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IU Northwest observes World Bioethics Day October 19

A full day of discussion and exploration in celebration of World Bioethics Day will take place at Indiana University Northwest on Wednesday, Oct. 19.

Created by the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics, the inaugural day will be observed with events throughout the world on Wednesday, Oct. 19. The day marks the adoption of the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights by the 33rd Session of the General Conference of UNESCO on October 19, 2005.


At IU Northwest, activities will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Bruce W. Bergland Auditorium.

Registration starts at 8:45 a.m., and the day’s lectures begin at 9:15 a.m., with a discussion led by professionals from the local healthcare community, who will discuss “Bioethical Decision-Making in the Healthcare Setting.”

At 10 a.m., IU Northwest Professor of Philosophy Anja Matwijkiw will present “Some Ancient Arguments on the Moral Status of Fetuses.” Following a break for lunch, Marc Rodwin, Professor of Law at Suffolk University Law School in Boston, will discuss “Bioethics and Conflict of Interest,” at 12:30 p.m.

The event will conclude with a film screening of “No Más Bebés,” a documentary about the involuntary sterilization of at-risk women, and a discussion moderated by IU Northwest Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice Monica Solinas-Saunders, at 1:45 p.m.

The theme for this year’s World Bioethics Day celebration is “Human Dignity and Human Rights,” which ties directly to the focus of IU Northwest’s common campus read for 2016-17, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.” This event is the first of an academic-year long series of activities supporting the university’s “One Book … One Campus … One Community” reading initiative..

Named a best book of the year by more than 60 media outlets, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” by Rebecca Skloot, tells a “riveting story of the collision between ethics, race and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing…” according to the author’s website.

Skloot tells the story of Henrietta Lacks, better known by scientists as HeLa. Lacks’ cells were taken without her knowledge in 1951 and were sued to develop important advances in medicine, such as the development of the polio vaccine, closing, gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, and more. Even though the cells lived on and have been bought and sold by the billions, Lacks remains almost unknown, and her family can’t afford health insurance.

Get Involved

Throughout the academic year, the book will be integrated into classroom curricula, giving IU Northwest students, faculty, and staff the opportunity to reflect on the diversity of themes. The community is also encouraged to participate also, and attend the free and public events that will be scheduled throughout the academic year.

For more information about the book and the One Book … One Campus … One Community … reading initiative, including future events and study materials, visit:


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