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Holocaust Genocide and Contemporary Bioethics Program - 2019

Bioethics in a Violent World:  Health Professionals in
Times of War, Genocide, and Political Conflict​​

Nearly 80 years after German physicians and other health professionals were complicit in Nazi war crimes, health professionals continue to practice during times of war and political conflict.  While some work on behalf on authoritarian dictatorial governments to inflict harm, others work to treat soldiers and civilians through the most extreme conditions imaginable.  It is the mission of the CU Center for Bioethics and Humanities Holocaust Genocide and Contemporary Bioethics (HGCB) program to “inspire and guide health professionals to practice with competence, compassion, respect and justice, and to always uphold our duty to protect patients.”  

The 2019 HGCB program will pay homage to the past while discussing contemporary ethical considerations for health professionals and communities today.  How do the principles of justice, autonomy, beneficence, and non-maleficence apply in situations of mass casualties, inadequate facilities, documented human rights violations, and scarce supplies?  This program will address the ethical challenges faced by health professionals working during times of war and political conflict as well as ethical challenges faced by health professionals working with refugees and displaced persons, exploring lessons learned from the Holocaust through the challenges facing health professionals today in the fall out of contemporary war crimes and political violence.​

Featured Speakers:

Len Rubenstein, JD​, from Johns Hopkins, a lawyer who has worked on human rights issues and has broad knowledge about the experiences of health professionals during times of war and conflict, beginning with WWII.  

Zaher Sahloul, MD​, is a critical care specialist at Christ Advocate Medical Center in Chicago. Dr. Sahloul is the immediate past president of and a senior advisor to the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), a humanitarian and advocacy organization that provides medical relief to Syrians and Syrian refugees. Sahloul also is the founder of the American Relief Coalition for Syria, a coalition of 14 US-based humanitarian organizations working in Syria.Dr. Sahloul is also a former medical school classmate of Bashar al-Alssad.

2019 Program: (Save the Dates)

April 29th    Colorado Law at CU Boulder: Noon presentation with Len Rubenstein and Zaher Sahloul.
April 29th    Program in Jewish Studies at CU Boulder: Evening event with Rubenstein and Sahloul.
April 30th    Anschutz Medical Campus Evening presentation with Len Rubenstein and Zaher Sahloul.
May 1st       Anschutz Medical Campus: Noon Grand Rounds with Len Rubenstein and Zaher Sahloul.
May 2nd      CU Colorado Springs Campus: Noon presentation with Matthew Wynia and local experts.
May 3rd       CU Downtown Denver Campus:  Noon presentation with Matthew Wynia and local experts.


2018 Program; Echoes of the Holocaust: Cultivating Compassion in 21st Century Healers​
2017 Program; Commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the Nuremberg Doctors' Trial
2016 Inaugural Program; featuring Art Caplan, PhD​

AMC Interprofessional Student Case-Writing Contest​​:

​Students are invited to author a short case scenario of an ethical issue that might be faced in the health professions. This first competition is inspired by the Deadly Medicine exhibit, and the case should explore an ethical topic related to lessons learned from the legacy of health professionals’ voluntary involvement in the WWII Genocides / Holocaust. First prize is $600 to the winning team.  Download flyer​ or click for details​​>>​​

Support:  There are several ways to get involved in our 2019 programming:

  • Donate​ to the William S. Silvers, MD, Holocaust Genocide Contemporary Bioethics Program Fund
    to support current programming and ensure the future of this program.

  • Join our Planning Committee to help develop future events.
For information about donations, contact Allison.Krebs​ at 303-724-8227 at the CU Office of Advancement.​​

Thank you to our founding sponsor, the
William S. Silvers, MD Endowment.