Human rights, bioethics and immigration will be among the topics discussed when the Center for Human Dignity in Bioethics, Health and the Holocaust at Misericordia University hosts the second annual "Commitment to Preserve Human Dignity in Health Care" program on Monday, Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. in Lemmond Theater in Walsh Hall. The program is free and open to the public.
The event commemorates International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan. 27. The schedule includes a candle lighting ceremony and a moment of silence to honor the victims of the Holocaust – the only example of medically sanctioned genocide and other instances of human rights abuses in the world.
J. Wesley Boyd, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, will deliver the keynote address, "The Case for Keeping Our Borders Open to Immigrants." He will address understanding national law and international covenants pertaining to immigration, asylum and human rights, and data about immigrants in the U.S., including the likelihood of immigrants committing crimes and their employment status. A staff psychiatrist at Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) and the co-founder and co-director of the Global Health and Human Rights Clinic at CHA, Dr. Boyd also will address the demographic characteristics and psychological conditions of people seen in the asylum clinic at CHA.
Dr. Boyd received his Ph.D. in religion and culture and a medical degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He completed his psychiatry residency at Cambridge Hospital and a medical ethics fellowship at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Boyd teaches bioethics, human rights and psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and a course in the humanities at Harvard College. He writes on issues of health care justice, addiction, medical education, and human rights. His book, "Almost Addicted: Is My (or My Loved One's) Drug Use a Problem?," was published in 2012 and won the Will Solimene Award for Excellence by the American Medical Writers' Association.
A highlight of the program is the second annual Pledge to Preserve Human Dignity in Health Care ceremony. Everyone will be invited to pledge 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; the Department of Bioethics and the Holocaust of the UNESCO Chair of Bioethics in Haifa, Israel; the Northeast Pennsylvania Ethics Institute at Misericordia University, and the Misericordia University Medical and Health Humanities Program.
Eva Moses Kor, a survivor of the infamous twin experiments of Dr. Josef Mengele during the Holocaust, was among the first signers of the pledge. Concerned citizens and medical professionals in more than 50 countries also have signed the pledge. Most recently, attendees at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's 13th World Conference on Bioethics, Medical Ethics, and Health Law held in Israel learned about the pledge. At that time, citizens of India, Cyprus, Inner Mongolia, Nepal, Mauritius, Botswana and Zambia were among those who added their names. Anyone wishing to sign the online pledge can go to http://bit.ly/dignitypledge.
Continuing Education Unit certificates will be awarded to program attendees in the following fields who meet the criteria for certification, including occupational therapy, social work and Pennsylvania Certified Teachers, who can submit certificates to their employers for consideration of awarding Act 48 credits. In addition, the program has been submitted to the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association (PSNA) for approval to award 1.5 contact hours. PSNA is accredited as an approver of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.
Stacy Gallin, D.M.H., director of the Center for Human Dignity in Bioethics, Health and the Holocaust at Misericordia University, is known internationally for her work as the director of the Maimonides Institute and co-chair of the UNESCO Department of Bioethics and the Holocaust in Haifa, Israel.
"Over the past year, we have garnered the support of representatives from more than 50 countries and successfully started a movement that aims to prevent medically-sanctioned atrocities, such as the Holocaust, from ever happening again," said Dr. Gallin. "We are asking people to reflect upon what took place during the Holocaust, and take a stand so it does not happen again."
Founded in 2017, the Center for Human Dignity in Bioethics, Health and the Holocaust at Misericordia University is the only academic center of its kind in the U.S. It fosters a deeper understanding of medical practices and their ethical ramifications, set against the backdrop of the Holocaust, and builds on the teachings offered in Misericordia University's Medical and Health Humanities Program.
For more information about the Center for Human Dignity or the pledge, please contact Dr. Gallin at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.misericordia.edu/humandignity.