Bioethics in Film: From Screen to Seminar

Bioethics in Film: From Screen to Seminar - Columbia University, Division of Ethics

This series uses popular films, documentaries, and television as tools for exploring critical issues under the broad umbrella of bioethics. We welcome anyone to attend these events to engage in multidisciplinary conversation with bioethics experts and other specialists.

Coming Attractions:

November 15th, 2022 from 4:30 PM to 6 PM ET Discussion of the film "Intersexion" and the bioethical issues it raises. Stay tuned for details on our panel of speakers. Virtual event. Registration Link forthcoming
January 26th, 2023 from 6 PM to 8 PM ET Discussion of the film "Seizing Hope." Featuring Judy Illes (University of British Columbia; one of the films Executive Producers) and Ruth Ottman (Columbia Mailman School of Public Health), with Sandra Soo-Jin Lee and Robert Klitzman co-moderating. Virtual event. Registration Link forthcoming

Stay tuned for more events in the 2022-2023 academic year. Please direct any questions or comments to Shawna Benston at sfb2132@cumc.columbia.edu.


Past Events

"The Eugenics Crusade" – May 2022

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2PM to 3:30PM. 

This event was held online via Zoom. Please note that this event was not recorded.

Discussion of the documentary, "The Eugenics Crusade," and the ethical issues it raises with expert panelists, Robert Klitzman and Erica Spiegel.

Where to watch the film: Columbia affiliates can view the full film for free here.

This event was hosted by Columbia's Office of Research Compliance & Training.

"Remembering Anarcha" – December 2021

Thursday, December 16th, 1PM to 3:00PM.  

This event was held online via Zoom. Please note that this event was not recorded.

Discussion of the documentary "Remembering Anarcha," about Dr. James Marion Sims' controversial legacy as the "father of modern gynecology" who conducted experiments on enslaved women.

This event welcomed:

Speaker Bios

Where to view the film: See options here. To watch for free, click here or here.

Sample Bibliography for this Topic:

This event was hosted by Columbia's Office of Research Compliance & Training.

"Miss Evers' Boys" – June 2021

Wednesday, June 9th, 2PM to 3:30PM.  

This event was held online via Zoom. Please note that this event was not recorded.

Discussion of "Miss Evers' Boys." View the full film here (available to only Columbia affiliates).

This event featured Harriet Washington and Robert Fullilove in a discussion moderated by Hilda Hutcherson and involving audience participation.

This event was hosted by Columbia's Office of Research Compliance & Training.

"Gattaca" – March 2021

Monday, March 8th, 2pm to 3:30pm.

This event was held online via Zoom. Please note that this event was not recorded.

Discussion of "Gattaca."

This event featured NYU's Arthur Caplan and Columbia's Maya Sabatello in a discussion involving audience participation and moderated by Shawna Benston.

This event was hosted by Columbia's Office of Research Compliance & Training.

"The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" – December 2020

Thursday, December 10th, 3pm - 4:30pm.

This event was held online via Zoom. Please note that this event was not recorded.

Discussion of "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks."  View the full film here (available to only Columbia affiliates).

This event featured a full Columbia panel including Robert Fullilove and Jacquelyn Taylor in a discussion involving audience participation and moderated by Sandra Soo-Jin Lee.

This event was hosted by Columbia's Office of Research Compliance & Training.

"Charly" – June 2020

Wednesday, June 24th, 3:30pm – 5pm.

This event was held online via Zoom. Please note that this event was not recorded.

This event focused on the 1968 film "Charly."  Featuring Columbia’s Paul Appelbaum and the University of British Columbia's Judy Illes in a discussion involving audience participation and moderated by Shawna Benston.

This event was hosted by Columbia's Office of Research Compliance & Training.

"Voices from the Grave" – February 2020

Monday, February 24th: 2-4pm with light reception to follow, Joseph D. Jamail Lecture Hall in Columbia Journalism School (2950 Broadway)

This event focused on the 2010 documentary "Voices from the Grave" and the research leading to the film and book that inspired it. Co-hosted by the Office of Research Compliance and Training and the Human Research Protection Office/IRBs. Featuring Columbia’s Mary Marshall Clark and the documentary’s producer Ed Moloney in a discussion involving audience participation and moderated by Columbia’s Geraldine Downey.

This event was hosted by Columbia's Office of Research Compliance & Training.

"Three Identical Strangers" – October 2019

Monday, October 21st, 3-5pm, Vagelos Education Center Room 201

This event focused on the 2018 documentary "Three Identical Strangers." Triplets who had been adopted in infancy by three different families in infancy accidentally reconnect as young adults and ultimately discover nefarious reasons for their initial separation. Audience members came prepared to experience and investigate a riveting narrative of a NYC-based family who were unknowing subjects of an intense research study with wide-ranging implications. Co-hosted by the Office of Research Compliance and Training and the Human Research Protection Office/IRBs. Featuring Columbia's Robert Klitzman and Neil Schluger in a discussion moderated by Shawna Benston and Challace Pahlevan-Ibrekic.