Debate on ethical challenges of health care reform highlights Gheens Foundation Visiting Scholars Week at UofL


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Two of the nation’s leading experts in medical ethics will be in Louisville March 21-25 for the Gheens Foundation Visiting Scholars Week at the University of Louisville School of Medicine.

    Laurence McCullough, Ph.D., from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and Stephen Wear, Ph.D., from State University of New York-Buffalo, will engage in a philosophical debate on “Ethical Challenges of Health Care Reform for Physicians and Health Care Organizations” Monday, March 21, from noon to 1:30 p.m. in the Kornhauser Library Auditorium.

    Each also will present individual lectures. On Tuesday, March 22, Wear will address “Producing, Evaluating and Implementing Advance Directives.” On Wednesday, March 23, McCullough will present “Making and Implementing Clinical Judgments of Futility.” Both will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. in the Kornhauser Library Auditorium.

    The debate and individual lectures are open to the public. Lunch will be provided to those who make reservations by noon, Friday, March 18, to

    McCullough and Wear also will conduct seminars and teach inpatient ethics rounds for faculty, residents and students in the departments of Surgery, Family and Geriatric Medicine, and Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health.

    “This is an excellent opportunity to emphasize the importance of ethics in medical education and training,” said David J. Doukas, M.D., director of the Division of Medical Humanism and Ethics in the UofL Department of Family and Geriatric Medicine. The division sponsors the week-long event through funding provided by an endowment established by The Gheens Foundation Inc. of Louisville.

    “In particular, Dr. Wear and Dr. McCullough have very different viewpoints concerning health care reform, so we can expect a fairly comprehensive and well-researched examination of the ethical issues it presents during their debate,” Doukas said.

    McCullough is the associate director for education and the Dalton Tomlin Chair in Medical Ethics and Health Policy in the Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. He has published more than 300 peer-reviewed papers in medical and bioethics journals, 50 original chapters in scholarly books and more than 100 chapters in medical textbooks. His areas of expertise include ethics in surgery, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology and end-of-life care, medical history and clinical ethics.

    Wear is co-director of the Center for Clinical Ethics and Humanities in Health Care at SUNY-Buffalo and head of the Ethics Consultation Team at the VA Medical Center in Buffalo. He is the author of numerous articles, books and book chapters on ethics in critical care, end-of-life care, long-term care, obstetrics and gynecology and clinical ethics.

    Jill Scoggins is Director of Communications at UofL's Louis D. Brandeis School of Law. She has been at UofL since 2010.