September 14, 2005
|What does it mean to be human?
Health Law Center Distinguished Speaker Series
Features Controversial Biotech Topics
This fall the Center for Law, Health & Society at Georgia State University’s College of Law will present a three-part Distinguished Speaker Series on Biotechnology Law, Policy and Ethics entitled "What does it mean to be human?", beginning Sept. 21.
According to Professor Charity Scott, J.D., the director of Georgia State Law’s Center for Law, Health & Society, the series will delve into controversial issues and will feature noted authorities in the arenas of biotechnology law, policy and ethics.
“New biotechnologies offer great opportunities to improve human lives by curing diseases, alleviating suffering and enhancing our potential,” noted Professor Scott. “They also present challenges to our understanding of the meaning of human life. This seminar series explores the roles of law, public policy and ethics in addressing these advances in biotechnology in the 21st century.”
All events will be held from 4-5:30 p.m. at Georgia State’s College of Law Room 170 in the Urban Life Building at 140 Decatur Street in Atlanta. Receptions will follow each speaker session. Events are open to the public and are free of charge.
The three-part series will be moderated by Roberta M. Berry, J.D., Ph.D., visiting professor in Biotechnology Law, Policy & Ethics at Georgia State University’s College of Law. Professor Berry is an associate professor of Public Policy and Director of the Law, Science & Technology Program at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She is currently writing a book on the ethical and policy implications of genetic engineering of human beings, and has co-edited an interdisciplinary book on health care law, ethics and policy. Professor Berry has written numerous articles and delivered papers on the legal, policy and ethical issues posed by bioscience research, genetic knowledge and biotechnologies.
“The first speaker series event Sept. 21 is titled 'Perfecting People Through Biotechnology -- The Implications of Human Enhancement for Society,'” explained Professor Berry. “Humans are constantly striving to improve their minds and bodies by education, exercise and other techniques. Today, new drugs and devices offer new opportunities to improve ourselves through biotechnology. As the possibilities of manipulating the human genome grow near, some welcome the prospect, but others question whether we are prepared to cope with the implications for ourselves and our society.”
Two experts in biotechnology law, policy and ethics will serve as the first speakers in the series. Maxwell J. Mehlman, J.D., is the Arthur E. Petersilge Professor of Law and director of The Law-Medicine Center at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law. He is also a professor of Bioethics at the Case Western School of Medicine and the author of "Wondergenes: Genetic Enhancement and the Future of Society." A Rhodes Scholar, Professor Mehlman is directing a pilot project on research issues in enhancement pursuant to a National Institutes of Health grant designating the Department of Bioethics at Case Western a “Center of Excellence in Ethical, Legal and Social Issues Research.”
Ronald Bailey, science correspondent for "Reason" magazine, will join Professor Mehlman for the first speaker series event Sept. 21. Bailey is the author of "Liberation Biology: The Scientific and Moral Case for the Biotech Revolution," and is an adjunct scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Cato Institute. He has authored and edited several other books and has produced programs for PBS television and ABC News. His articles and reviews, including the award-winning “The Battle for Your Brain,” have appeared in "The Wall Street Journal," "The Washington Post," "The New York Times Book Review," "Smithsonian" magazine, "National Review" and "Forbes." He has lectured widely, including at Harvard, MIT, Morehouse, Rutgers, Virginia and Yale, and has offered testimony before a committee of the United States Congress.
Professor Scott, who teaches at Georgia State’s College of Law and J. Mack Robinson College of Business, said the Center for Law, Health & Society she directs is presenting the Distinguished Speaker Series in partnership with the Emory University Center for Ethics; the Georgia Institute of Technology School of Public Policy and its Programs in Law, Science & Technology and in Philosophy, Science & Technology; and the Georgia State College of Law Intellectual Property Advisory Board.
“Additional friends and supporters are also helping to make this truly a premiere event,” Professor Scott said. “They include the Emory College Program in Science & Society, the Georgia Tech Focused Research Program in Ethics & Technology, the Georgia State University Blumenfeld Center for Ethics, and Georgia State’s Student Health Law Association.”
The second session, "The Life and Death of Terri Schiavo -- Scientific, Religious, Legal and Ethical Perspectives," will be held Oct. 25. Speakers include Nicolas S. Krawiecki, M.D., associate professor of Pediatrics and Neurology at the Emory University School of Medicine and Emory Children's Center; Kathy Kinlaw, M.Div., acting director of the Center for Ethics and program director for Health Science Ethics at Emory; and Professor Scott, who has published on a variety of health law issues including antitrust and the health care field, medical ethics and the law, medical privacy and health policy.
The final series event, "Creating Human-Nonhuman Chimeras -- New Techniques, New Ethical and Legal Challenges," is set for Nov. 14. Speakers are Cynthia B. Cohen, Ph.D, J.D., Senior Research Scholar at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University; and Henry T. Greely, J.D., the Deane F. and Kate Edelman Johnson Professor of Law and director for the Center for Law and the Biosciences at Stanford University.
For additional information on the Georgia State College of Law Center for Law, Health & Society Distinguished Speaker Series What does it mean to be human?, including directions and parking details, visit www.LawAndHealth.org, or call Assistant Director Jerri Nims at 404.651.0599.