October 28, 2004
coalition springing from Arizona State University and Mayo Clinic Scottsdale programs is seeking to bring a constructive turn to the fevered debate about stem-cell research, cloning and other biomedical endeavors.
The Arizona Consortium for Medicine, Society and Values will begin its effort Saturday with a lecture by Pulitzer Prize-winning science writer Jonathan Weiner at the Arizona S cience Center in Phoenix.
The consortium’s mission "is about taking the science lab to the public,’’ said Jane Maienschein, director of ASU’s Center for Biology and Society.
Social and ethical implications of bioscience advances make it critical for better public understanding "so that we can make wise decisions, not just quick decisions" about setting research guidelines, she said.
The goal is to draw a broad range of viewpoints into the dialogue. "Our point is that we all need to learn from each other,’’ Maienschein said.
Other consortium partners are the Translational Genomics Research Center being built in Phoenix, the Phoenix branch of the University of Arizona Health Sciences department, the Flinn Foundation and the ASU Barrett Honors College.
The group plans a bioethics conference at ASU in February. In March, a public forum on biomedical issues will be part of a visit to Mayo Clinic Scottsdale by noted medical writer and surgeon Sherwin Nuland.
Forums on biomedical issues related to aging also are planned, said Mark Edwin, head of Mayo Clinic Scottsdale’s Humanities and Medicine program.
Edwin said the consortium is hoping its efforts "springboard into public policy
Weiner’s lecture, "Edges of Medicine," will discuss his latest book about families struggling with neurodegenerative diseases and touch on stem-cell research.
America’s stem-cell debate "has become politically polarized and fevered . . . but it’s really important we keep talking about it. There are intense ethical problems we have to confront,’’ Weiner said.
Science, social issues
What: Lecture by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jonathan Weiner
When: 7 p.m. Saturday
Where: Arizona Science Center, 600 E. Washington, Phoenix
Reservations and information:
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