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Undergraduate Bioethics Conference to Focus on Global Health, Environment

Samuel Dowling

Samuel Dowling (C'13) co-leads the Undergraduate Bioethics Society, which is organizing and hosting the first National Undergraduate Bioethics Conference at Georgetown.

April 2, 2013 – The 15th National Undergraduate Bioethics Conference (NUBC), which includes a Bioethics Bowl Competition, will be held at Georgetown for the first time April 5-7.

The theme of the conference is “Bioethics: Intersections in Global Health and Environmental.”

Members of Georgetown’s Kennedy Institute of Ethics have advised student leaders of the university’s Undergraduate Bioethics Society, which is organizing and hosting the event.

“We selected the theme,” says Samuel Dowling (C’13), “which draws on Georgetown’s interdisciplinary nature and strengths in the field of global health and environmental policy.”


Showcasing Faculty Experts

The undergraduate group formed in 2010, when students wrote a bid proposal to host the conference at Georgetown and were awarded the 2013 NUBC.

“Each year students and experts from around the country gather for guest speakers, student debates, and student essay contests at the host university,” says Dowling, who co-leads the Undergraduate Bioethics Society with Jessica Alpert (C’14). “We are very excited to bring the NUBC to Georgetown to showcase the community's faculty experts and resources.

Faculty from the Kennedy Institute, the Georgetown Public Policy Institute (GPPI), the Georgetown University Medical Center, the Science in the Public Interest Program (SPI) and the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health are contributing their expertise to the conference.

Engaging Ethics

Dowling says Georgetown’s Environment Initiative and the university’s capital campaign “highlight our commitment as student planners to undergraduate leadership, scholarship and research.”

The conference includes a career luncheon and policymaking “tool-belt” and breakout sessions.

“This is essentially a primer for how to draft successful policy and engage ethics with real-world problems,” he says of the tool-belt session, which includes Georgetown faculty from GPPI, SPI and the O’Neill Institute.  

Dowling plans to pursue an M.D./Ph.D Medical Scientist Training Program at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine following graduation from Georgetown.

Keynotes and Cases

Case studies that students will debate during the Bioethics Bowl Competition include everything from what moral actions should be required involving a new flu-like illness in Africa to whether a pharmaceutical company was justified in taking advantage of an epidemic to test its drug on children.

Georgetown is one of 16 universities participating in the competition.

The keynote speakers for the conference are Daniel Wikler, a professor of population ethics at the Harvard School of Public Health and Madison Powers, a Georgetown philosophy professor and senior research scholar at the Kennedy Institute.

For more information, visit the 2013 NUBC schedule website.


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