Oct 1, 2009 — Yeshiva University’s (YU) Student Medical Ethics Society (MES) will be hosting its fourth annual conference, entitled The Human Blueprint: Jewish Perspectives on Modern Genetics on Sunday, October 18 from 9am to 5pm at YU’s Wilf Campus, 500 West 185th Street, New York, NY. The conference is sponsored through the generous support of Rabbi Dovid and Mrs. Anita Fuld.
The conference will provide participants with a broad foundation for the medical background needed to understand human genetics, as well as the technologically advanced medical research and practices used today to prevent and manage genetic diseases. Topics covered will include reproductive genetics, cancer genetics, personalized medicine, aging and longevity among others. Participants will also be introduced to an overview of the fundamental ethical dilemmas surrounding genetics, as well as how the system of halacha [Jewish law] approaches these complex issues.
“These are issues that affect all of us in one way or another,” explained Rabbi Kenneth Brander, the David Mitzner Dean of YU’s Center for the Jewish Future (CJF). “It is important that we deal with these issues with first-rate medical experts and through the prism of halacha.”
Rabbi Brander, a lecturer in the field of medical ethics, infertility, and gynecology, helped launch MES four years ago as one of his first initiatives with the CJF.
In addition to gaining broad knowledge in medical, ethical, and halachik issues of modern genetics, conference participants will be able to choose from a series of specialized tracks, each geared towards in-depth analysis of the most pressing issues in the field. These tracks include genetics and law, DNA and forensics, behavioral genetics, DNA Shoah, and Familial Dysautonomia (FD). The individual sessions will be guided by leading rabbis, physicians and lawyers, all of whom are experts in their fields.
“Yeshiva University is the embodiment of Torah U’Madda,” said program director, Rabbi Dr. Edward Reichman, associate professor of emergency medicine at Montefiore Medical Center and associate professor of philosophy and history of medicine at YU’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine. “The philosophy of the institution permeates its students, who are infused with a love of learning and acquiring knowledge. The Medical Ethics Society is comprised of men and women who truly reflect the University’s ideals.”
MES, a student run organization, was founded in fall 2005 to promote education and awareness of medical ethics at YU. Since that time, it has grown from a small group of students with common interests to a major campus organization running large-scale events and educational programming with university-wide participation. Their previous conferences dealt with organ donation, fertility and end-of-life issues in Jewish law.
Sam Weprin, who along with Tali Bauman serves as co-president of MES, hopes the vast topics included in this year’s program will attract a diverse crowd. “The conference will include sessions given by physicians, ethicists, rabbis, expert lawyers and renowned science researchers,” explained Weprin. “We hope that these accomplished speakers will have a profound impact on our audience intellectually and educationally.”
“Medical genetics has the potential to create and sustain life,” adds Bauman. “Learning and understanding the halachic, ethical, and medical issues related to genetics can deepen our understanding of our greater society and the future of medicine.”
The conference is open to the public but pre-registration is required. For more information or to register visit www.yu.edu/medicalethics or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.