HUC-UC Ethics Center Center for the Study of Ethics and Contemporary Moral Problems
Ethics in Medicine

A part of the HUC-UC Ethics Center's mission is to promote research and education relating to ethical issues in the field of medicine. We seek to educate and train people in medical professions to increase their ability to apply ethics in their work, be it in medical research or medical practice. Due to this guiding principle, the HUC-UC Ethics Center has had ongoing partnerships with the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine and the Academic Coalition for Jewish Bioethics, of which the HUC-UC Ethics Center is a founding member. Dr. Jonathan Cohen, the HUC-UC Ethics Center's director, has also engaged in faculty development at the UC College of Medicine, instructing faculty on ethics and research funding. We have also offered public programs relating to topics such as "End-of Life Treatment and Care: Religious and Secular Perspective" and "Ethical Dilemmas that Arise When Offering Emergency Care in Time of War." The HUC-UC Ethics Center also provides continuing education opportunities for medical professionals, for example physicians and nurses.

Academic Coalition for Jewish Bioethics
Online Journal for Hospital Ethics Committees
Previous Programs
Academic Coalition for Jewish Bioethics

The Academic Coalition for Jewish Bioethics (ACJB) was co-founded by HUC-UC Ethics Center in collaboration with Kalsman Institute, HUC-JIR; Center for Bioethics, University of Pennsylvania; Reconstructionist Rabbinical College; University of Judaism; the Louis Finkelstein Institute for Religious and Social Studies, Jewish Theological Seminary; and the Shalom Hartman Institute in Israel to engage the Jewish community in considering biomedical decisions. The Coalition advocates the development of a variety of methodologies that bring clarity and authenticity to difficult life choices. The ACJB seeks to broaden and deepen bioethical conversation in Jewish life and to create models of cooperation across the spectrum of Jewish practice. Its inaugural conference, "Addressing Quality of Life: A Challenge for Jewish Bioethics" was held from February 29-March 1, 2004. The second conference, entitled "Medicine, Money & Morals: The Jewish Obligation to Heal Confronts Healthcare Economics," took place in Philadelphia from April 3-4, 2005, and the third conference, "In the Divine Image: Creation, Procreation, and the New Genetics," was held September 10-11, 2006.

Nearly one hundred scholars, research scientists, physicians, therapists, and other prominent leaders of the Jewish community attended the 2006 conference in New York. It was divided into two parts: a consideration of the issues raised by our new-found scientific competencies; and sessions on the pathways of Jewish hermeneutics when one attempts to apply the tradition to a genetic science that was unheard of when the tradition was constructed. Presentations ventured into some of the more complicated and nuanced issues arising from new and emerging possibilities in genetic science. Shall we engineer birth to exclude disabilities? Can we try to create a more productive human being? Can we select out creatures who might be predisposed to certain diseases? And what will all of this say to the meanings which we as Jewishly committed moderns have attached to the very notion of Creation? If we could solve large social problems by making compromises with rabbinic tradition, would we do so? And, if we would, what would be the means by which we derive our conclusions?

The next ACJB conference will be held alongside the annual meeting of the Society for Jewish Bioethics, slated for January 2008 in Atlanta.

For more information on the ACJB, please contact the HUC-UC Ethics Center at 513-221-1875 x3367 or via email:, or contact the ACJB directly at (website:

Online Journal for Hospital Ethics Committees

HUC-UC Ethics Center and University of Cincinnati, College of Medicine are developing and implementing a unique database for area hospitals. The goal of this database is to improve the work of hospital ethics committees by enabling them to access cases that come before other ethics committees. Ethics committees in hospitals often work in isolation, without regard to issues raised by other hospital ethics committees in similar cases. This password protected database will afford these committees access to information that will facilitate and improve their work. Within one year, the database will be converted into an online journal. This pioneering effort may inspire the development of other regional and national databases.

Previous Programs

2008 Annual Meeting of Academic Coalition for Jewish Bioethics (January 3-6, 2008 - Hilton Atlanta)
The Academic Coalition for Jewish Bioethics, a joint venture of ethics centers and related programs at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, will be holding its annual meeting on Sunday, January 6 in Atlantic, Georgia. Topics concerning the study of bioethics will include: The Indeterminacy of Rabbinic Ethics, A Jewish Perspective on Genetic Screening and Prophylactic Interventions to Prevent Cancer, Pluralism in Jewish Bioethics, Non-heart Beating Donor (NHBD) Organ Transplantation: A Jewish Bioethical Analysis and Pre-Implantation Genetic Haplotyping, Pre-Embryos and Jewish Law.

Ethical Dilemmas that Arise When Offering Emergency Care in Time of War (September 19, 2003)
HUC-UC Ethics Center presented a luncheon lecture with Avraham I. Rivkind, M.D., head of the Department of Surgery and Trauma Unit at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. This lecture addressed the ethical issues of providing emergency care in times of war. Continuing education credit was offered to physicians and nurses. The lecture was co-sponsored by the Cincinnati Chapter of Hadassah, in cooperation with University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and College of Nursing, and the support of Daryl L. Gildenblatt, M.D.

End-of-Life Treatment and Care: Religious and Secular Perspectives
(October 26, 2001)
At the invitation of University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Nursing, the HUC-UC Ethics Center offered an Ethics symposium on end-of-life issues as part of the Ninth National Conference on Nursing Administration Research at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza. The program offered clinical leaders, researchers, educators, and graduate students a forum for discussing issues related to nursing's impact on health outcomes.

The keynote address, "Hastening Death-Drawing the Line," was delivered by Robert V. Brody, M.D., a primary care physician who teaches in the Primary Care Medicine residency program at San Francisco General Hospital, where he is Chief of the Pain Consultation Clinic and Chair of the Ethics Committee. Presentations at the Ethics Symposium included: "The Nurse's Role in End-of-Life Care: Assisting Patient and Family with Making Decisions" by Cathy Beumer, RNC, MSN, Clinical Nurse Specialist at The Jewish Hospital, Cincinnati, and member of The Jewish Hospital Ethics Committee; "Life and Dignity: Jewish Perspectives" by Jonathan Cohen, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Talmud and Halachic Literature at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Adjunct Professor at University of Cincinnati College of Law, Director of the HUC-UC Ethics Center, and member of The Jewish Hospital Ethics Committee; "Facing End-of-Life Decisions in a Hi-Tech Medical Culture: The Moment to 'Never Abandon Care'" by Reverend Ronald M. Ketteler, Associate Professor of Theology at Thomas More College, and Director of Ecumenism for the Diocese of Covington; "A Legal Perspective on End-of-Life Nursing Care" by Paul Nidich, J.D., Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at UC College of Medicine, and member of the UC and Jewish Hospitals Ethics Committees; "Final Judgments: Ethics Consultation at the End-of-Life" by Terry M. Perlin, Ph.D., Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies/Consultant in Medical Ethics, Miami University, and member of The Jewish Hospital Ethics Committee. The symposium offered continuing medical education credit.

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