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St Mary's Bioethics Masters at World Congress of Bioethics

The MA Bioethics and Medical Law Programme at St Mary’s University, Twickenham attended the recent International Association of Bioethics 14th World Congress of Bioethics held in Edinburgh in June. Programme Director Dr Trevor Stammers together with Centre for Bioethics and Emerging Technologies Research Associate Matt James, were promoting the Masters in Bioethics and Medical Law throughout the entire three day conference. St Mary’s also contributed to the conference in several other ways.  Dr Stammers and Prof David Jones who started the MA programme in 2004, were two of the panelists for the post screening discussion of the Meryl Steep and Jeff Bridges film “The Giver” at the Edinburgh Film House as the Edinburgh Bioethics Film Festival had been moved from its usual autumn slot to coincide with the world congress this year. The film raised many questions about the relationship between suffering and what it means to be truly human. Prof Jones also had a poster contribution in the Exhibition Hall on conscientious objection of health care professionals to controversial medical procedures and Dr Stammers presented a paper in the Arts and Ethics conference stream on poetry in bioethics education using Scottish poet, Robin Roberson’s brilliant poem “Lithium” to illustrate his point. Not only does the poem give profound insight in the desperate mindset of the suicidal patient, it also raises many bioethical questions about the treatment and care (or lack of it) of the mentally ill. Prof Calum MacKellar, another regular lecturer on the MA course, was also at the conference promoting the work of the Scottish Council for Human Bioethics and the new edition in paperback of his latest book The Ethics of the New Eugenics. Prof MacKellar will be returning to St Mary’s in the autumn to lecture at a day conference on the topic as part of the Master’s programme. On returning from the conference Dr Stammers said, “It was a key event for updating on current challenges across the globe in medical ethics and important for St Mary’s to be there to contribute to the discussion.”

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