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Eighteenth annual clinical-medical-ethics conference to focus on healthcare reform and decision making

October 20, 2006

The MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago will host its 18th annual conference on Friday and Saturday, November 10 to 11, 2006, at the Max Palevsky theater in Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 E. 59th Street, on the University of Chicago campus. The two-day conference will focus on the chances of meaningful healthcare reform in the near future and will also examine an array of contemporary issues and ethical challenges faced by caregivers and patients.

Day one will feature talks on healthcare reform by Bruce Vladeck, president of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and former head of the Healthcare Financing Administration (now CMS); Ralph Muller, CEO of the University of Pennsylvania Health System and former president of the University of Chicago Hospitals; Dan Brock, director of the Division of Medical Ethics at Harvard; Nancy Kane, professor of health management at Harvard; Matthew Wynia, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago and director of the Institute for Ethics at the American Medical Association; and Jeff Goldsmith, CEO of Health Futures, Inc.

Day two will feature a debate between two renowned healthcare economic theorists--with radically opposed views--on "Fairness and Markets: Should Access to Healthcare be Determined by the Ability to Pay?" One of the nation’s leading and most eloquent authorities on healthcare economics, Uwe Reinhardt, professor of political economy at Princeton, will match wits with Richard Epstein, professor at the University of Chicago Law School and senior fellow in the MacLean Center, one of the most provocative, controversial and influential legal theorists in the U.S. Reinhardt has long been critical of the ability of the marketplace to drive healthcare reform. Epstein, a libertarian, has argued for a hands-off, market-guided approach to healthcare change. Jordan Cohen, President Emeritus of the Association of American Medical Colleges, and newly elected president of the Gold Humanism Foundation, will moderate.

The second day of the conference will also include presentations on a broad range of topics in clinical ethics, including research ethics, genetic testing, and surrogate decision makers. Invited speakers Daniel Sulmasy of New York Medical College and Daniel Brock of Harvard Medical School will be joined by more than 20 former fellows who studied medical ethics at the MacLean Center and return each year to share current projects.

Although there is no fee for this conference, the organizers ask that attendees register online before October 27, 2006, at For more information, contact Lindsay Owens at (773) 834-3439 or by email at

MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics Conference Schedule

Friday, November 10: Healthcare Reform

  • 1:00-4:30 Panel: Is the United States Ready for Healthcare Reform?
  • 1:00 Chair: Mark Siegler, University of Chicago
  • 1:10 Dan Brock, Frances Glessner Lee Professor of Medical Ethics and Director of the Division of Medical Ethics, Harvard University, Some Obstacles and Opportunities for Healthcare Reform
  • 1:30 Bruce Vladeck, President, the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Just Do It: Why Going to Conferences Isn't Going to Bring Us Health Reform
  • 1:50 Matt Wynia, The American Medical Association, Playing Fair: The Role of Ethics in Employers’ Health Benefits
  • 2:45 Nancy Kane, Professor of Health Management, Harvard School of Public Health, Challenges Facing State Implementation of Universal Insurance Coverage: The Maine and Massachusetts Experience to Date
  • 3:05 Ralph Muller, Chief Executive Officer, University of Pennsylvania Health System, Money Isn't Everything: Transforming Healthcare
  • 3:25 Jeff Goldsmith, Chief Executive Officer, Health Futures, Inc., What Can Hillary Teach us about Health Reform?
  • 3:45 Panel Discussion and Audience Q & A

Saturday, November 11: Clinical Ethics

  • 8:00-10:00 Panel: Medical Ethics Research: What is it and Does it Improve Patient Care?
  • 8:00 Chair: John Lantos, University of Chicago
  • 8:05 Daniel Sulmasy, Director, Bioethics Institute, New York Medical College, The Many Methods of Medical Ethics Research
  • 8:25 Peter Ubel, University of Michigan, I Can Define Medical Ethics Research, but I Don’t Know When I’m Seeing It!
  • 8:40 David Meltzer, University of Chicago, Why Do Medical Ethicists Have So Little to Say in the Debate about Rationing Healthcare?
  • 8:55 Anup Malani, University of Chicago, The Ethics of Placebo Treatment
  • 9:10 Eric Kodish, Cleveland Clinic, Medical Ethics Research to Improve Informed Consent: The MUISIC Story
  • 9:25 Panel Discussion and Audience Q & A
  • 10:30-12:30 A Debate on US Healthcare Reform, Uwe Reinhardt-vs-Richard Epstein. Fairness and Markets: Should Access to Healthcare Be Determined by the Ability to Pay?
  • 10:30 Moderator: Jordan Cohen, AAMC
  • 10:40 Uwe Reinhardt, James Madison Professor of Political Economy, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University
  • 11:10 Richard Epstein, James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor in the Law School, the University of Chicago
  • 11:40 Rebuttal: Uwe Reinhardt
  • 11:50 Rebuttal: Richard Epstein
  • 12:00 Audience Q & A
  • 1:30-3:15 Panel: Surrogate Decision Making: A Key Unresolved Problem in American Medical Ethics
  • 1:30 Chair: Lainie Ross, University of Chicago
  • 1:35 Dan Brock, Harvard Medical School, Surrogate Decision Making—Have We Got it Right?
  • 1:55 Alexia Torke, University of Chicago, The Doctor-Surrogate Relationship: A New Model
  • 2:15 Dan Brudney, University of Chicago, A Philosopher’s Reflections on the Problems of Surrogacy
  • 2:35 Daniel Brauner, University of Chicago, An Alternative Model for Surrogacy in Patients with Dementia
  • 2:55 Panel Discussion and Audience Q & A
  • 3:15-4:45 Selected Abstracts, Co-Chairs: Daniel Sulmasy, New York Medical College and Dan Brock, Harvard Medical School
  • 3:15 Megan Crowley-Matoka, University of Pittsburgh, Pain: The Great Unresolved Ethical Challenge
  • 3:30 Angela Bradbury, University of Chicago, Parental Disclosure of BRCA Test Results to Young Adult and Minor Offspring
  • 3:45 retchen Schwarze, University of Wisconsin, Sometimes You Are Just the Pizza Man: The Doctor as Interventionalist
  • 4:00 Susan Tolle, Oregon Health Sciences University, Community-Based Strategies to Improve Quality of End of Life Care
  • 4:15 Ellen Fox, Department of Veterans Affairs, Central Office, ECWEb: An Innovative Software Tool for Ethics Consultations
  • 4:30 Elbert Huang, University of Chicago, The Burden of Life with Comprehensive Diabetes Care

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