On January 29, 2018, the Maimonides Institute for Medicine, Ethics and the Holocaust, The Center for Human Dignity in Bioethics, Medicine, and Health at Misericordia University, CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center (founded by Holocaust survivor Eva Mozes Kor), and the Department of Bioethics and the Holocaust of the UNESCO Chair of Bioethics (Haifa) launched an international movement to preserve human dignity in health care. This full day event held at Misericordia University included lectures by internationally renowned scholars Dr. Susan Miller and Dr. Tessa Chelouche, as well as an interfaith candle-lighting ceremony commemorating the victims of the Holocaust and other instances of abuse perpetrated by the medical community. The featured event was the launch of the Pledge to Preserve Human Dignity in Health Care, a document which reaffirms our societal commitment to keeping the ethical principles of equality, justice, and dignity at the forefront of health care. Hundreds of people from over 20 states and 8 countries have signed the document.
View the Pledge to Preserve Human Dignity in Health Care
The Center for Human Dignity in Bioethics, Medicine and Health at Misericordia University invites all interested people to the inaugural "Commitment to Preserve Human Dignity in Health Care" event on Monday, Jan. 29 from 5-6:30 p.m. in Lemmond Theater in Walsh Hall.
The highlight of the program is a first-of-its-kind interactive ceremony to Pledge to Preserve Human Dignity in Health Care. Everyone in attendance will be invited to promise to "uphold the values of dignity, equality and justice within health care." Those taking the pledge will receive a pin they can wear to show their respect for the dignity of all patients.
Program sponsors include the Maimonides Institute for Medicine, Ethics and the Holocaust in New Jersey; the Department of Bioethics and the Holocaust of the UNESCO Chair of Bioethics located in Israel; the CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center founded by Holocaust survivor Eva Mozes Kor and located in Indiana; the Ethics Institute of Northeastern Pennsylvania at Misericordia University; and the Medical Health and Humanities program at Misericordia University.
The program includes an ecumenical candle lighting ceremony with representatives of numerous religious traditions to honor victims of medical science, and presentations about medical science and bioethics by two internationally known speakers. The events are timed to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan. 27. Additional information about the program's schedule is available at https://www.misericordia.edu/page.cfm?p=2336.
"Our program will serve as the start of a movement that aims to reach everyone throughout the world, both those within the health care profession and others," said Stacy Gallin, D.M.H., director of the Center for Human Dignity in Bioethics, Medicine and Health at Misericordia University. "We are asking them to reflect upon what took place during the Holocaust, what has continued to take place, and vow to use those lessons to reaffirm a societal commitment to preserving human dignity in health care around the world.
"To protect the future, we must learn from the past. It is our hope that universities around the world will join us in having students sign the newly developed 'Pledge to Preserve Human Dignity,' much like doctors and nurses do at their white coat and pinning ceremonies," added Gallin, who is known internationally for her work as the director of the Maimonides Institute.
David Rehm, Ph.D., vice president of Academic Affairs at Misericordia, echoes Gallin's comments. "The scholarly literature on medical science has, since at least the 1980s, called for an annual commemoration to reflect upon the responsibilities and challenges of the medical profession. Misericordia is taking the bold step of putting into action this recommendation. We are proud to be hosting this event," he stated.
"These events are the first in a series of programs that will be held in conjunction with the UNESCO Chair of Bioethics and CANDLES to grow the 'Movement to Preserve Human Dignity in Health Care' through various other like-minded national and international organizations," added Gallin. "Being able to hear from two of the most recognized speakers in the world on bioethics will make for a very special launch to the movement."
Tessa Chelouche, M.D., the director of primary care medical practices at Tel Aviv University, an internationally recognized speaker on the subject of medicine and the Holocaust, will serve as keynote speaker. She will present the talk, "Reflecting on the Past to Protect the Future: Medical Ethics and Human Dignity after the Holocaust."
A native of South Africa, Dr. Chelouche immigrated to Israel in 1977, where she practices as a family physician. She graduated from the Sackler School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University Medical School in 1984. Dr. Chelouche teaches family medicine residents for the Tel Aviv University Family Medicine Program. For the past 17 years, she has been teaching and lecturing on the subject of medicine and the Holocaust. Dr. Chelouche has published numerous articles in international medical and law peer-reviewed journals, and has presented at international conferences and medical schools.
In 2013, Dr. Chelouche co-edited the "Casebook on Bioethics and the Holocaust," which was published under the auspices of UNESCO Chair in Bioethics in Israel. She is affiliated with The International Center for Medicine, Law and Ethics at Haifa University. Dr. Chelouche has been the co-director of the Maimonides Institute for Medicine, Ethics and the Holocaust since its inception in 2015. In 2017, she and Dr. Gallin co-founded the Department for Medicine and the Holocaust as part of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics, Haifa.
In addition, Susan M. Miller, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.P., F.A.A.F.P., will attend the pledge event and will present the address, "Medical Experimentation during and after WWII," at a Bring-Your-Own-Lunch lecture at noon in Huntzinger and Alden Trust rooms 218-219 of Sandy and Marlene Insalaco Hall. Both events are free and open to the public. Dr. Miller is the John S. Dunn, Senior Research Chair in General Internal Medicine at the Houston Methodist Research Institute.
Dr. Miller is an associate professor at Weill Medical College, Cornell University. She is a professor in the Department of Family Medicine and a professor of clinical medicine at the Institute of Academic Medicine, Houston Methodist Research Institute. She also serves as the deputy chief in the Department of Family Medicine at The Methodist Hospital. Dr. Miller is currently the senior chair of the Institutional Review Board of the Methodist Hospital Research Institute and is the director of the Chao Program for International Research Ethics.
Dr. Miller has provided consultation work to health care institutions in Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, Cameroon, the Philippines, South Korea, and Monterrey. She is a board member for the Center for Medicine After the Holocaust in Houston and the Maimonides Institute for Medicine, Ethics and the Holocaust. She is a co-founder of the Center for Medicine after the Holocaust-Ukraine, where she is also a board member of the Scientific Council of the Informational Center of Bioethics – Ukraine.
The Center for Human Dignity in Bioethics, Medicine and Health at Misericordia University was established in September. The center fosters the study of medical ethics and the boundaries of medical research practices, and builds on the teachings offered in the university's Medical and Health Humanities Program.
For more information about the center or the pledge program, please contact Stacy Gallin at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.misericordia.edu/humandignity.