Speaker to defend genetic testing and selection, Nov. 12

KINGSTON, R.I. –November 4, 2002 – Dan Brock, visiting senior scholar in the Department of Clinical Bioethics at the National Institutes of Health, will speak at the University of Rhode Island’s Honors Colloquium’s Genetic Technology and Public Policy in the New Millennium on Tuesday, Nov. 12. His talk, “Genetic Testing and Selection: A Response to the Disability Movement’s Critique,” will defend the use of genetic testing and selection against arguments by members of the disability movement who call this technology discriminatory.

The talk, free and open to the public, will be held in Room 271 of the Chafee Social Science Center from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Brock served as staff philosopher on the President’s Commission for the Study of Ethical Problems in Medicine in 1981-82, where he drafted substantial portions of three reports: “Deciding to Forgo Life-Sustaining Treatment”, “Making Health Care Decisions,” and “Securing Access to Health Care.” In 1993, he was a member of the Ethics Working Group of the Clinton Taskforce on National Health Reform. Brock was formerly director of the Institute for Biomedical Ethics at Brown University.

He has been a consultant on biomedical ethics and health policy to numerous national and international bodies, including the Office of Technology Assessment of the U.S. Congress, the Institute of Medicine, the National Bioethics Advisory Commission, and the World Health Organization.

He is a fellow and member of the board of directors of the Hastings Center and was a fellow in the Ethics and Professions’ Program and in the Division of Medical Ethics at Harvard University in 1991-92. He was the president of the American Association of Bioethics in 1995-96 and was a founding board member of the American Society for Bioethics and Humaniteis.

Brock has authored more than 300 papers in bioethics and in moral and political philosophy, which have appeared in books and scholarly journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine and Journal of the American Medical Association.

He has also authored several books, all published by Cambridge University Press, including From Chance to Choice: Genetics and Justice written with three other experts. Brock has lectured widely at national and international conferences, professional societies, universities, and health care institutions.

Anyone who would like to look further into the issues raised by Brock’s presentation and writings should consult the Colloquium website, accessed through www.uri.edu, which contains links to two articles challenging Brock’s conclusions written by disability activist and scholar Adrienne Asch.

Major sponsors for the colloquium series are URI’s Honors Program, The URI Foundation, Theta Chi Fraternity, The Providence Journal, the Rhode Island Committee for the Humanities, the Joan Irvine Smith and Athalie R. Clarke Foundation, and the URI President’s Office. Additional sponsors include URI’s Offices of the Provost and the dean of Arts and Sciences, College of Nursing, Student Entertainment Committee, the Multicultural Center, the John Hazen White Sr. Center for Ethics and Public Service, the URI Alumni Association, the Department of Communications/News Bureau and Matritech.