The famous first line of the Nuremberg Code, written by the judges at the Nazi Doctors’ Trial in 1947, is that “The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential”. The Code is usually noted for the phrase “voluntary consent”, a condition for human experiments that the judges considered to be “absolutely essential”. But the latter imperative phrase has elicited far less commentary: Essential for what and for whom? I argue that the field known as bioethics, the study and implementation of moral values and human rights in medicine and the life sciences, is a creature of what political scientists call the post-World War II liberal international order (LIO), or simply the rules-based order. The Doctors’ Trial was a key element in the Allies’ attempt to bring medical science within the rubric of the rules-based order. The current threats to that order, from the after-effects of the pandemic to the war in Ukraine to the results of climate change, present important implications for the core values of bioethics as a creature of the postwar international order.
Jonathan D. Moreno Ph.D. is the David and Lyn Silfen University Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is a Penn Integrates Knowledge (PIK) professor. At Penn, he is also a Professor of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, History and Sociology of Science, and Philosophy. His most recent books are Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven but Nobody Wants to Die: Bioethics and the Transformation of Healthcare in America, co-authored with Penn president Amy Gutmann; and The Brain in Context: A Pragmatic Guide to Neuroscience, written with neuroscientist Jay Schulkin. Among Moreno’s previous books are, The Impromptu Man: J.L. Moreno and the Origins of Psychodrama Encounter Culture and the Social Network and The Body Politic which was named a Best Book of 2011 by Kirkus Reviews; Undue Risk, nominated for the Virginia Book Award; and Mind Wars, which was referenced by the screenwriter of The Bourne Legacy. He has published more than a thousand papers, articles, reviews, and op-eds. Moreno’s writings have been translated into German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, and Romanian. Moreno is a senior consultant to a six-year, 10 million euro project on cold war medical science on both sides of the iron curtain, funded by the European Research Council. Moreno’s op-eds have been published in venues including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Science, Nature, Slate, Politico, The Hill, Foreign Affairs, Axios.com, The Huffington Post, and Psychology Today. He often appears on broadcast and online media. He was co-host of Making the Call, an Endeavor Content podcast, and was a columnist for ABCNews.com. Formerly Moreno was a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress in Washington, DC. and editor of the online magazine Science Progress. The American Journal of Bioethics has called him “the quietly most interesting bioethicist of our time.”Moreno is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine. He has served as a staff member or adviser to many governmental and non-governmental organizations, including the UNESCO International Bioethics Committee, three U.S. presidential commissions, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2008-09 he served as a member of President Barack Obama’s transition team. Moreno received his Ph.D. in philosophy from Washington University in St. Louis, was an Andrew W. Mellon post-doctoral fellow, holds an honorary doctorate from Hofstra University, and is a recipient of the College of William and Mary Law School Benjamin Rush Medal, the Dr. Jean Mayer Award for Global Citizenship from Tufts University, and the Penn Alumni Faculty Award of Merit. He has held the honorary Visiting Professorship in History at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England. In 2018 the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities presented him with a Lifetime Achievement Award. www.jonathandmoreno.com
Professor Phaik Yeong Cheah will discuss key bioethical issues while conducting research in low-resource settings, especially with populations deemed ‘vulnerable’ such as children, pregnant women, and migrants. She will illustrate these issues using real-world examples from her work in Southeast Asia
Professor Phaik Yeong Cheah, an expert on Global Health at the University of Oxford, is based in Bangkok at the MORU Tropical Health Network. She is the founder and current head of Bioethics and Engagement at MORU. Phaik Yeong was the head of MORU’s Clinical Trials Support Group for seven years. Before moving to MORU, Bangkok in 2007, she worked in the Clinical Trials & Research Governance office at Oxford.
She currently manages MORU’s community and public engagement program that aims to ensure that MORU’s research is ethical and responsive and that its potential health impact is maximized. With colleagues at MORU, she has initiated many engagement activities in Southeast Asia, such as establishing public and community advisory groups (e.g. Tak Province Community Ethics Advisory Board in 2009), science theatre programs, and science cafes in Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos. A project she led, “Village Drama Against Malaria” won the 2019 University of Oxford Vice Chancellor’s Choice Award for Public Engagement.
Phaik Yeong’s research focuses on ethical issues arising in research with underserved populations, in particular how to ethically involve children, migrants, refugees, and other vulnerable groups in research. Her other area of research is how to promote fair and equitable sharing of individual-level health research data, which includes how to ensure that data sharing and big data do not exacerbate existing inequalities between higher- and lower-income setting researchers.
Phaik Yeong was a fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Centre in Mar-Apr 2019. She has been a member of the Steering Committee of the Global Forum on Bioethics in Research (GFBR) since 2016, and a Board Member of the UN-affiliated Global Bioethics Initiative based in New York since 2018. She is a member of the Steering Committee of the University of Oxford’s MSc International Health & Tropical Medicine and teaches some of its ethics and engagement modules.
Phaik Yeong grew up in Malaysia and has a degree in Pharmacy, MSc in Bioethics, and PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences. As part of her Ph.D. work, she coordinated a multi-center clinical trial on chronic prostatitis in Malaysia.
Bioethics and biopolitics are seen as two different and separate endeavors: While the first operates from a principle of justice (in many ways interdisciplinary and interprofessional) the second operates from a pragmatist approach that serves the ends of those in power. As a discipline that is staunchly involved in arguments, recommendations, policies, etc. related to collective health, bioethics is quintessentially about who gets to live and who gets to die, particularly in the AI age. This talk ponders the moral obligation (if any) of bioethicists to be morally courageous engaged intellectuals and advocate for the homo sacers and those reduced to bare life (to use the words of Agamben) and by doing so, depoliticizing bioethics.
Thalia Arawi, Ph.D. is the Founding Director of the Salim El-Hoss Bioethics and Professionalism Program (SHBPP) at the American University of Beirut Faculty of Medicine and Medical Center. The SHBPP is the first and only Regional Bioethics and Professionalism Program in the Arab Region. Dr. Arawi is the first Arab to specialize in Bioethics with two PhDs. She is also the Clinical Bioethicist, Clinical Ethics Consultant, and Certified Healthcare Mediator at AUBMC. Dr. Arawi is the first Arab member to be appointed to the board of the International Association of Bioethics and is also a member of the American Society of Bioethics, the Canadian Society of Bioethics, the Provincial Health Ethics Network, and, the UK Clinical Ethics Network, the Lebanese National Advisory Commission of the Ethics in Life Sciences and Healthcare, to mention but a few. Dr. Arawi is a founding member and Advisory Board member of the Bioethics Network on Women’s Issues in the Arab Region and has been elected as the First Chair of the Network. She has also been elected as a senior fellow at the ge2p2 global foundation for the advanced ethical and scientific rigor in research and evidence generation for governance, policy, and practice in human rights action, humanitarian response, health, education, heritage stewardship, and sustainable development – serving governments, international agencies, civil society organizations (csos), commercial entities, consortia, and alliances then promoted to Senior Fellow. Dr. Arawi is also the first Arab consultant at the Center for Conflict Resolution in Healthcare LLC, Memphis TN. She has participated in a multitude of national, regional, and international conferences and has several publications on bioethics. Her research interests are mainly in the areas of clinical ethics, biomedical ethics, philosophy of medicine, humanitarian medicine, bioethics in conflict zones, ethics and mental health, and medical education.