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Volume XIV, 2023

Editor-in-Chief: Nikhil Ramavenkat. Editors: Anjana Ramesh, Heather O’Donnell, Mallika Ravi, Pavan Patel, and Khushi Arora. This year’s theme for our Journal is “The Ethical and Social Impacts in Medical Decision Making,”, where our authors touch upon a wide-range of bioethical concerns such as professionalism in medicine, infant circumcision, and genome editing.

This year’s theme for our Journal is “The Ethical and Social Impacts in Medical Decision Making,”, where our authors touch upon a wide-range of bioethical concerns such as professionalism in medicine, infant circumcision, and genome editing. Heather O’Donnell opens this volume with an ethical discussion of newborn bloodspot screening, while Astha Adroja examines the importance processing death, for both patients and their families. Next, Gregory Eastwood advocates for a medical education that centers around teaching virtuous ethical behavior. Chinmayi Balusu and Alyssa Sales argue that the use of fMRIs for forensic purposes have nuanced ethical concerns and should be further evaluated. Given the COVID-19 pandemic’s continuing impact on people’s lives, Gianna Strand raises awareness towards public health messaging and recommends a multifaceted approach that promotes social justice. Jacklyn Crabbe also emphasizes the latter approach in their discussion of the racial inequities present in the physician-patient relationship. Christopher Scott et. al., discusses the nuances of human genome editing and its permissibility in the emerging world of biotechnology. Lastly, Desmond Weisenberg argues for a moral re-evaluation of infant circumcision and the need to consider cultural, biological, and social integrity. Ultimately, all these pieces emphasize the way in which bioethics can shape moral and ethical ideas and can help to critically evaluate previous beliefs.


Ethical Implications of Newborn Bloodspot Screening

By Heather O’Donnell.

Behavior-Based Teaching of Ethics and Professionalism: What Would Aristotle Do?

By Gregory L. Eastwood.

Can Forensic Neuroimaging Be Ethical?

By Chinmayi Balusu and Alyssa Sales.

The Hippocratic Oath’s Repetitive Neglect of Black Women

By Jacklyn Crabbe.


The Healthy Death: Processing Mortality and Healthcare’s Influence on Patients’ Death Acceptance

By Astha Adroja.

Expert’s Insights and Foresight on Human Genome Editing

By Christopher T. Scott, Dorit Barlevy, Stephanie Morain, Haley Manley, John P Nelson,
Lauren Lambert, and Cynthia Selin.

The rapid pace of research and development of human genome editing (HGE) raises significant ethical, legal, and social challenges. As part of a study that aims to propose governance policies that anticipate and address these challenges, we interviewed 30 experts from various disciplines to solicit their insights on the current status of HGE and its plausible futures. Interviews explore a range of themes encompassing technology, ethics, economics, perceptions of the sociocultural environment, and governance. Expert opinions converge around the need to improve the technology’s safety and efficacy, the effects of commercial interests in the research and development of HGE, and the importance of soliciting publics’ input. Expert opinions diverge concerning general attitude towards HGE, the permissibility of germline editing, the effects of HGE on healthcare systems, the usefulness of the therapy-enhancement distinction, and whether scientists should self-govern their HGE use. Experts also note current mechanisms for HGE governance and suggest novel means. Our discussion
situates these insights in the greater historical context of emerging biotechnologies.

More Than Misinformation: Recognizing Stigma in COVID Policy Messaging

By Gianna R. Strand.

The COVID pandemic brought with it the need to quickly create and implement new public policies during a viral health crisis. Federal and local governments scrambled to incorporate existing communicable disease control measures with emerging information about the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus to prevent outbreaks. Private organizations also issued their own guidelines frequently without collaboration from trusted officials or experts. The resultant mix was often ineffective at achieving public health benefit but most concerningly was unethical in its unchecked conveyance of stigmatizing health messaging against vulnerable social groups. Bioethics can contribute to discourse in this space by supporting evidence-based interventions, centering discussions about what is important to individuals during a health crisis, and advocating for policy that reduces rather than reinforces the burdens of health behavior messaging.

Why Non-Therapeutic Infant Circumcision Is Unethical

By Desmond Weisenberg.

RJB 2023_______________________________________________________________________________________________