GBI Summer School program had an incredible depth and breadth of presenters and information. In addition, the high caliber of attendees made the program a wonderful learning and networking experience with brilliant participants from around the world. While meeting in person is often much better, the online presentations, film screenings, webinars, and breakout sessions were top-notch, and likely allowed some participants to “attend” who wouldn’t otherwise be able to. I’m really looking forward to the next program organized by Global Bioethics Initiative!
Theresa Ford, MBe Candidate in Bioethics, Columbia University, NYC, USA
I very much enjoyed the unique 2020 Global Bioethics virtual program. I call it “unique”as I previously attended online programs offered by Harvard University and the Woolf Institute, linked to Cambridge University which are highly praised educational programs. However, the essence of the Global Bioethics Initiative’s program was the very pragmatic angle through which the debates were conducted by notable lecturers; they were not limited to the classroom teachings only, but went far beyond the academic deliberations. We understood that bioethical decisions affect all of us regardless of our backgrounds and we cannot avoid making healthcare decisions for ourselves, and sometimes on behalf of incapacitated loved ones and that we are citizens of a society that needs to determine not only how to respond to, but also how to better prevent public health emergencies such as COVID-19. The topics ranged from pandemic ethics, the use of investigational drugs, hospital-based ethics, end-of-life and palliative care, women’s rights based ethics, vaccine clinical trials, and mental health care to film screenings and debates on flawed research practices. I thank GBI and Dr. Ana Lita, the main organizer, for giving me the opportunity to be part of the program and provide me with a partial scholarship to attend it. With participants from around the world with various educational and cultural backgrounds, the program had a unique intercultural dialogue dimension.
Piyali Mitra, PhD Research Scholar, Department of Philosophy, University of Calcutta, India and Sponsored student of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, University of Oxford
GBI’s summer school 2020 was an incredibly beneficial experience for me. Despite the obstacle of the current pandemic, the virtual program was very well-planned out and filled with fruitful conversations among the participants, lecturers and guest speakers from around the globe. I particularly enjoyed how the experts did not only give informative lectures, but also engaged everyone to participate in insightful debates. My previous exposure to the field of bioethics was through a course at my college called “Bioethics of Human Reproduction”, where I was particularly passionate about issues of contraception and assisted reproductive technologies. Based on my interests, the talk that fascinated me the most was titled “Women, Global Health and Human Rights” as we learned about the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and how the lockdown has resulted in an increase risk of violence against women and girls. I also was very intrigued by the talk on the risks and ethics of human challenge clinical studies, and how it relates to informed consent, a topic I was unfamiliar with. As someone who intends to pursue an MPH post-grad, and eventually work in the public health sector, this program was an ideal to broaden my knowledge, learn more about my field of interest, and use my previous experience to start a dialogue about vital issues in today’s society.
Frederick Licciardi, M.D., GBI Advisory Board Member, Professor Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, NYU Langone Medical Center, Director of Oocyte Donation Program NYU Fertility Center
“Vandana Dronadula, B.A. Candidate in Biology & Science, Technology, and Society (STS), Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY, USA
GBI Summer School Online has been a rewarding experience. We’ve had presentations from academics and practitioners representing a broad range of disciplines, locations, and cultures, and the generational and cultural diversity of participants made for rich discussions of some very timely topics. The balance of research and clinical ethics topics provided accessible introduction to core concepts for those participants new to the field and a useful refresher for those more exposed to the field. Current global issues, some related to Covid-19 were tackled in more depth. I really appreciated learning from international participant as well as the notable faculty. I was impressed by the skills of each faculty member to facilitate engaging discussions with participants ranging from secondary school students, undergraduate and graduate students to professionals.
Mike Campbell, PhD, Senior Lecturer in Behavioral Science/Psychology and Chair, Institutional Review Board, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of the West Indies–Cave Hill, Barbados
The Summer School organized by the Global Bioethics Initiative this year was a unique educational opportunity for me. Although it has been online, the lectures and conversations between participants had been engaging and very informative. The diversity of both the lecturers and the participants made the debate on global bioethical issues particularly fruitful; the lectures they had all been tied together by the common theme, namely how to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic ethically and possibly more efficiently to alleviate its effects around the world. My participation is a valuable experience for me. I am glad I had the chance to learn about the field of global bioethics the ethics of public health.
Chloe Chinnadurai, BA Candidate in Biology & Science, Technology, and Society (STS), Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY, USA
I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to participate in such an educationally enriching summer school program. The program consisted in a series of interdisciplinary lectures and seminars delivered by very qualified speakers across the fields of medicine, applied ethics, social sciences and philosophy. The complex program which included webinars and film screenings gave me a general overview of the topics related to global bioethics as well as human rights, public policy, and clinical ethics. Some of my colleagues, participants from around the world with a variety of cultural backgrounds helped informing me through the debates we had on how some bioethical issues are viewed in their countries.
Ben Guggenheim, High School Senior Student, Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, Rockville, MD, USA
I could not describe my pleasure to be one of the participants of the amazing GBI summer school 2020. The virtual live program gave me the opportunity to meet and befriend participants from Barbados, Canada, Egypt, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Nigeria, Philippines, Romania, Singapore, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States. Local and international lecturers, notable experts in their fields presented I details the ethical aspects of pandemics, assisted reproductive technologies, genetics, public health care decision making, End-of-Life care, bioethics and social policy among them, from different perspectives through their PowerPoint presentations including videos, illustrative images, and case studies. What I found really fascinating was the choice of two amazing documentary films as part of the program dealing with research ethics (“Three Identical Strangers”) and assisted reproductive technologies (“Sperm Donor”). We also had a unique opportunity of working with each other for about two hours in small groups during the program final day through ZOOM, and had a chance to debate a topic of our choice presented during the intensive program. I was part of the group debating the question of purposefully infect human volunteers with the corona virus to shorten the timeline of developing a vaccine. I am deeply thankful to the organizers, especially to Dr. Ana Lita, who put together the program thus contributed to its success, as well as to all the participants (some are my new friends) from different countries.
Basant Shaker Mohamed Elsaid, MSc. Medical Physiology, PhD Candidate, Assistant Lecturer of Physiology at Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt
I was overwhelmed by the quality of the lectures, the film screenings, speakers, and their willingness to answer a broad range of questions and engage in robust discussions over the materials they presented during the program. I particularly recall, Prof. Fred Licciardi ‘s lecture on ethical issues related to reproductive technologies and Prof. Jonathan D. Moreno’s lecture on Bioethics before and after the pandemic. The documentary “The Three Identical Strangers,” about Identical triplet brothers who didn’t meet each other, let alone know about each other, until they were nineteen years old in 1980, by accident, was so impressive. Their quest for the complete truth, which to this day is not fully known, led them to believe that much of what shaped their growing up environment was not by accident. They and other twins and triplets were used as scientific guinea pigs. My research work is based on the Philosophy of Action and Ethics, especially on Free Will. I have been keenly interested in exploring in-depth the individuals’ consent and their freedom towards health or medical-related queries. During this current pandemic crisis, and after talking the program I began understanding the role of bioethics in our daily lives. I was humbled and grateful to be a part of a selected group of participants. Hopefully, we will continue to communicate in the future and learn from each other. Last but not least, I sincerely thank Prof. Ana Lita, for accepting my application, offering me a scholarship and supporting me throughout the program.
Pujarini Das, Ph.D. Scholar in Philosophy at the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, India
This year I had the pleasure and chance of interning with Dr. Ana Lita at GBI and also be a participant for the virtual summer school. As an intern, I helped a lot with administrative tasks so much needed to run such a program. As a participant, I welcomed the unique opportunity to hear from notable experts in medical sciences, bioethics, applied ethics and some public health care practitioners, who made their presentations fascinating and very engaging. Dr. Mirna Mohanraj a pulmonologist at Mount Sinai, NYC, gave an excellent presentation on hospital based ethics and the difficult ethical decisions that have to be made during the pandemics. We then got to hear more about hospital ethics from Dr. Ira Bedzov’s discussion, the Director of Biomedical Ethics & Humanities Program at New York Medical College. Some other important lectures included women’s health and reproductive rights, with Dr. Pandmini Murthy, Director of Global Health at New York Medical College, and Dr. Fred Licciardi, Director of Oocyte Donation Program NYU Fertility Center, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at NYU Langone Medical Center who lectured on assisted reproductive technologies ethical issues. Despite the inability to have such conversations in person, GBI continued to advance the summer school format online equally successful.
Quentin Wise, BA Candidate, Bachelor of Arts in Science, Technology, and Society Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY, USA
The Global Bioethics virtual summer school has been an absolute treat to participate in. The eclectic group of professionals and scholars assembled do a fantastic job of highlighting some of the most interesting and pressing issues in global bioethics. As a philosopher, the program provided the necessary technical information to intelligently talk about new concepts related to bioethics and had certainly laid the foundation to further explore the field on my own. All of my classmates participants made the learning experience particularly enjoyable through their comments and questions posed; their different professions and perspectives over certain issues greatly impacted my understanding of the topics presented. I highly recommend anyone in taking the future GBI summer school programs.
Max Fathauer, BA Candidate in Philosophy, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA, USA
I have been so impressed by the quality of the various lectures presented during 2020, 1st online bioethics program. I first planned to attend the summer program in Manhattan, 2017 but was unable due to a scheduling conflict. On one hand, I wish I could have attended the in-person program. On the other hand, after giving it some thought, I realized that I probably appreciated the program even more after having completed the core courses in the MBe at Columbia University. Indeed GBI program mirrored bioethics in the real world. During my first year of law school, I recall telling my constitutional law professor that I wanted to study bioethics. He dismissed the idea by responding, “what does that mean in real life?” I was discouraged somehow. Several years later, I decided to go back to school to fulfill my dream. This program reinforced the impact of bioethics in real-life. I enjoyed the discussions about applying influential ethical theories such as utilitarianism, communitarianism, and Kantianism to real-life situations. I have been also very impressed by my fellow participants’ interventions, knowledge, curiosity and cultural backgrounds. I sincerely thank Ana Lita, the program organizer for her passion and willingness to run the program smoothly, the talented lecturers, the interns and my fellow participants for a very special and memorable week.
Laura Buzia, BSN, LLC, Registered Nurse – Human Resources Administration, MICSA, Manhattan CASA, NYC, USA
The virtual Bioethics Summer School during the COVID-19 pandemic was a fantastic experience to interact with great talents from around the globe, some more new to bioethics than others. The diversity in age, nationalities, experiences, and fields of work was the right recipe for in-depth discussions, and the topics of the lectures were a great catalyst for these to happen. We were all together apart and committed to a more (bio)ethical world.
Jaime O. Hernandez, J.D., M.Be., Management and Program Analyst, Office for Human Research Protection (OHRP), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
I am so impressed by the quality of the various lectures in the Global Bioethics Initiative Summer 2020 program. The speakers not only presented their well prepared materials, but were prepared and very willing to answer a broad range of questions and engage in robust discussions. The materials, the slides, the videos, and movie screenings were simply captivating.
I first planned to attend the live program in 2017 but was unable to attend due to a professional scheduling conflict. On one hand, I wish I could have attended the in-person program. On the other hand, after giving it some thought, I realize that I probably appreciate the program even more having completed the substantive courses in the Masters of Bioethics at Columbia University. If I had to describe the program in minimal words, keeping in mind that brevity is not my strong point, it would be bioethics in the real world.
Why is this so important for me? During my first year of law school, I distinctly remember telling my constitutional law professor, that I wanted to pursue bioethics. He dismissed the idea and responded, “what does that mean in real life?” I was discouraged and pursued another area of law. Several years later, I decided to go back to school for my Masters in Bioethics. Every day, I was reminded of the significance of bioethics in real-life. On that note, I enjoyed the discussions about applying frameworks, such as utilitarianism, communitarianism, Kantianism, and principlism to examples of real-life situations.
I am also very impressed by my fellow GBI students. I am humbled and thankful to be a part of this group. Hopefully, we will all continue to communicate in the future and learn from each other.
I sincerely thank Ana Lita, the Global Bioethics Initiative, every speaker, the interns, and every participants for a very special and memorable week.
Cathy Lively, Esq., JD Masters in Bioethics Candidate at Columbia University
I really loved the GBI program. The incredible speakers synthesize and integrate bioethics knowledge so it can be applied globally. In addition, I found people from all over the world I can connect and collaborate with concerning global issues that so desperately need to be addressed. As a mid career professional, I found GBI Summer School as a great way to move from the academic frame work and apply knowledge to real world problems. It has really opened the door for new opportunities for me.
Katrina Burns, PhD in Public Health, University of Michigan
Timely, topical and transformational — GBI’s 2020 International Bioethics Summer School Program has been one of the most singular valuable and rewarding academic and professional experiences of my life.
Curated and expertly run by Drs. Lita and Silverman, this week’s program has attracted a genuinely diverse cohort of the best and brightest participants from around the globe, sporting qualifications/backgrounds that range from MD’s, PhD’s and Attorneys to graduate and undergraduate students as well as early career researchers; a group that has worked collaboratively together, supporting and encouraging one another in our learning throughout the week.
To this group, GBI has provided truly unparalleled and intimate access to a faculty comprised of many of the most important leaders and voices in the field of Bioethics. Across more than 45 contact hours, we’ve had the chance to learn from and be mentored by, the likes of Dr. Jonathan Moreno, Dr. Mirna Mohanraj, Lisa Kerns, Dr. Joseph Lowy, Dr. Ira Bedzov, Dr. Padmini Murthy, Dr. Frederick Licciardi, and Dr. Ilene Willets to name just a few.
Throughout the week, each faculty member was keenly focused on making sure that they were accessible —both during lectures and outside of class; willing to address questions in their areas of respective expertise, as well as offer support, encouragement and networking insights relevant to our individual career goals and aspirations. Every session, every lecture and every offline interaction with my fellow students, felt like drinking from a firehose full of “goodness” and revelations. I felt pushed — in the most positive sense — to think so much more deeply, about so many critical issues.
I can’t begin to describe how fortunate I feel for having been afforded the opportunity to attend this year’s program. I walk away from this week more affirmed, excited and confident knowing that the lessons, insights and networking connections I garnered will absolutely help me navigate, pursue and one day soon, help collaboratively create solutions to the pressing Bioethical issues facing our world.
And for that, I will be forever indebted to Drs. Lita and Silverman, GBI’s 2020 faculty and my fellow students.
Case Rosenfelt, Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts