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Seattle Children’s Research Institute Hosts “Eighth Annual Pediatric Bioethics Conference” on July 27 and 28

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February 06, 2012

 Healthcare leaders to address ethical complexities of balancing personal values with professional responsibilities in pediatric patient care 

Today, The Treuman Katz Center for Pediatric Bioethics at Seattle Children’s Research Institute announced it will host its “Eighth Annual Pediatric Bioethics Conference” on July 27 and 28, 2012 at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center in Seattle, Wash. The conference, entitled “The Thin Ethical Line: When Professional Boundaries and Personal Interests Collide,” will bring together leaders in healthcare to discuss the complexities of balancing personal values with professional responsibilities in pediatric patient care. Registration is now open at:

Conference speakers will address a variety of today’s frequently debated ethical issues including childhood vaccinations and appropriate responses to parents who refuse to vaccinate, as well as social media, specifically should a physician “friend” a patient on Facebook or share personal information online.  Key questions conference experts will debate and discuss include:

  • Can healthcare professionals conscientiously object to providing some healthcare services?
  • Should healthcare providers perform procedures or prescribe medications to their own family members?
  • Is it ever acceptable for healthcare professionals to lie on behalf of their patients?
  • Is it okay to ask patients to sign a political petition in the office or hospital setting?

“As a leading institution in pediatric care and medical research, it is Seattle Children’s responsibility to help foster conversations around ethical issues that arise in pediatric practice,” said Benjamin Wilfond, MD, director of the Treuman Katz Center for Pediatric Bioethics at Seattle Children’s Research Institute. “We all encounter difficult questions in our practices and work on a regular basis, and we want to discuss these hot-button, complex issues that affect all of us.”

Conference speakers from Seattle Children’s include: Douglas Diekema, MD, MPH, director of education at Treuman Katz Center for Pediatric Bioethics at Seattle Children’s Research Institute;  Douglas Opel, MD, MPH, bioethicist at Seattle Children's Research Institute; and Wendy Sue Swanson, MD, MBE, FAAP, pediatrician and author of the Seattle Children’s Hospital Seattle Mama Doc Blog.

Other speakers include world renowned leaders in pediatrics and bioethics from around the U. S.: Norman Fost, MD, MPH (University of Wisconsin-Madison); Jennifer Kesselheim, MD, MBE, M.Ed (Harvard Medical School, Dana Farber Cancer Institute); Kellie Lang, JD, RN (Medical College of Wisconsin);  John Lantos, MD (University of Chicago); Lainie Friedman Ross, MD, PhD (University of Chicago); Cynda Hylton Rushton, PhD, RN, FAAN (John Hopkins University); Robert Truog, MD (Harvard Medical School, Children’s Hospital Boston) and Mark Wicclair, PhD (West Virginia University, University of Pittsburgh).

Additional Resources

About Seattle Children’s Research Institute

Located in downtown Seattle’s biotech corridor, Seattle Children’s Research Institute is pushing the boundaries of medical research to find cures for pediatric diseases and improve outcomes for children all over the world. Internationally recognized investigators and staff at the research institute are advancing new discoveries in cancer, genetics, immunology, pathology, infectious disease, injury prevention and bioethics, among others. As part of Seattle Children’s Hospital, the research institute brings together leading minds in pediatric research to provide patients with the best care possible. Seattle Children’s serves as the primary teaching, clinical and research site for the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine, which consistently ranks as one of the best pediatric departments in the country. For more information, visit

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