​Holocaust, Genocide and Contemporary Bioethics: Recognizing the Danger of Public Health Propaganda

We all say "Never Again!" How can we ensure that it won't? This on demand webinar reviews learning to recognize and stop genocide strategies from being used again anywhere in the world. Join our panelists who will discuss the strategies used by the Nazi party to justify criminal medical research and genocide through the public health propaganda.

​Deadly Medicine: How Healers Became Killers

From 1933 to 1945, Nazi Germany carried out a campaign to “cleanse” German society of people viewed as biological threats to the nation’s “health.” Enlisting the help of physicians and medically trained geneticists, psychiatrists, and anthropologists, the Nazis developed racial health policies that started with the mass sterilization of “hereditarily diseased” persons and ended with the near annihilation of European Jewry.  The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's "Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race" exhibit traces this history from the early 20th-century international eugenics movement to the Nazi regime’s “science of race.” It also challenges viewers to reflect on the present-day interest in genetic manipulation that promotes the possibility of human perfection.  The purpose of this webinar is to provide a guided tour of this exhibit so that healthcare professionals all over the world can benefit from this important resource.

​Medical Experimentation During and After WWII

Many scholars have argued that the field of human subject research ethics was created as a direct response to Josef Mengele and the medical experimentation that took place in Nazi concentration camps. While the barbarism disguised as scientific practice that took place during the Holocaust serves as the singular example of unethical human subject research, the history of the field demonstrates a host of medical failures that have violated not only the tenets of sound science, but also the personhood of those seeking relief from suffering. This webinar will provide a better understanding of the evolution of human subject research ethics through the examination of several examples of unethical human subject research experimentation during and after World War II.

​Fifty Years of Change: Henry K. Beecher and Protecting Human Subjects

In June of 1966, physician-researcher Henry K. Beecher published a paper entitled “Ethics and Clinical Research” in the New England Journal of Medicine.  His paper listed 22 examples of clinical research that raised ethical questions about the conduct of research by physicians at major universities, published in major medical journals, demolishing the widely-held position that concerns about unethical research conduct were relevant only to a small number of corrupt, non-respected researchers.  Fifty years later, Beecher’s paper is often cited as the most significant publication in human research ethics. This month, we will explore the history and motivation that led to Dr. Beecher’s ground-breaking publication, and the response from the research community.  We will also discuss the development, evolution and current state of human research protections.

​Comparative Bioethics: A Foundation for Considering Bio-ethical Issues in Medicine and Healthcare Policy

The central role of the medical profession in the design and implementation of  “applied biology,” and Racial Hygiene Policy that took place during the Holocaust has broad relevance for a variety of topics within clinical medicine and public policy.  This webinar will approach these issues through the lens of Comparative Bioethics.  Any individual, group, or national position on the ethical and public policy questions raised by society’s constant desire for progress through medical and scientific advancements depends upon its foundational philosophy.  By comparing traditional Jewish medical ethics, the Hippocratic Oath, Nazi bioethics, and contemporary secular bioethics, different approaches to clinical, research, and public health policy issues can be clarified.

​Human Genetics: From Eugenics to the Human Genome Project & Beyond

The purpose of this webinar is to explore the chronology of the ethical dimensions of human genetics. Beginning with a brief introduction to biology, DNA research, and human genetics, this webinar will review how genetic knowledge was abused in coercive international eugenics programs in the first half of the twentieth century, focusing specifically on the United States and Germany. Present applications of genetic research, including the Human Genome Project, genetic testing and screening, and gene therapy, can be used to investigate the ethical and public policy questions raised by society’s continued quest for progress through genetic manipulation. Genetic enhancement, behavioral genetics, and racial research represent potential future uses of human genetics, begging the question of how society will come to define and understand what it means to be human.

​Medicine, Ethics, and the Holocaust: Reflecting on the Past to Protect the Future

This webinar will focus on the abrogation of biomedical ethics in World War II Germany, demonstrating how the Holocaust is a unique example of medically sanctioned genocide. The biomedical ethical considerations brought to light as a result of the alliance between medicine and the Nazis remain relevant for current medical and scientific practice, healthcare policy, and human rights endeavors. Eugenics, disability studies, end-of-life care, genetic testing, and human experimentation are all topics that are vital to the history as well as the future of bioethics. Exploring the pivotal role played by science and medicine in the labeling, persecution, and eventual mass murder of those deemed "unfit" is essential to preventing other instances of human rights abuses in modern society.

Health Care Ethics, Humanities and Social Justice Webinar Series

This webinar series was produced by the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine in conjunction with Misericordia University, with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

A logo for the national endowment for the humanities.

This webinar series was made possible in part by the National Endowment for
​the Humanities CARES grant, "Humanities in the time of COVID-19: Fostering Community Dialogue" Award Number: AH-274885-20. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (article, book, exhibition, film,  program, database, report, Web resource), do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.