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 carried out some of the most heinous Nazi war crimes, health professionals today continue to practice during times of war and political conflict. While some work on behalf on authoritarian dictatorial governments to inflict harm, many others work to protect human rights and to treat soldiers and civilians with dignity and respect, even in the most extreme conditions imaginable. These latter health professionals – whether they recognize it or not – have absorbed critical lessons from the Holocaust about the necessary roles of health professionals in wartime.
The 2019 Holocaust Genocide and Contemporary Bioethics (HGCB) program will pay homage to the past while discussing important ethical considerations for health professionals and communities today. How did our core ethical principles of justice, autonomy, beneficence, and non-maleficence grow out of the legacy of health professional involvement in the Holocaust? What is the role of health professionals in human rights law and the international laws of war that arose following World War II? And how should our ethical principles apply today in situations of mass casualties, inadequate facilities, documented human rights violations and scarce supplies? The 2019 HGCB program will address head-on the many ethical challenges faced by health professionals working during times of war and political conflict, including the ethical challenges faced by health professionals and the larger society in meeting the medical needs of refugees, asylum seekers and other displaced persons.
Len Rubenstein, JD, from Johns Hopkins University, is a lawyer and the former Executive Director and President of Physicians for Human Rights, an organization that carries our forensic documentation of war crimes and advocates for the protection of health workers in war zones. Professor Rubenstein has broad knowledge about the origins of human rights laws and the laws of war that arose out of the experiences in WWII.
Zaher Sahloul, MD, is a critical care specialist at Christ Advocate Medical Center in Chicago and 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. Dr. Sahloul is the founder of the American Relief Coalition for Syria, a coalition of 14 US-based
humanitarian organizations working in Syria. He also is a former medical school classmate of Bashar
2019 Program: (Save the Dates)
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.
Support: There are several ways to get involved in our 2019 programming:
For information about donations, contact Michael Tortoro at (303) 724-7618 in the CU Office of Advancement.
Thank you to our founding sponsor, the
William S. Silvers, MD Endowment.