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:

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.

 

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

"Intersexion" – November 2022

Tuesday, November 15th, 2022: 4:30PM to 6PM.

This event was held online via Zoom.

Discussion of the documentary, "Intersexion," and the ethical issues it raises with expert panelists, Mani Bruce MitchellElizabeth ReisBarbara Chubak, and Sean Saifa Wall with Sandra Soo-Jin Lee moderating.

"The Eugenics Crusade" – May 2022

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2022: 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, 2021: 1PM to 3PM.  

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, 2021: 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, 2021: 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, 2020: 3PM to 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, 2020: 3:30PM to 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, 2020: 2PM to 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, 2019: 3PM to 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.

Code of Conduct and Related Policies

By registering for Bioethics in Film events I agree to abide by the following statements:

CODE OF CONDUCT

Our community of scholars has attempted to nurture an academic culture that embraces the importance of diversity, supports the mentorship of young scholars, cultivates the value of interdisciplinarity, exemplifies intellectual and ethical integrity, and respects differences of opinion and perspective. With that academic culture in mind, the organizers and hosts of Bioethics in Film are committed to providing a safe and productive meeting environment that fosters open dialogue and the exchange of scientific ideas, promotes equal opportunities and treatment for all participants, and is free of harassment and discrimination. All participants are expected to treat others with respect and consideration, follow venue rules, and alert organizers, staff or security of any dangerous situations or anyone in distress. Speakers are expected to uphold standards of scientific integrity and professional ethics. The Columbia Ethics organizers recognize that there are areas of science that are controversial. Bioethics in Film can serve as an effective forum to consider and debate science-relevant viewpoints in an orderly, respectful, and fair manner. These considerations apply to all attendees, speakers, staff, and guests at Bioethics in Film events and apply in both in-person and virtual contexts.

Columbia University prohibits any form of harassment, be it sexual, physical, or verbal ad in-person or online. Harassing behavior includes, but is not limited to, inappropriate or intimidating behavior and language, unwelcome jokes or comments, sustained disruption, unwanted touching or attention, offensive images, photography without permission, and stalking.

Harassment should be reported immediately to Columbia Ethics staff in person (if in the immediate vicinity), by email to mhe_ethics@cumc.columbia.edu, or by calling or texting 917-532-3090. For immediate response to a dangerous situation call Public Safety at 212-305-7979 (Medical Center) or 212-854-5555 (Morningside Campus). Sanctions may range from verbal warning, to removal from the meeting without refund, to notifying the appropriate authorities at Columbia University (including the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action for Discrimination, Harassment & Gender-Based Misconduct complaints (212­-854-­5511) and/or with Public Safety at 212­-854-­5555)

CONFLICT OF INTEREST

The Division of Ethics requires clear disclosures (including a statement on slide or poster presentations) from all presenters regarding any financial holdings, funding sources, or affiliations that might raise questions of bias or be perceived to have potentially influenced presentation content. Division of Ethics organizers expect that all speakers, organizers, and moderators are committed to full, forthright, and transparent disclosure of any potential conflicts of interest. The organizers have not prescribed an exhaustive list of potential conflicts; rather, we ask presenters to make a good faith effort to identify any issues that might reasonably be expected to raise conflict-of-interest questions.

PHOTOGRAPHY AND SOCIAL MEDIA

The Division of Ethics aims to encourage presentation of the latest findings by protecting researchers sharing unpublished information and protecting patient privacy. By default, attendees are prohibited from taking photos, videos, or audio recordings of speakers presenting their slides or posters as per the guidelines below. Presenters are requested to announce at the beginning of their presentation whether or not photos, recording and/or sharing of their presentation on social media are permitted during or following their presentation. 

Bioethics in Film attendees and participants are encouraged to participate in social media activities about the conference by using the hashtag #ColumbiaEthics.  Discussion of general topics, speakers, and presentations is permitted as a way to briefly summarize or highlight material and the conference in general within the following guidelines:

  • Taking photos, videos or audiotapes of slides, posters, presenters, or questions and answers are not permitted without explicit permission by the presenter
  • Copyright and other intellectual property laws must be followed
  • Brief quotes from sessions may be shared unless the speaker explicitly asks that it not be shared (presenters are strongly encouraged to give or withhold permission at the beginning of their session)
  • Social media posts cannot imply any kind of endorsement by Columbia Ethics