In September 2019, the WMed Unit of the International Network of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics was established with an inauguration ceremony at the medical school's W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus. The International Network of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics was established in 2001 in Haifa, Israel, in order to disseminate, improve and monitor education in ethics in medical schools around the world. The Chair develops an updated and modern curriculum, reflecting the need for integration of ethics in daily practice, and develops novel and sophisticated educational tools and materials that facilitate attractive teaching. In all, there are more than 230 units of the International Network of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics across the globe and the unit at WMed is one of seven in the U.S.
At the inauguration, Dr. Russell D’Souza, director of the Department of Education and head of the Asia-Pacific Division of the International Program of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics, presented WMed’s founding dean, Dr. Hal B. Jenson, with a writ of establishment. Additionally, Dr. Michael Redinger, co-chief of the medical school’s Program in Bioethics, Humanities, and Law, received a writ of appointment as head of the new unit.
The event also honored the support and memory of Dr. Shirley Bach, WMU professor emerita of philosophy, internationally recognized authority on biomedical ethics, and a founding faculty member of the WMed Program in Medical Ethics, Humanities, and Law.
We are honored and excited to achieve this recognition from UNESCO. We believe it will open up a number of opportunities for international collaboration. We share with UNESCO a deep belief in the importance of education in bioethics in shaping a bright future for medicine and health care professionals.
The International Network of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics hosts the annual World Conference on Bioethics, Medical Ethics and Health Law which will be attended by Drs. Jenson and Redinger in May, 2020 in Porto, Portugal. Future activities for the WMed Unit in collaboration with UNESCO will include recognition of World Bioethics Day with an activity organized by the WMed Bioethics Student Interest Group and development of an ethics webinar for use by the UNESCO Chair for education at other units worldwide. More information about the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics can be found at http://www.unesco-chair-bioethics.org/.
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