesday, March 29.

Reserve your spot now to learn about truth-telling, accountability, and reconciliation through restorative justice circles. Pedro Flores, Ph.D., a restorative justice practitioner, clinician, and healthcare administrator from Southern California, will host one virtual and two in-person circles on Tuesday, March 28th and Wednesday March 29th.

These sessions wrap up the Anatomy of Hate Grand Rounds series sponsored by the Office of Equity and Inclusion in partnership with the Department of Health Humanities and Bioethics, Paul M. Schyve, MD Center for Bioethics, and the Office of Alumni Relations and Constituent Engagement.


Special Lecture:  "E’s a Funny Doctor: Dickie Orpen’s Second World War Cartoons and the Palliative Humor of  the Surgical Ward"

Christine Slobogin, MPhil, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Medical Humanities
Johns Hopkins University


Friday March 31st, 2023, 11am - 12pm
Anderson Room (G-8534)

Special Lecture:  "Healthy Forever? Medicine, Society, and the Life Co urse Transformed in Twentieth-Century America"

Cara Fallon, PhD
Lecturer in Global Health,
Yale University


Monday April 1st, 2023, 11am - 12pm
Natapow Room (1-9545)


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