Future Perfect: What is Fair?

September 25, 2007

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Debates are raging today about stem cell research, about the ethics of genetic research, and about how we make policies on scientific research in a pluralistic society. What is the responsibility of the government to support research that has the potential to cure disease, but is also ethically problematic for a large portion of our polity?  If government does not support genetic research and it moves to the private sector, how can we ensure that this research will be accessible to all?

Vanessa Northington Gamble, M.D., Ph.D., is Director of the Tuskegee University National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care.

Maria Finitzo, is a filmaker and will be presenting film excerpts from her documentary Terra Incognita: The Promise and Perils of Stem Cell Research.

Lainie Friedman Ross, M.D., Ph.D. is Carolyn and Matthew Bucksbaum Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Medicine and Section Chief of Community Health Sciences at the Institute for Molecular Pediatric Sciences, and Associate Director of the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics.

Dorothy Roberts, J.D. is the Kirkland & Ellis Professor at Northwestern University School of Law, and Faculty Fellow at the Institute for Policy Research.

There is a scientific revolution taking place that has the potential to change American society in profound ways. Advances in genetics hold much promise for combating disease, feeding more people, and generally improving our quality of life. Yet, these new sciences and technologies draw criticism and evoke fears. In the next decade, major decisions about genetics will be made. This town hall meeting begins a robust civic conversation about the ethics and implications of advances in genetic science.  Leading authorities in genetic medicine, bioethics, social thought, and the arts engage the audience in an exploration of the issues and the science that are affecting public and private life.

 

Recorded Tuesday, September 25, 2007 at DuSable Museum of African American History.