Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Opportunity: AMA Ethics Journal Issue Editors

Hi Everyone,

Prof. Donna Chen pointed out a wonderful opportunity in Bioethics to me today. Check it out here:

From the site:

Virtual Mentor [] is the American Medical Association's online ethics journal. Its mission is to promote the ethical and professional development of tomorrow's physicians, and its primary audiences are medical students, residents, other physicians, and medical educators.

VM serves as an educational resource for a rapidly growing number of readers. We invite medical students and resident physicians who are AMA members to apply to serve as theme issue editors. If you are not yet an AMA medical student or resident physician member and would like to join, you can do so online at

Each theme issue editor undertakes, with help from VM staff editors, responsibility for: (1) selecting a theme for one issue and defining the ethical and professionalism concerns inherent in that theme, (2) generating case narratives that provide opportunities for examining those concerns in clinical and educational contexts, (3) identifying, securing, and corresponding with contributors to the issue, (4) editing copy and reviewing page proofs before the issue goes live on the first working day of the month. These tasks will be accomplished at each editor's "home" location.

Theme issue editors, selected in late November, will be flown to Chicago to meet with Virtual Mentor staff some time in February. Each theme issue editor receives a $1,000-stipend.

Experience in editing or journalism is desirable. The abilities to critique an argument or article, work well with authors, and meet deadlines are essential. To apply, send a short letter stating your current medical student or resident program status and your reason for wishing to be a theme issue editor for VM. Attach to the letter the following:

1. A curriculum vitae
2. A writing sample of not more than 1,000 words
3. Your response to the following exercise in 800 words or fewer.

Virtual Mentor is planning an issue that examines disparities in medical care that are due to non-clinical factors such as ethnicity, uninsured status, living in a particular part of the country. Considering VM's mission and primary audiences, what ethical and professionalism concerns specific to this theme should VM develop? Look at the table of contents in one or more issues of VM. What cases and articles would you develop for each of the sections that appear in a typical issue—the clinical cases and commentaries, journal discussion, policy forum, op-ed piece, medicine and society, or medical humanities. How would you go about identifying prospective contributors to this topic?

Be as specific as possible in your reply to this part of the application. It serves as our best indicator of how you would approach your editing responsibilities.

Send your letter of application and attachments by e-mail to:

The deadline for applications is midnight CST on Saturday, November 13, 2010.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Tuesday, 10/19 - The Future of Genome Sequencing with Dr. Bekiranov

Hello Hello,

Dr. Bekiranov will join us in the Learning Studio on Tuesday the 19th, and we will also be providing lunch, so please bring your questions!

Here are a few articles to stimulate discussion:

-Art Caplan and Craig Venter debate the ethics of large DNA databases in The Economist.

-An Op-Ed in Reason Magazine argues for less federal regulation of consumer genome tests.

-An overview of the ethical implications of the Human Genome Project from

-Summary of an NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute Roundtable on "Policy Implications for Research and Medicine."

-"Research ethics and the challenge of whole-genome sequencing." Yay for primary literature!

See you there!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Tuesday, 10/5 - Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Hello friends,

The topic of the week for Tuesday the 5th will be Embryonic Stem Cell Research, which should tie in well (pretty much directly) with what we've been learning in class.

For the most recent developments in the current litigation involving the research, see this brief article from the Nature blog. Nature also has a succinct history of the current legal scuffle here, as well as an entire section devoted to coverage of the stem cell injunction here.

I'd like to highlight the Opinion section of the previous link, where the editorial staff makes a plea to save stem cell research here, and the lawyer in charge of the plaintiff's case directly responds here.

Lastly (for now), this article captures the sentiment of those opposing embryonic stem cell research fairly well.