On June 1, Professor Amnon Carmi, head of the UNESCO Chair of Bioethics (Haifa) announced the formation of the Department of Bioethics and the Holocaust of the UNESCO Chair of Bioethics. Co-chaired by Dr. Stacy Gallin (USA) and Dr. Tessa Chelouche (Israel), the mission of this department is to form an international group of professionals who will work together to provide various tools for educating undergraduates, graduates and professionals in the field of healthcare regarding the continuing relevance of bioethics and the Holocaust for current issues in society pertaining to medical practice, public policy and human rights.
The Department of Bioethics and the Holocaust’s objectives include incorporating the history of medicine during the Holocaust into modern medical ethics training, emphasizing the relevance of bioethics and the Holocaust for current society, and ultimately having this subject included as a requirement for international graduate medical education and/or continuing medical education. The department plans to achieve these goals through the development of research programs and educational materials, both online and in other formats, which can be offered at various international institutions in different languages, as well as through hosting and participating in scientific meetings and conferences. In addition, Drs. Gallin and Chelouche have emphasized the importance of fostering international collaboration by developing global sub-units focused on bioethics and the Holocaust.
Dr. Gallin is the founding director of the Maimonides Institute for Medicine, Ethics and the Holocaust (MIMEH) in Monmouth County, New Jersey. MIMEH’s mission is to explore the ethical implications of the medical transgressions that took place during the Holocaust for modern scientific theory, medical practice, healthcare policy and human rights endeavors. Dr. Chelouche is MIMEH’s co-director and a family physician at Clalit Health Services in Israel, as well as the author of the “Casebook on Bioethics and the Holocaust.” Both Dr. Gallin and Dr. Chelouche have taught courses on this topic at the undergraduate and graduate levels and have been working together for several years to raise awareness regarding the importance of incorporating this subject into modern healthcare education.
“We are honored to be given the opportunity to form an international Department of Bioethics and the Holocaust of the UNESCO Chair of Bioethics (Haifa),” Dr. Chelouche stated. “The relevance of exploring the systematic methods by which the medical community actively participated in the labeling, persecution and eventual mass murder of millions of innocent people during the Holocaust is essential for current and future generations of healthcare practitioners to understand.”
“We are looking forward to expanding on the work we have been doing, and will continue to do, at the Maimonides Institute for Medicine, Ethics and the Holocaust (MIMEH) in our new role as co-chairs of this department,” said Dr. Gallin. “We plan to utilize MIMEH’s online platform (www.mimeh.org) to continue to develop high-quality, low-cost programs that are easily accessible to everyone, while also fulfilling the requirements for continuing medical education (CME) credits. Working with Dr. Carmi and the UNESCO Chair of Bioethics (Haifa) is a great privilege and a wonderful opportunity to reach a broad global audience.”
Per their website, the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics was established at the International Center of Health, Law and Ethics at the University of Haifa in 2001. The purpose of this chair is to coordinate and stimulate an International Network of Institutes for Medical Ethics Training (NIMED), to collaborate with higher education institutes in both developed and developing countries and to create a new syllabus for medical ethics education that will satisfy the requirements of medical schools throughout the world. Currently, there are approximately 164 units in bioethics in 70 different countries.
To learn more about the Department of Bioethics and the Holocaust or the Maimonides Institute for Medicine, Ethics and the Holocaust, visit www.mimeh.org. Information regarding the UNESCO Chair of Bioethics (Haifa) can be found at http://www.unesco-chair-bioethics.org.
By Jill Kirsch