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Advisory: Talking bioethics: From stem cell research to end-of-life decisions

April 24, 2009

To increase public discussion of bioethics in medicine and research, Wake Forest University will bring together communication scholars, bioethics scholars, scientists and others for the “Bioethics, Moral Argument and Social Responsibility” conference April 27 and 28.   

From stem cell research to genetic testing to end-of-life decisions, the speakers will address biomedical topics and engage a broad public audience in discussion of the ethical and public policy controversies surrounding them. Among the panelists are two representatives from the President’s Council on Bioethics. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Sessions will take place in Carswell Hall’s Annenberg Forum on the Wake Forest campus.

Nancy M. P. King, professor of social sciences and health policy at the Wake Forest School of Medicine and co-director of Wake Forest’s newly-established graduate program in bioethics, and Michael Hyde, University Distinguished Chair in Communication Ethics, planned the event.

“The conference brings together those who have a voice in the debate right now and experts who have national and international reputations,” said Hyde. “Biotechnology, more than anything else, is going to change what it means to be a human being. That is what is so scary and so wonderful about it.”  

Sessions will include “Human Nature and Human Dignity,” “The Role of the Media in the Bioethics Debate” and “The Language of Genetics and Moral Authority” and several others.  The concluding session at 12:45 p.m. April 28 will feature community leaders such as the mayor of Clemmons, the senior pastor at First Assembly of God in Winston-Salem and representatives from the Forsyth Aging Project and the Community Partnership for End-of-Life Care.

Contact the News Service to arrange interviews with the speakers, including Rebecca Dresser, who serves on President Obama’s Bioethics Council, and Carl Elliott, author of  “Better than Well:  American Medicine Meets the American Dream,” a recent book focused on ethical issues associated with “enhancement technologies” such as Prozac, Viagra and Botox.

The complete schedule is available at

Press Contacts:

Cheryl Walker
(336) 758-5237

Kevin Cox
(336) 758-5237

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