8:00 – 8:30 am

Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:30 – 8:40 am

Welcome and Introduction
Lisa S. Parker, PhD*
Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote Professor of Bioethics
Director, Center for Bioethics & Health Law
University of Pittsburgh

8:40 – 9:45 am

Frankenswine and the Suffering Un-dead:
A Bioethical Look at Restoring Function in Post-mortem Pig Brains     
Stephen R. Latham, JD, PhD
Director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics
Yale University

9:45 – 10:50 am

Ethics and Artificial Intelligence in Medicine: Beyond the Hype
Alex John London, PhD*
Clara L. West Professor of Ethics and Philosophy
Director of the Center for Ethics and Policy
Carnegie Mellon University

10:50 – 11:00 am


11:00 – 12:15 pm

Dilemmas and Disparities:
Dialysis Decision-making Among Seriously Ill Patients with Kidney Disease
Nwamaka D. Eneanya, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology
University of Pennsylvania

12:15 – 1:00 PM

Lunch on your own

1:00 – 2:00 pm

Concurrent sessions #1 – 3 

Session #1

Electronic Health Records: Ethical Perspectives from Primary Care
Jonathan Arnold, MD, MSE, MS
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Medicine
University of Pittsburgh

Abstract: The electronic health record (EHR) has become ubiquitous in the delivery of health care in the US. The EHR presents a number of ethical considerations ranging from its influence on the clinician-patient relationship to its informational demands to satisfy its multiple purposes. In this presentation and discussion, we will explore the experience of the EHR from the perspective of primary care, both through a postphenomenological analysis and from semi-structured physician interviews. 

Session #2

Personalized Medicine in Cancer Care: Benefits, Burdens, and Ethical Implications
Marci Lee Nilsen, PhD, RN**
Assistant Professor
Department of Acute and Tertiary Care, School of Nursing
Department of Otolaryngology, School of Medicine
University of Pittsburgh

Abstract: Immunotherapy, including immunological checkpoint inhibitors, has opened a new chapter in cancer treatment. This talk will review the current strategies and immunotherapeutic agents used in the treatment of cancer. With increased utilization of these novel agents, it is essential to understand the side effects profiles and survival outcomes of these agents, while also acknowledging their complicated ethical implications.  The talk will also consider how to establish and maintain patient-centered care in the age of personalized medicine.

Session #3

Prediction and Prudence: Ethical Issues in Predicting Surgical Outcomes to Inform Decision Making
Daniel E. Hall, MD, MDiv, MHSc, FACS*
Associate Professor of Surgery, Anesthesia and Perioperative Medicine
University of Pittsburgh

Abstract: With the rise of advanced “machine learning” algorithms, determining the right and good thing to do in clinical care might appear to be merely a math problem: identify the right inputs, the proper algorithm, and a sufficiently high c-statistic, and the right and good thing to do will be magically revealed. Dr. Hall will explore philosophical reasons why precise prediction cannot replace prudent moral judgment. And within these limits, he will describe practical strategies for leveraging prediction to improve shared clinical decisions.

2:00 – 2:10 pm


2:10 – 3:10 pm

Concurrent sessions #4 – 6 

Session #4

Social Media, Privacy, and Suicide Prevention
Jamie Zelazny, PhD, MPH, RN**
Assistant Professor of Nursing and Psychiatry
School of Nursing, Health and Community Systems

Abstract: Suicide is the second leading cause of death in the US among young people age 10-24 and is consistently among the top 10 causes of death worldwide. Mental health clinicians rely heavily on patients' self-report in assessing suicidal risk, but patients may not always be forthcoming in describing their level of suicidal ideation. The pervasiveness of social media offers large amounts of data readily available for analysis by machine learning algorithms for the identification of suicidal risk.  While this offers exciting new possibilities for objective measures of preventive intervention, it also raises critical issues about privacy.  If invasion of privacy allows detection of risk and intervention, ought it be done?

Session #5

Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant (HSCT) in Sickle Cell Disease: Patients’ and Providers’ Ethical Concerns
Laura M. De Castro, MD, MHSc
Associate Professor of Medicine
Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology and Oncology
University of Pittsburgh

Abstract: Forthcoming.

Session #6

The Clinical Ethics Implications of Care Robots
Valarie Blake, JD, MA**
Associate Professor of Law
West Virginia University

Abstract: Care robots are already assisting the elderly in some nursing homes around the globe and could be in widespread use in patient care sooner than many anticipate. These robots will pose significant risk to privacy, autonomy, and confidentiality, three patient interests integral to preserving trust in the medical system. This presentation explores the implications of care robots for clinical ethics and how clinical ethicists can begin to prepare for care robot use in their own institutions. 

3:10 – 3:15 pm

Transition to next session

3:15 – 4:15 pm

Concurrent sessions #7 – 9 

Session #7

The Future Imperfect: Machine Learning and Ethical Issues in the Prediction of Violence
Jack Rozel, MD, MSL**
Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Adjunct Professor of Law
University of Pittsburgh

Abstract: Targeted violence and mass shootings are a complex problem in both the colloquial and scientific sense of the term. Behavioral health and law enforcement professionals are eager to find improved solutions to identify and stop these attacks—and the people at risk of committing such acts—before tragedies occur.  Machine learning and advanced computational systems may provide some opportunities but may also create or amplify some ethical risks.  This talk will explore the theory, science, opportunities, and risks of such approaches.

Session #8

The Perils and Promise of the “Right to Try” Unproven Medical Treatments
Greer Donley, JD**
Assistant Professor of Law
University of Pittsburgh

Abstract: This talk will explore the “right to try” movement, which fought for terminally ill patients to have access to unproven medical treatments. It will describe the legal and ethical battles that eventually led to the passage of the Right to Try Act in 2018, and conclude with examination of the effects of the 2018 law.

Session #9

Precision Medicine: What’s in It for All of Us? What are the Ethical Challenges?
Lisa S. Parker, PhD*
Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote Professor of Bioethics
Director, Center for Bioethics & Health Law
University of Pittsburgh

Abstract: Despite affording great benefit in some specific contexts, precision medicine (PM) is not yet living up to most of its promises. In addition, some groups of patients currently stand to benefit far less than others. Moreover, for a wide range of conditions, PM-informed preventive recommendations are not very different in content or outcome than previous evidence-based recommendations. Yet both the hype and reality of PM present ethical challenges that warrant careful consideration. This talk will examine some of these challenges in the contexts of clinical care and large-scale research programs, and identify challenges associated with insurance and with the discovery and approval of new therapeutic agents.

4:20 pm

Wrap up and Evaluation
Lisa S. Parker, PhD*
Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote Professor of Bioethics
Director, Center for Bioethics & Health Law
University of Pittsburgh

4:30 pm

Conference Adjournment

*Center for Bioethics & Health Law faculty or staff member
**Center for Bioethics & Health Law affiliated faculty member