ATLANTA - When he first visited Karachi, Pakistan in 2004 to give the inaugural lecture at the Center for Bioethics and Culture (CBEC), Professor Paul A. Lombardo considered it the opportunity of the lifetime. "I thought it was a one-time trip to a place I had always wondered about," said Lombardo. "But I assumed I would get to savor the experience after that only in my memory."
People in Pakistan apparently thought once in a lifetime was not enough, and Lombardo's colleagues there brought him back in 2009 and 2012 as a Visiting Professor in their newly accredited Master's degree program in Bioethics.
The degree program is conducted at the Sind Institute for Bioethics and Transplantation (SIUT), where CBEC is located. SIUT is widely known among people who engage in transplantation medicine as one of the largest world centers that serves a primarily pediatric population. It specializes in kidney transplants. Medical services are available for needy patients from Pakistan and other parts of the Middle East entirely for free.
"The course I teach in Health Law at CBEC is geared to nonlawyers," Lombardo said. "My former student Dr. Farhat Moazam, who began her professional career as a pediatric surgeon, enrolled in it as a Ph.D. student in bioethics at the University of Virginia, where I formerly taught. After a long academic career in the U.S., she returned to Karachi to begin the bioethics program at CBEC. She got in touch then to ask that I come back to reprise the course in that setting."
Ms. Sharmeen Kahn, a lawyer trained in England and Pakistan, co-teaches the course with Lombardo. Though she is now located in the law department of a multinational corporation in Dubai, she also returns to her home in Karachi to teach. "I knew that the doctors, nurses and others who took my course would have real world questions that could only be addressed by a person with practice experience in the region. I felt it was imperative that a practicing attorney with knowledge of health law be there to augment my U.S. legal perspective," noted Lombardo. "I have learned enormously from Sharmeen Kahn, who is a full partner in teaching the course."
Asked when he will return for the next batch of students in Karachi, Lombardo says "Perhaps in two years." But he is quick to echo his Pakistani hosts, who always add: "Inshallah." (If God wills it.)
Stacie P. Kershner
Center for Law, Health & Society