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September 9, 2003

Fukuyama to headline at Purdue health care ethics symposium

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Francis Fukuyama, internationally renowned political economist and member of President Bush's Bioethics Commission, will be the featured speaker on Friday, Sept. 19, at the Human Rights and Ethics in Health Care Symposium at Purdue University.

The symposium is sponsored by Purdue's School of Nursing and the American Nursing Association. It aims to raise awareness of the moral and ethical issues associated with various biotechnological innovations, said Julie Novak, head of the School of Nursing.

"As a research-intensive university, Purdue is at the leading edge in the creation and application of emergent biotechnologies, such as genetically modified organisms, pharmacogenetics, nanotechnology and the like," she said. "Nurses must be prepared to work with the patient, their families and members of the health care team in arriving at ethical decisions that go beyond the moral minimum, and the public should be aware of what this will involve for humanity's future."

The symposium will take place in Stewart Center's Fowler Hall and is open to the public. The general registration fee is $150 ($75 for Purdue faculty); Purdue nursing students may attend free of charge. Other Purdue students may attend for $10. Online registration is required at http://www.conf.purdue.edu (keyword: nursing).

The symposium begins with a continental breakfast at 7:30 a.m., followed by Fukuyama's keynote address at 8:30 a.m. Lunch also will be provided. The conference will conclude at 4 p.m.

The multidisciplinary symposium focuses on vulnerable populations, resource allocation, access to health care, legal aspects, technology, genetics and end-of-life issues. Its objectives are to:

• Identify key ethical issues that the future raises for nursing and other professions.

• Examine ethical and human rights implications of state-of-the-art research.

• Compare key innovations in technology and discuss their ethical implications.

• Analyze current professional positions and emergent ethics and human rights perspectives on access to health care, care of vulnerable populations, resource allocation and end-of-life issues.

In Fukuyama's most recent book, "Our Post Human Future," he describes the consequences of biotechnological innovations spawned by the Human Genome Project. He cautions that "human selection" vs. "natural selection" of genetic traits passed on from generation to generation could potentially wreak social upheaval. Other symposium topics and speakers will present additional viewpoints.

CONTACT: Pat Coyle-Rogers, (765) 494-4030, pcrogers@nursing.purdue.edu.

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu


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