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Medical Ethics and the Holocaust

Some of the world's most influential scientists, physicians, educators and authors, including three Nobel Laureates, offered their views on some of the most challenging questions of modern medical, ethical, scientific, legal and public health policy in a public lecture series presented by Holocaust Museum Houston from Sept. 7, 2007 through Feb. 3, 2008.Medical Ethics

The lecture series explored how the medical practices of the Third Reich continue to challenge modern medical ethics. Speakers covered topics such as euthanasia and the Human Genome Project, the lasting legacy of the Nuremberg trials, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis and how the doctor-patient relationship has changed over the years since the Holocaust.

Holocaust Museum Houston’s unique exhibit “How Healing Becomes Killing: Eugenics, Euthanasia and Extermination” and 15-part “Medical Ethics and the Holocaust: Dr. Michael E. DeBakey Medical Ethics Lecture Series" told the story of the indispensable and enthusiastic participation of physicians and biomedical scientists in the murder of their very own patients and explored how – despite the world’s horror at their activities – those same questions haunt modern medicine today.

The Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies at The University of Texas at Austin offers streaming videos of the lectures below, available for viewing free in streaming captioned QuickTime video. The video player opens in a new window when clicked.

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Michael E. DeBakey Medical Ethics Lecture Series

Ferid MuradSeptember 9, 2007
“Science and Medicine After The Holocaust”
Moderated by Ferid Murad
1998 Nobel Laureate (Physiology or Medicine); Director of the Institute of Molecular Medicine and Chairman of the Department of Integrative Biology and Pharmacology at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston

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James WatsonSeptember 9, 2007
“The Discovery of DNA: Implications for the 21st Century”
James Dewey Watson
1962 Nobel Laureate (Physiology or Medicine); one of the four discoverers of the structure of the DNA molecule; Head of the Human Genome Project at the National Institutes of Health 1978-1992

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Eric KandelSeptember 9, 2007
“In Search of Memory”
Eric Kandel, M.D.
2000 Nobel Laureate (Physiology or Medicine) Fred Kavli Professor, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons Director of the Kavli Institute for Brain Sciences at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons

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Arthur CaplanSeptember 18, 2007
"Why is It So Hard to Learn the Ethical Lessons of the Holocaust?"
Arthur Caplan

The Emmanuel and Robert Hart Professor of Bioethics, Chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia

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Leon KassSeptember 25, 2007
“A More Perfect Human: The Promise and the Peril of Modern Science”
Leon Kass, M.D., Ph.D.

Hertog Fellow
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy

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Edwin BlackOctober 2, 2007
“From Long Island to Auschwitz: The Surprising Origin of the Master Race Concept”
Edwin Black

Award-winning New York Times and international best-selling investigative author whose work focuses on genocide and hate

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Sandra CarsonOctober 2, 2007
“Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis”
Sandra Carson, M.D.

Professor and Medical Director, Assisted Reproductive Technology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas

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Theresa DuelloOctober 9, 2007
Panel Discussion: “What Should We Tell Medical Students About Racial Hygiene, Cultural Diversity, the Doctor-Patient Relationship, and Professionalism?”
Theresa Duello, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Jordan CohenOctober 9, 2007
Panel Discussion: “What Should We Tell Medical Students About Racial Hygiene, Cultural Diversity, the Doctor-Patient Relationship, and Professionalism?”
Jordan Cohen, M.D.
President Emeritus of Association of American Medical Colleges

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Edmund PellegrinoOctober 16, 2007
"What is the Status of the Doctor-Patient Relationship?”
Edmund D. Pellegrino, M.D.

Chairman, The President’s Council on Bioethics, Professor Emeritus of Medicine and Medical Ethics and Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown University

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Ward ConnerlyOctober 16, 2007
“What is the Status of the Government-Citizen Relationship in the United States Today?”
Ward Connerly

Founder and Chairman of the American Civil Rights Institute, President and Chief Executive Officer of Connerly & Associates
, Inc., author of the autobiography "Creating Equal: My Fight Against Race Preferences"

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Susan LedererOctober 23, 2007
"Frankenstein or the More Perfect Human: Who Will It Be?”
Susan E. Lederer, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, History of Medicine, Yale University

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Mark AdickesOctober 23, 2007
“Immediate Gratification and the Quest for Perfection: A Frank Discussion about the Use of Performance-Enhancing Drugs in Sports”
Mark Adickes, M.D.

Co-Medical Director, The Roger Clemens Institute for Sports Medicine & Human Performance, Memorial Hermann, Houston, Texas

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Lex FriedenOctober 30, 2007
“Disability and Genocide – Where Are We Today?”
Lex Frieden
Senior Vice President, Memorial Hermann; Chair, National Council on Disability; with Richard Petty, Independent Living Research Utilization; Jacquie Brennan, Director, Center for Paralegal Studies, University of Houston; Bill Monroe, Executive Associate Dean of the Honors College, University of Houston; and Wendy Wilkinson, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Baylor College of Medicine

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Glen GabbardNovember 6, 2007
Michael Burleigh’s film “Selling Murder” followed by lecture:
"Cinematic Perspectives on Euthanasia and Assisted-Suicide"
Glen O. Gabbard, M.D.

Brown Foundation Professor of Psychoanalysis, Professor, and Director, Baylor Psychiatry Clinic, Baylor College of Medicine

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George AnnasNovember 13, 2007
“The Legacy of the Nuremberg Doctors’ Trial to American Bioethics and Human Rights”
George J. Annas, J.D., M.P.H.

Edward R. Utley Professor and Chair, Department of Health Law, Bioethics & Human Rights, Boston University School of Public Health

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Irving GreenbergNovember 20, 2007
“Power for Life or Power for Death? How and Why Science and Religion can Work Together for Life After the Holocaust”
Rabbi Irving Greenberg, Ph.D.

President, Jewish Life Network/Steinhardt Foundation

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John HaasNovember 20, 2007
“Science, Medicine and Religion after the Holocaust”
John M. Haas, Ph.D. S.T.L.

President, National Catholic Bioethics Center

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Kathryn TuckerNovember 27, 2007
“Physician Aid in Dying: When and Why Should This Option be Available? What Happens When Aid in Dying is Legal?”
Kathryn L. Tucker, J.D.

Director of Legal Affairs for Compassion & Choices, Co-counsel in Oregon vs. Ashcroft

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Wesley SmithNovember 27, 2007
“Is Physician-Assisted Suicide Ever Permissible?”
Wesley Smith, LL.B.

Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute, and an attorney for the International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, and a special consultant for the Center for Bioethics and Culture

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Volker RoelkeDecember 4, 2007
“Academic Medicine during the Nazi Period and Implications for Creating Awareness of Professional Responsibility Today?”
Prof. Dr. Volker Roelcke

Director, Institute of the History of Medicine, Germany

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William SeidelmanDecember 4, 2007
“Academic Medicine during the Nazi Period and Implications for Creating Awareness of Professional Responsibility Today?”

William Seidelman, M.D.
Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto

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Michael GrodinDecember 11, 2007
“Mad, Bad or Evil: How Physician Healers Turn to Torture, Murder and Genocide From the Nazi Doctors to Abu Ghraib”
Michael Grodin, M.D.

Professor of Health Law, Bioethics, and Human Rights, Department of Health Law, Bioethics and Human Rights, Boston University School of Public Health; Professor of Socio-Medical Sciences, Community Medicine, and Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine

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Michael GrossDecember 11, 2007
“Is Medicine a Pacifist Vocation, or Should Doctors Help Build Bombs??"
Michael L. Gross, Ph.D.

Chair, Division of International Relations, School of Political Sciences, The University of Haifa, Israel

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Hank GreelyJanuary 7, 2008
“From Nuremberg to the Human Genome and Beyond – From Human Rights to Human Interests”
Henry T. “Hank” Greely, J.D.

Deane F. and Kate Edelman Johnson Professor of Law, Stanford Law School

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Francis CollinsJanuary 17, 2008
“21st Century Genetics: Maximizing Benefits, Minimizing Harms”
Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.

Director, National Human Genome Research Institute, Bethesda, Maryland

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Christine RosenJanuary 17, 2008
“What Does 21st Century Eugenics Look Like?”
Christine Rosen, Ph.D.

Fellow for the Project on Biotechnology and American Democracy at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and senior editor of The New Atlantis

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George NoonJanuary 22, 2008
TORCH Jewish Medical Ethics Conference
George Noon, M.D.

Professor and Chief of the Division of Transplant Surgery and Assist Devices in the Michael E. DeBakey Dept. of Surgery, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas

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Avraham Steinberg

TORCH Jewish Medical Ethics Conference
Avraham Steinberg, M.D.
Director of the Center for Medical Ethics, Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem and winner of the Israel Prize for his Encyclopedia of Jewish Medical Ethics

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Medical Ethics and the Holocaust

Shelley Rubenfeld

Series Moderator
Sheldon Rubenfeld, M.D, F.A.C.P, F.A.C.E., created “Medical Ethics and the Holocaust” and served as chairman of its Steering Committee. He also served as moderator for The Michael E. DeBakey Medical Ethics Lecture Series.

A clinical professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, he has taught “Healing by Killing: Medicine During the Third Reich” for three years and “Jewish Medical Ethics” for seven years. 

An endocrinologist in private practice, Rubenfeld is known for pioneering the fine needle
aspiration biopsy of the thyroid gland. He is the published author of multiple publications about endocrinology, including the first and second editions of "Could It Be My Thyroid?"

Rubenfeld is the founding chair of the Maimonides Society of Houston and of the Texas Hadassah Medical Research Foundation. He serves on the advisory board of Houston Medicine

In 1998, Rubenfeld was the recipient of the Thyroid Society for Education & Research’s “Dr. Robert Graves Award.” His peers selected him as the “Top Endocrinologist” in Houston in both editions of the “Guide to Top Doctors” published by the Center of the Study of Services, as one of America’s “Top Doctors for Cancer” in 2005, and as a “Texas Super Doc” from 2005 through 2007.

Rubenfeld is originally from Brooklyn, New York and is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in endocrinology and metabolism and in internal medicine.

Steering Committee
Dr. Sheldon Rubenfeld, Chair
Peter N. Berkowitz
Melissa Brunicardi, R.N.
Nancy S. Dinerstein
Kelli Cohen Fein, M.D.
Walter Hecht
The Honorable Manuel D. Leal
Leo Linbeck III
Cheyenne Martin, Ph.D., R.N.
Eric Pulaski 
Anna Steinberger, Ph.D.
Dr. John Thrash
Ileana Trevino
Susan Myers, Museum Executive Director

Advisory Committee
Charlotte Berkowitz, Ph.D.
Baruch Brody, Ph. D.
C. Thomas Caskey, M.D.
Seth Chandler, J.D.
Thomas R. Cole, Ph.D.
Mary A. Daffin
Ralph D. Feigin, M.D.
David Fine
Donald J. Foss, Ph.D.
O. Howard Frazier, M.D.
Richard A. Gibbs, Ph.D.
Ron Girotto
Anthony M. Gotto Jr., M.D., Ph.D.
Jean Herzog, Ph.D.
Rabbi Samuel E. Karff
Joan Krause, J.D.
David Leebron, J.D.
John Mendelsohn, M.D.
Ferid Murad, M.D., Ph.D.
Carol Quillen, Ph.D.
Stanley G. Schultz, M.D.
Marc J. Shapiro
Ira Shephard, LL.B.
Patricia Starck, D.S.N., R.N.
Jay H. Stein, M.D.
John D. Stobo, M.D.
Richard E. Wainerdi, Ph.D.
Thomas M. Wheeler, M.D.
James T. Willerson, M.D.
Dr. Zbignew J. Wojciechowski
Daniel J. Wolterman

Program Sponsors
The William & Margaret Alkek Foundation
Dr. Milton and Laurie Boniuk
The Boniuk Center for the Study and Advancement of
  Religious Tolerance at Rice University
Continental Airlines
Jack and Nancy Dinerstein
Martin and Dr. Kelli Cohen Fein
Morris and Amanda Gelb
Lyondell Chemical
Walter and Punkin Hecht
Barry and Rosalyn Margolis
John Mendelsohn, M.D.
Lufthansa Airlines
Nodus Solutions
William Osher, M.D.
Park Plaza Hospital and Medical Center
Pierpont Communications, Inc.
St. Luke’s Episcopal Health System
David and Charis Smith
Emil Steinberger, M.D. and Anna Steinberger, Ph.D.
Corby and Barbara Robertson
Texas Children’s Hospital
University of Houston
University of Texas Health Science Center Houston
University of Texas Medical School at Houston
University of Texas School of Nursing 

Exhibit and Catalog Sponsors
Gateway Logistics Group, Inc.
Lufthansa Airlines
Dr. Sheldon Rubenfeld and Linda Rubenfeld

DeBakey Lecture Series Sponsors
Aquinas Corporation
EMD Serono, Inc.
Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P.
Huffington Foundation
The Jewish Federation of Greater Houston
The Maimonides Society
Memorial Hermann
David, Ira and Mindy Mitzner
Eric and Karen Pulaski
The Methodist Hospital
Torah Outreach Center of Houston (TORCH)
University of Houston’s Elizabeth D. Rockwell
  Ethics and Leadership Lecture


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