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Section Newsletter
Winter 2009

Useful Resources

Public Health and Social Justice


Ethics SPIG member Professor Martin Donohoe has created a new Web site for students, educators and the general public called Public Health and Social Justice ( Updated regularly, the site contains articles, slide shows, syllabi and other documents relevant to topics in public health and social justice. References for most of the information contained in the slide shows can be found in the accompanying articles.



Transparency International: Corruption in the Water Sector


Transparency International, a global civil society organization leading the fight against corruption, has recently created a Web resource for individuals and organizations interested in corruption in the water sector. Need some inspiration for your abstract submission for this year’s APHA Annual Meeting in Philadelphia? Then check out the Transparency International Web site at



Ethical Issues in Pandemic Influenza Planning


Ethics SPIG member and Public Health Ethics Joint Editor-in-Chief Marcel Verweij, along with his colleagues, have recently published a series of background and discussion papers on ethical issues in pandemic influenza planning, commissioned by the World Health Organization. The resulting WHO report is now available for download at



UNESCO Global Ethics Observatory (GEObs): Database on Resources in Ethics


The sixth GEObs Database on Resources in Ethics was officially launched in October 2008, and is freely accessible online to all member states and the general public in the six official languages of UNESCO (i.e. Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish). This new database is designed to reinforce ethics teaching, especially in regions where such activities are absent or minimal, by making resources in ethics available online through the GEObs. In this way, such resources can be accessed and downloaded by individual teachers as study materials to aid them in the creation of new ethics teaching programmes, or to strengthen existing teaching programmes. It would also be the repository for study materials of the proposed UNESCO Bioethics Core Curriculum. Ethics teachers and experts are invited to contribute to the content of this database in order to ensure that a wide variety of regional and cultural perspectives are represented. You can send contributions to the database and requests for further information to: To access the GEObs Database on Resources in Ethics directly, visit



Have something you’d like to include in next quarter’s newsletter? Contact Newsletter Editor Sean Philpott at


Exciting Opportunities

2009 Essay Contest (Deadline: March 2, 2009)


The Kaiser Family Foundation is sponsoring an essay contest on health care policy, open to undergraduate and graduate students. As President Obama has stated that reforming the health care system is one of his top priorities, the Foundation is asking interested students to submit a 1,000-word essay addressing what elements of health care reform should be prioritized given the current economic crisis, what elements are most likely to garner support, and which ones will be most challenging and why? Submissions are due on March 2, 2009. For more information and contest rules, please visit:



Young Scholar Award in Perinatal Bioethics (Deadline: March 2, 2009)


In collaboration with the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities (ASBH), the March of Dimes has created an annual Young Scholar Award in Perinatal Bioethics. 

Graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and other professionals up to the assistant professor level are invited to apply. Interested applicants are invited to submit proposals on the topic of perinatal ethics in any of the submission categories offered in the ASBH Call for Proposals. Proposals about pregnancy, birth, lactation, prenatal causes of disability, neonatal decision-making, and other perinatal issues will be considered. Applicants are asked to submit abstracts to the ASBH Call for Proposals at From the abstracts, a group of applicants will be invited to submit full papers for review by the March of Dimes/ASBH review committee. The award winner will receive an honorarium of $1,000 and will be invited to present his/her paper at a plenary session at the ASBH Annual Meeting in October, which will feature an invited lecture by a distinguished scholar from the field of perinatal bioethics. The deadline to submit abstracts is March 2, 2009.



19th Annual APHA Public Health Materials Contest (Deadline: March 27, 2009)


The APHA Public Health Education Health Promotion Section is soliciting your best health education, promotion and communication materials for the 19th annual competition. The contest provides a forum to showcase public health materials during the APHA Annual Meeting and recognizes professionals for their hard work. All winners will be selected by panels of expert judges prior to the 137th APHA Annual Meeting in Philadelphia.  A session will be held at the Annual Meeting to recognize winners, during which one representative from the top materials selected in each category will give a presentation about their material. Entries will be accepted in three categories: printed materials, electronic materials, and other materials.  Entries for the contest are due by March 27, 2009.  Please contact Kira McGroarty at for additional contest entry information.

Upcoming Events

21st New York Regional Conference: Issues in Medical Ethics 2009 (New York City, March 6, 2009)


The 21st New York Regional Conference on Issues in Medical Ethics will be held March 6, 2006, in the Hatch Auditorium of the Mount Sinai School of Medical. Ethics SPIG members Jeremy Sugarman and Sean Philpott will be presenting on such diverse issues as informed consent in medical research and distributive justice in international research trials. The conference is free, but space is limited and pre-registration required. For more information, e-mail Karen Smalls in the Office of Bioethics Education at Mount Sinai School of Medicine at



2009 World Water Week (Stockholm, Sweden, August 16-22, 2009)


The First Announcement for the 2009 World Water Week in Stockholm, August 16-22, is now available. This announcement provides information on the theme, structure, and special focus of the 2009 Week. It also provides guidelines for convening a seminar or side event or submitting an abstract for presentation during the eight workshops. Paralleling the theme of this year’s APHA meeting, the theme for 2009 World Water Week is Water - Responding to Global Change: Accessing Water for the Common Good  (with Special Focus on Transboundary Waters). You can download the First Announcement and learn more about the 2009 World Water Week at



European Association of Centres of Medical Ethics Annual Meeting on Multiculturalism, Religions, and Bioethics (Venice, Italy, Sept. 10-11, 2009)


In 2009, the Fondazione Lanza, Padova, “Ca’ Foscari” University of Venice, and the European Association of Centres of Medical Ethics (EACME) are organizing the EACME annual conference in Venice, Italy. The event is organized on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Fondazione Lanza, and covers four central topics: Multiculturalism, Religions and Bioethics in a Post-Modern Society; Universal Values and General Ethical Standards in a Multicultural Context; Towards a Mediterranean Bioethics; and Healthcare in the Context of Migration: Social Aspects of Care and Vulnerability. Individuals wishing to present papers at the conference are invited to submit an abstract addressing the ethical dimensions of the conference topics (500 words maximum) by March 1, 2009. For more information, visit the conference Web site at



11th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities (Washington, D.C., Oct. 15-18, 2009).


The 11th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities (ASBH) is scheduled for Oct. 15-18, 2009, in Washington, D.C. This year’s theme is Translating Bioethics and Humanities. The ASBH is inviting scholars to submit proposals that address the issues of translation in the medical humanities and bioethics. Whether translational work involves bringing ethical theory to the bedside, art and literature to the hospital ward, silenced voices to the mainstream, or basic science to clinical care, proposals that move across discursive thresholds of context are welcomed. The deadline for proposal submissions is March 2, 2009. For more information about the conference, or to submit a proposal, please visit



137th Annual APHA Meeting & Exposition (Philadelphia, Nov. 7-11, 2009)


The 137th APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition will be held this year in Philadelphia in early November. The Ethics SPIG is sponsoring a number of workshops and panel presentations, and invites abstracts for panel discussions, oral presentations, roundtables, and posters on topics concerning ethics and public health. The theme of this year’s conference is Water and Public Health, and we encourage researchers, authors, teachers, those in public health practice, and especially students to submit abstracts related to ethical issues linking public health and water, including those that cross boundaries or borders. Everyone interested in public health should attend this meeting, and individuals interested in submitting an abstract should do so by the week of Feb. 16-20, 2009. For more information about the conference, or to submit a proposal, visit



10th World Congress of Bioethics (Singapore, July 28-31, 2010)


The 10th World Congress of Bioethics (WCB), in conjunction with the 8th International Congress on Feminist Approaches to Bioethics, will be held in Singapore from July 28-31, 2010. The theme of the Congress is Bioethics in a Globalized World, focusing on cooperation through the communicative role of bioethics in a highly globalized world. It will be hosted by the Bioethics Advisory Committee of Singapore and will take place at the Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre. Proposals for symposia should be submitted by July 1, 2009. Proposals for Paper and Poster Abstracts should be submitted by Dec. 1, 2009. All proposals should be sent via e-mail to: For more information on submission format and registration, please visit the Congress Web site at:

Chair's Message

Change is in the air. As I sit down to write to you, we have just inaugurated a new, historic, president. Living in the D.C. suburbs, you can feel the anticipation -- this president has already signed the State Children’s Health Insurance Plan (SCHIP) that will expand health care access to millions of children. Mental health parity has also finally passed, thanks in part to the efforts of the APHA community, and there is great optimism that Congress and President Obama might seize this unique window of opportunity to achieve real health care reform in the United States.

I know many of you would like to be more active in advocacy work that promotes a public health agenda, but maybe you think it’s too time consuming. If you haven’t yet, I invite you to sign up for the APHA’s advocacy alerts at . APHA makes it amazingly easy to stay current on what is happening on Capitol Hill, be politically active with a few clicks of a mouse, and engage your students in public health advocacy.

Like the country, the Ethics SPIG also experienced a change in administration, although not quite as revolutionary. I am thrilled to be the new Ethics Special Interest Group chair. This year, we have a wonderful team of leaders who are ready to help build the Ethics SPIG and make it an even more active group. I’d like to tell you about some of our goals for 2009.

First, as most of you are aware, APHA has made some changes to the Forums and SPIGs. As a SPIG, we have two remaining years to get our membership up to 250 so that we qualify as a Forum. This is critical because it will give us access to additional APHA resources, and it’s unclear what will ultimately happen to SPIGs that don’t meet this membership goal. Ethics is a critical and crosscutting component of public health and public health training. It would be tragic if the SPIG didn’t survive. The good news is that the SPIG is in good hands with Kirk Allison as the membership chair and that the change within APHA membership rules allows members to select more than one affiliation. It will be critical to reach out to our APHA colleagues and suggest that they join the Ethics SPIG as a secondary affiliation because these members count towards our goal and more importantly enrich our interdisciplinary nature. One can add up to two secondary affiliations while updating one’s membership profile. For additional details contact Yvonne Kazim ( ), the APHA member services coordinator.

One way to expand our membership feeds into our second goal --  building toward the future by recruiting students to join APHA and the Ethics SPIG . We have had great success with our student panel sessions during the past two years and will continue this “tradition.” The submissions were exceptional in 2008, and student presenters were required to become APHA members. The APHA membership discount for students is significant (only $60 a year!). Attending the Annual Meeting can be overwhelming, but can also lead to great networking. Please encourage your students to submit abstracts to the Annual Meeting ( ) by early February, join APHA with the Ethics SPIG as one of their affiliations ( ), and be creative in the ways you engage your students in the larger ethics community. Note also that the National Bioethics Undergraduate Conference is being held March 13-14  at Harvard . While the abstract deadline has passed, I believe they will still accept late submissions, and they have put together a spectacular program. Additionally, ASBH’s annual meeting is in D.C. from Oct. 15-18 and doesn’t conflict with APHA this year.

Our third goal is well under way. We are working on improving our communication within our own SPIG and with other Forums and SPIGs. To that end, our new Webmaster, Kirk Allison, has updated our Web site . If you haven’t yet, please check it out. You will note on the Web site that our liaison list connecting us to other Forums and SPIGs has grown. If you are a member of another APHA affiliation and would like to serve as a liaison, please let Kirk or me know –- these connections help us plan and co-sponsor sessions at the Annual Meeting. You can also send Kirk information that might be of interest to members such as upcoming conferences, new publications, or resources for students that he can post. E-mail him this information at . And if there is something that you would like to include in the quarterly newsletter, you can e-mail it to our newsletter editor, Sean Philpott, at .

Finally, it’s time to start thinking about our Annual Meeting in November and how we can make our time together in Philadelphia fun, thought-provoking, and rewarding. We are thinking about planning a social event, so if you have a knack or know the Philadelphia area well, please volunteer to be our social coordinator. The theme of this year’s meeting is Water. If this makes you go “huh,” you are not alone. It was my first reaction until I learned that over 1.2 billion people worldwide don’t have access to clean water ( ). If you’re wondering how to tie water to ethics, we have provided you with some resources below to get the wheels spinning. We are always in need of members to volunteer to review abstracts. Last year each reviewer was assigned 3-5 abstracts, so it’s not a major commitment –- you just have to do it by the deadline with minimal reminders. Please volunteer (or request to be removed from this year’s list if you were a reviewer last year and can’t make the commitment this year) by contacting Jennifer Prah Ruger, our 2009 program chair, at

I am looking forward to seeing all that we can accomplish together in 2009,

Andrea Kalfoglou

Ethics SPIG Chair