October 26, 2007
GREENWALL FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM IN BIOETHICS AND HEALTH POLICY Johns Hopkins and Georgetown Universities Fellowships The Greenwall Fellowship Program in Bioethics and Health Policy, an interdisciplinary program sponsored jointly by Johns Hopkins and Georgetown Universities, is offering interdisciplinary, two-year Fellowships for early-career legal scholars with outstanding potential. Appointments will begin in September 2008.
FELLOWSHIP DESCRIPTION: The Greenwall Fellowship in Law uniquely combines opportunities for in-depth, mentored research and high- impact public service. Each Fellow will undertake an individualized program of independent research and writing, complemented by a public-service experience in a health policy setting of the Fellow's choosing. Fellows will also enjoy ample opportunity for scholarly interaction (including participation in faculty research workshops) with a broad range of faculty at Georgetown (in the Law Center, the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, and the Philosophy Department) and at Johns Hopkins (in the Berman Institute of Bioethics, the Philosophy Department, the School of Medicine, and the Bloomberg School of Public Health), as well as with scholars at leading Washington "think tanks." Past Fellows have moved on to faculty appointments at leading law schools, as well as high-profile positions in government (including a White House Fellowship and Congressional staff positions). The stipend will be approximately $57,000 per year. No prior health law or bioethics experience is required.
APPLICATION PROCEDURE: For consideration, please send a curriculum vitae, three letters of reference, a writing sample, undergraduate and graduate transcripts, and a personal statement to:
CONTACT: Dr. Ruth Faden Greenwall Fellowship Program c/o Berman Institute of Bioethics Johns Hopkins University 100 N. Charles St., Suite 740 Baltimore, MD 21201 The personal statement should include a proposed agenda for scholarship or research (this need not be detailed, but you should articulate the core idea you would like to develop or the research question you want to investigate). It should also address: (1) unique dimensions of your background, (2) the evolution of your research and other professional interests, and (3) how the Greenwall Fellowship might contribute to your ability to fulfill your career aspirations. The deadline for receipt of applications is December 14, 2007.
For further information, please visit the Academic Training section of: http://www.bioethicsinstitute.org Additional questions may be addressed to: Email: MAILTO:email@example.com
Revised SCHIP Passes House but not by a Veto-Proof Majority
ThinkProgress reports on the House passage of a revised SCHIP bill. It reports on yesterday's vote:
The House just voted 265-142 to approve revised SCHIP expansion legislation, but fell short of the two-thirds needed to uphold a veto by President Bush. Twenty-seven members didn’t vote. The bill would “add $35 billionto the State Children’s Health Insurance Program” and “addressed critics’ concerns about participation by adults, illegal immigrants and families able to afford health insurance.”
NPR's Morning Edition has further commentary.
October 25, 2007
Revised SCHIP Vote Today
Firedoglake has the news on the revised SCHIP vote occurring in the House:
Last night Speaker Pelosi announced she would bring a slightly revised SCHIP funding bill to the House floor for a vote — today. The revised bill still provides $35 billion in additional funds and health coverage for 10 million children, but it makes a few changes to counter the Bush Administration’s misrepresentations and opponent’s alleged concerns.
As Pelosi promised last week, the plan is to enact the full SCHIP funding again, and if the President is foolish and heartless enough to veto it again, attempt another override, with the opposition having even fewer excuses to vote no. This type of strategy is exactly what many progressives have been hoping from the Democratic leadership when they know the public is solidly behind them against an out-of-touch, unpopular President. It’s not just good politics; it’s good public policy, because this program deserves passage and has the overwhelming support of the American people.
The changes include clarification that coverage does not extend to families with annual incomes at $83,000 (a confusion left over from New York’s request that the Administration had already denied); it apparently won’t cover those not legally in the US for five years; and it further limits coverage for adults who do not have covered children.
Job Opportunity: Assistant or Associate Professor of Law and Public Health
Harvard School of Public Health Department of Health Policy and Management seeks
Assistant or Associate Professor of Law and Public Health
The Department of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard School of Public Health seeks candidates for the position of assistant or associate professor of law and public health. This is a tenure-ladder position, with the academic rank to be determined in accordance with the successful candidate’s experience and productivity. The successful candidate will play a central role in the department’s program of teaching and research.
Candidates should possess the following qualifications: a law degree and a doctoral degree in health policy (or a related social science discipline) preferred, but candidates with an MD or MPH and evidence of advanced quantitative research skills will be considered; a broad knowledge of legal issues in health care and public health policy and of ethics; and experience in conducting empirical research employing statistical and econometric methods. Additional qualifications include evidence of the ability or the potential to manage national and international projects, to collaborate with professionals in other disciplines, and to teach health law at the graduate level.
Please send a letter of application, including a statement of current and future research interests, curriculum vitae, sample publications, and the names of three referees to the following address. Applicants should ask their three referees to write independently to this address.
Chair, Search Committee for Law and Public Health
c/o Mindy Starmer, Search Administrator
Department of Health Policy and Management
Harvard School of Public Health
677 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
Harvard University is committed to increasing representation of women and minority members among its faculty, and particularly encourages applications from such candidates.
Health Benefits to Global Warming
Thinkprogress provides more information on the administration's response to its censoring of CDC director's Dr. Julie Gerberding's global warming health remarks. Here is a brief excerpt from the White House Press Secretary Dana Perino:
In her press briefing yesterday, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino responded to reports that the White House “eviscerated” Center for Disease Control director Dr. Julie Gerberding’s Senate testimony on the “Human Impacts of Global Warming.” She claimed that “the decision” was “to focus that testimony on public health benefits” of climate change.” “There are public health benefits to climate change,” asserted Perino.
Asked to explain what some of those benefits are, Perino said that climate change “would help those individuals” who die from cold-related deaths every winter“:
Q: And one more. You mentioned that there are health benefits to climate change. Could you describe some of those?
MS. PERINO: Sure. In some cases, there are — look, this is an issue where I’m sure lots of people would love to ridicule me when I say this, but it is true that many people die from cold-related deaths every winter. And there are studies that say that climate change in certain areas of the world would help those individuals. There are also concerns that it would increase tropical diseases and that’s — again, I’m not an expert in that, I’m going to let Julie Gerberding testify in regards to that, but there are many studies about this that you can look into.
Science Progress has the unredacted version of Dr. Gerberding's remarks.
October 24, 2007
Huckabee on Health Care
TalkLeft gives us the money quote from Presidential candidate Michael Huckabee on Health Care:
During the Republican debate last night, after attacking Hillary, contender Mike Huckabee had this to say:
"We don't have a health care system. We have a health care maze. And we don't have a health care crisis. We have a health crisis. Eighty percent of the $2 trillion we spend on health care in this country is spent on chronic disease. If we don't change the health of this nation by focusing on prevention, we're never going to catch up with the costs no matter what plan we have. ... And we've got a situation with 10,000 baby boomers a day signing up for Social Security, going into the Medicare system. And I just want to remind everybody when all the old hippies find out that they get free drugs, just wait until what that's going to cost out there."
Treatment of the Obese
Something similar is visible on many discussions about health issues. An illness is seen as “deserved” if the patient ever engaged in any activity which is now known to be correlated with that illness, and the illness itself is now viewed as punishment for evil deeds. Illness becomes a moral condition and the search for its epidemiology becomes a court case where the jury looks for that one decision where the patient went wrong, the one sin for which the current pain and suffering might be a just punishment.
In some ways we have stepped out of the framework where illnesses were caused by demons and into the scientifically medical one. But in other ways we have brought those demons with us, transformed into a different type of an ethical judgment or into a search of a different type of causal explanation, and that little hidden demon is what allows us now to judge other people without feeling any embarrassment over doing so. After all, if medical science tells us that some patients “caused” their own illnesses, then it is simply natural that we, too, point out that causal mechanism in all sorts of daily interactions.
Amanda at Pandagon adds,
This kind of discourse on illness is on the rise lately, because conservatives who are opposed to universal health care are rapidly trying to redefine pretty much all illness as a matter of personal responsibility to avoid taking collective responsibility for the health and well-being of citizens. Even the horrible and surely unintended car accident of the Frost family became an attempt to talk about “responsibility”, as if all misfortune could be attributed to a failure of will. . . . .
This pity-then-acceptance curve puts fat activists in a quandary, because it’s widely accepted that being fat is in fact something you can help and therefore the onus is on the fat people to lose weight and not on the rest of us to treat them with decency. And understanding the arch of pity-to-acceptance, fat activists have put a lot of work into arguing that dieting doesn’t work, and that obesity is genetic. That tactic might work, but then again, it might not. One issue that’s going to keep coming up is that people successfully lose and keep off 10, 15, 20 pounds all the time, and erroneously think that a 20 pound loss for me can means a 150 pound loss for you. If you can disabuse people of that notion, then quite possibly the pity-than-acceptance route might work for fat activists.
October 23, 2007
Fred Thompson and Right-to-Die
ABC news reports on Senator Fred Thompson's view on the "right-to-die." He doesn't believe that state or federal government should be involved in the end-of-life decisions that a family may have to make.
In a moving, pointed and rare response to a question about the Terri Schiavo controversy, former Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee Monday afternoon described details of the death of his own daughter, Elizabeth "Betsy" Thompson Panici, and said that neither federal nor local governments should play any role in making a family's end-of-life decisions.
"I had to make those decisions with the rest of my family," Thompson said. "And I will assure you one thing: No matter which decision you make, you will never know whether or not you made exactly the right decision."
GOP hopeful Thompson said that "making this into a political football is something that I don't welcome, and this will probably be the last time I ever address it. It should be decided by the family. The federal government -- and the state government too, except for the court system -- should stay out of these matters, as far as I'm concerned."
Health and Homelessness
Ezra Klein has an interesting post on the Washington Post story concerning the number one cause of homelessness - untreated chronic disease.
. . . The #1 cause of death among the homeless is untreated chronic disease. It's also a major cause of homelessness. The Washington Post tells the story of Vaughn Bell -- he had a solid job at a teen rehab clinic, an apartment, a good life. "The sickness stripped it all away. Everything. Bell fell ill with kidney disease. Because he was sick, he couldn't work and lost the job. Because he lost the job, he lost his apartment and had to go to a homeless shelter. Because he lived in a homeless shelter, he had to take two trains and a bus to get to dialysis treatments. He fell behind, stopped caring for himself, then just stopped caring."
This isn't a policy post, necessarily. I don't know how to holistically end the ravages of chronic disease. A universal health care system could ensure treatment, but it can't keep you from losing your job, or from having to travel too far for care, or from falling into depression and giving up, or from lacking the money to purchase the sort of food your body needs. But it's worth thinking about.
Borgman on Health Care
Our local paper, the Cincinnati Enquirer, is not the best but they carry Jim Borgman's cartoons and they are usually quite funny. Here is one that ran this weekend in response to the consideration of a new law in Ohio to require that women see an ultra-sound of their fetus before receiving an abortion. .