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Yale Bioethics

Intern Bios 2009

Jonathan M. Anthony

At the beginning of my college career, I planned to study business at San Diego State University but switched my major to philosophy after a course on ethics.  Ironically, when I switched majors I was unfamiliar with the field of bioethics and was planning to go to medical school after graduation.  I merely had a slight interest in philosophy and saw the major as somewhat of a hobby alongside a pre-medical curriculum.  It was not until I stumbled into a position at a local IRB (that I did not take) and realized how well the fields of biology and philosophy complemented one another that I decided to pursue a career in bioethics as well.  What draws me to the field is its inherent interdisciplinary nature and the ability to have insightful conversations with people from diverse backgrounds about relevant topics.  Immersing myself in the field of bioethics has already led me on an amazing journey and I can only imagine what lies in store for me in the future.

Sydney Axson

I once believed that science could act as the rationale for any medical decision.  However, in time and experience, I realized that there is more to medicine than just science.  There is a humane and emotional element that dictates both how we practice and value health care.  I first pursued bioethics while working at The Access Project in Boston, MA.  While at The Access Project, I focused on barriers to care and the management of hospital and patient debt.  While working there I was introduced to the struggles of the un/underinsured, and to how financing health care needs can leave individuals and families with inescapable financial burdens.  My current research interests include clinical trials involving children and vulnerable populations, informed consent, patient and doctor autonomy, and resource allocation.  I hope to work on the legal manifestations of bioethics and contribute to the creation of a system that will make our technology more available to our people.  Upon graduating from Syracuse University, I will take the necessary measures that will allow me to dedicate my career to bridging the gap between scientific progress and health policy.

Elizabeth Balough

After graduating from the high school program of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, I joined the corps of the Vienna State Opera Ballet. I danced professionally for four years thereafter with The Washington Ballet and independent choreographers in New York and North Carolina. Sustaining a debilitating injury, I joined the staff of nationally recognized performing arts physical therapy clinic in Washington, D.C. as a research assistant, where I conduct a phenomenological study on the experience of injury in the arts. Fascinated by the intersection of the humanities and the hard sciences, I spent the past semester at Georgetown University studying bioethics and the history of health policy. I intend to return to Columbia University in the fall to pursue my interests in philosophy, cognitive science, and the history of medicine. In my spare time I enjoy volunteering in the PICU, baking vegan desserts, learning to play the piano, and teaching yoga.

Justin Berk

Originally from Amarillo, Texas, I have just finished my junior year at Yale University as the Political Science - Health Policy major. I am currently enrolled in the 5 year B.A./M.P.H. Program at the School of Public Health, with a concentration in Health Management.  I was the coordinator of the Public Health Coalition at Yale and Director of AIDS Walk New Haven, a non-profit that raises funds for local organizations that provide services to the HIV/AIDS community.  I have also served as a publisher/writer for P.H. Magazine: The Yale Journal of Public Health and the finance head of the Dwight Hall socially responsible investment fund.  I am interested in theories of social justice and how they are put into practice in the medical field.  I also really enjoy corny jokes, meeting new people, and discovering good YouTube videos.  

Carrie Broughton

I’m currently a Year 4 medical student at Keele University, UK and will graduate in July 2010.  I am a very mature (almost geriatric) student and have had a career in oral and maxillofacial surgery for 10 years before coming back to medical school.  I graduated in dentistry from Glasgow University in 1997, having already collected a BSc in Microbiology 2 years previously.  I hope to now move my career direction towards pediatrics.  I have always had a keen interest in medical ethics and plan to look further into pediatric-related bioethical issues, perhaps in relation to genetic and paternity testing and the implications this can have on children and their families.  I plan to further my education in the future with a legal qualification related to medical ethics. My learning hasn’t always been at university level – in 2005 I qualified as a yoga teacher and regularly taught until I went back to school.  I continue to lecture in anatomy and physiology to trainee yoga teachers and had started a yoga therapy course, training with Kausthub Desikachar.  I have an interest in complementary therapies and firmly believe that they have a place in 21st century medical practice alongside medicine and surgery.  I am very grateful for the opportunity to study in this Bioethics summer school at Yale – while it is still part of my course in medical school, I am looking forward to discussing the wide range of bioethics issues from such a diverse and well-read group of students.  We have a huge amount to learn from each other in addition to the presenters in lectures and seminars – a wealth of knowledge we can take to enrich our practicing careers and lives as a whole!

Jennifer Chevinsky

I am a junior in the Combined Program in Medicine at the University of Connecticut, majoring in bioethics in cross-cultural perspectives with a double minor in religion and philosophy.  Although I have done a fair amount of lab work and shadowing of physicians, my real interests lay within the interaction betweens the different medical spheres and the corresponding ethics, especially as it relates to religion.  As the president of Hillel at my school, religion plays a large role in my life; but my religious interests are not limited to Judaism, specifically.  I have always enjoyed partaking in my friends’ religious and cultural activities, if even just to gain insight about their background and perspectives.  I also interned last summer at the Georgetown Center for Clinical bioethics, where I learned a lot more about Catholicism, researching specific bioethical issues in light of this framework.  I continued my study of Catholic bioethics in Spain, on a bioethics trip through Case Western Reserve University. Additionally, I took a class in Oriental Philosophy and Religion this past semester, where I was able to learn about various traditions and write about the influence they have had on the medical system in India.  Although much of my past research and interest has been in end-of-life issues, more recently, I have been interested in neonatology and genetic counseling with fertility treatments. Overall, I find the realm of bioethics to be both challenging and expansive. Mostly, I am interested in bioethics because it is a field where everyday I learn something new and intriguing that not only applies practically, but also guides me in shaping my more theoretical views on life and humanity.

Rachel Fabi

I am a rising junior at Yale University majoring in Political Science with an interdisciplinary focus in Public Health Policy, and I hope to enter the Yale School of Public Health and Epidemiology BA/MPH program next winter. I became interested in Bioethics after taking Steve Latham's Bioethics and Law lecture in the fall of my sophomore year, and I have been hooked ever since. My main interest in Bioethics is justice in resource allocation, especially as it applies to organ transplantation. I am also involved with the planning of Model United Nations conferences on campus through the Yale International Relations Association, and hopes to someday be involved in rebuilding the public health infrastructure in Kosovo.

Allison Grady

I am a student at the Yale School of Nursing, where I will graduate in 2011 as a pediatric nurse practitioner. I graduated in 2003 from Smith College, where I double majored in religion and government. After graduation, I worked as the volunteer and special projects coordinator for the Middlesex United Way in Middletown, CT. In 2004, I became an editor of Virtual Mentor, the ethics journal of the American Medical Association in Chicago, Illinois. While in Chicago, I was a participant on two institutional review boards at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and was a hospice and neonatal intensive care unit volunteer. I hope to pursue a career in pediatric oncology and my ethics interest is with communication among clinicians, patients, and parents in pediatric oncology settings.

Jennifer Hardy

I am a recent graduate of Biola University and the Torrey Honors Institute, both major influences in my academic pursuits and faith-integrated life. I spent much of my four years at Biola organizing educational events and starting programs to help Southern California women in crisis pregnancies. This August, I am joining Milstein, Adelman, and Kreger LLP in Santa Monica as a legal assistant for a one-year appointment. In the fall of 2010, I plan on attending law school to earn a Masters in Bioethics and a J.D. in Constitutional Law. I hope to work for a non-profit corporation part-time and raise a family, as well as publish scholarly journal articles about bioethics and law, and fictional short stories. My interdisciplinary interests and training lie in American history, analytic philosophy, education, cultural issues of sex and marriage, and bioethics. I spend my non-academic time with my boyfriend, my piano, and my horses in Southern California.

Jaazzmina Hussain

The interest in bioethics is a confluence of two worlds; the one in which I currently reside, the medical world, and the one which I aim to inhabit, the legal world. The desired direction change occurred to me when, during perusals of various periodicals, I found my attention diverted from headline-grabbing research, and instead held by the two-page editorials on stem-cell research, or the ethics of screening programmes. My training thus far has already presented to me myriad of situations, both emotive and thought-provoking, involving end-of-life ethics, healthcare distribution and rationing, and issues surrounding reproductive choices. The opportunities to discuss the personal and wider social impacts of such events within our home course are limited, and so to be accepted into a program which encourages precisely that is a welcome change. I am extremely fortunate to be given the chance to study at a university well-renowned for the intellectual excellence of its students, and I am certain that a successful completion of the summer school will stand me in great stead for the tortuous path I will tread to reach my ideal career. 

Academic interests: Medical law, especially clinical negligence and malpractice litigation and reproductive law; assisted reproduction ethics, perinatal/neonatal ethics and pediatric ethics.

Extra-curricular interests: Fencing (highest national ranking for 2008-9 = 118)

Career aspirations: Medico-legal work for Trusts

Christian Krautkramer

I am a student at the University of Minnesota School of Law. I have an undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Master of Public Health in Health Law, Bioethics, and Human Rights from Boston University. Prior to law school, I worked for several years on the staff of the Ethics Group of the American Medical Association (AMA), where I worked on issues in health policy and bioethics including health care access, medical professionalism, public trust, and medical education reform. I was also a researcher with the Health Research Educational Trust, the non-profit research affiliate of the American Hospital Association, for a project on health care disparities and medical privacy, and also served as a consultant to the AMA Public Health Group and Stanford Law School. In addition to the summer internship, I'll also be the teaching assistant for the Center's Law and Bioethics seminar. I like classic rock, BBQ, and the Green Bay Packers, but not in that order.

Patrick Murphy

I have been actively engaged in the study of Ethics since my days at Loyola School in New York. I discovered Bioethics during my freshman year of college and have been taken with it ever since. I am especially interested in ethical questions surrounding perinatal and end-of-life care as well as informed consent. When not studying Bioethics, I enjoy trying to make people laugh and practicing my Italian with friends. In the Fall, I will enter Saint Louis University School of Law, where I have been named a Dean’s Scholar. I plan to concentrate in Health Law, and am considering jointly pursuing a Ph.D. in Health Care Ethics.

Lee Nutini

My name is Lee Nutini, and I care about everything.  The nature of my care stems from my understanding of the social contract within which our daily lives are navigated.  This social contract, one which I uphold as the basis of any ethic, ought to be expanded to the fullest extent...an aim which has faltered in generations past.  Our care for one another--what we owe to one another--creates within us a moral imperative, an obligation to give the best of ourselves to the wellness of the whole.  Our own excellence ought to be utilized for others, and such reciprocity should continue eternally.  Now, that is where I stand in terms of our world.  What I see more specifically in my everyday dealings with others is an invasive pain, an insecurity that cannot easily be ignored.  My interests are in improving the lives of as many people as possible before my own death, and the best way to do so, in my view, is to deal with an intimate problem that reigns over many if not most of those in our culture.  The individual's struggle with health, nutrition, and obesity is so pervasive that it seems no success in life carries the same satisfaction as a success in one's struggle with weight.  Seeing the faces of people every day who I am sure deal with these issues, whether they admit it or not, often brings me to tears.  I once struggled with the same issues, and to an extent I still do.  It is my job as an empowered and bright individual to bring about change in the way our culture feeds itself.  We have been poisoning one another for far too long.  We have forgotten the human behind the consumer.  Little is known about the nature of the foods in our stores, and little is known about the long-term effects on the body.  My calling is one to change the food culture in America.  This will require much political, social, and environmental transformation.  It must be done as soon as possible.  With the obesity rates rising in America and elsewhere, we cannot afford to wait.  Effecting change in the way in which our bodies are fed, felt, and understood is what I want to do for the rest of my life.  I hope that with my efforts, more individuals will return to their lives with a weight lifted from their shoulders, with movement returned to their legs, and with renewed ability to work within the world for the world's people.  I pledge my brain and sinew so that a burden, which had kept those of my society from the confidence, security, and happiness necessary to leading a fulfilling life, might be lifted.

Wei Ouyang

I completed a bachelor’s in Law in China, a Masters in Health, Population and Society from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), and a LLM from the University of Edinburgh. For 2007 to 2010, I was awarded University of Edinburgh College of Humanities and Social Sciences Studentship and Overseas Award to undertake a doctoral degree in law. I am now a PhD candidate at the Law School of the University of Edinburgh. My research interests include: medical law, healthcare governance, medical professional ethics, professionalism, biopower and biopolitics. Before attending the bioethics internship at Yale, I finished a research project sponsored by the French Centre for Research on Contemporary China (CEFC) to conduct a fieldwork about professionals’ legal consciousnesses and bioethics in China. The empirical project will contribute to my doctoral research, which aims at developing a theoretical framework for analyzing the relationship between healthcare governance, medical law and bioethics in contemporary China and showing how it has been applied in empirical research on Chinese medical practitioners' decision-making.

Alexis Paton

I approach the biomedical world as someone who has spent time on both sides of the bioethics coin: as both a scientist and now as a philosopher in training. During my training as a biologist, I felt that little was discussed concerning the social consequences of our scientific actions and I was, and remain so, very uncomfortable with this idea.  It seems to me that science and medicine do not happen in a bubble, what we create in our labs and hospitals are subject to public opinion and moral code.  Due to this conviction, I chose to pursue a Masters degree in philosophy in order to broaden my understanding of the field of bioethics.  Since arriving at the University of British Columbia I have been working on exactly the issues that interest me: the intersection between science and society.  In the future I hope to look more closely at ethics surrounding the autonomy of fertility and infertility patients, and why certain conceptions of autonomy are better suited to different medical fields.  I am particularly concerned with what it means to be properly informed and when an individual is no longer autonomous. As an extension of this I feel that bioethical education is crucial to being a fully autonomous person.  While post-secondary academics are important, I feel that education is crucial at all levels, and for that reason when I’m not working on my Masters work I teach science and ethics to a group of British Columbian high school students.  I hope to one day work as a bioethicist, as well as teach in a university setting.

Jennifer Ramos

I am a senior at Yale University studying Political Science interested in pursuing a career in law. I did not realize I even had an interest in bioethics until my sophomore year, while looking for courses involving issues relating to stem cells. During my freshman year, I took a seminar on stem cells that sought to explain the science of the emerging study while trying to grapple with the politics of it. I became captivated by the debates that ensued in the class and the idea of how anyone could potentially be right in their assessment of whether embryonic stem cells could be legal or not depending on their line of reasoning. Seeking to continue studying it, while looking for classes my sophomore year, I found only one course that spoke about stem cells—a course in bioethics. There I not only discovered stem cells were a “bioethical” issue, but also that there were dozens of other topics that are just as fascinating, all nestled within this very intriguing field. I continued to pursue this interest by taking several more courses relating to bioethics. My current interests in bioethics relate to end-of-life care and the autonomy of individuals with disabilities.

Tuua Ruutiainen

I am a senior at the University of Pennsylvania majoring in the Biological Basis of Behavior. After attending an IRB meeting at Johns Hopkins, I discovered my interest in bioethics and enthusiastically sought out the Penn (Undergraduate) Bioethics Journal and Society. The thriving bioethics community at Penn has allowed me to explore my interests in public health ethics, the ethics of reproductive technologies, and the cross-section between religion and bioethics. Last spring, I organized a panel discussion on the ethics of in-vitro fertilization from different religious perspectives. I also enjoy playing the concert harp and meeting others interested in Scandinavia (I was born in Turku, Finland).

Caroline Seery

I have luckily been introduced to bioethics via a more nontraditional way. Unfortunately, being an undergraduate at Columbia University, I do not have access to take a purely bioethically-based schedule. Instead, my Neuroscience and Behavior major and pre-med studies have merged with the philosophically-based core curriculum, and have introduced me to the bioethical issues that plague the world. Throughout high school, I dedicated my time to volunteering at the Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged as well as partaking in the Association for the Help of Retarded Children, where I was able to experience the daily struggles and rewards that routinely fazed disabled children. These experiences have extended my interests to the issues specifically targeting people with disabilities, such as procreative liberty and issues of neonatal care. The treatment of elderly people and end-of-life care are also areas in which I hope to dedicate my time throughout my professional career. I believe receiving this type of background in bioethics is essential for my future in medicine and clamping down on these ethical issues will increase the effectiveness of decision-making in tense situations.

Virginia L. Sheftall

I am a law student at the University of South Carolina School of Law, Class of 2010. My interest in Bioethics began during my high school career, during which time I attended UCLA for The National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine in the summer of 2000. The Forum's focus that year was on a variety of bioethical issues, but I immediately became enamored with the myriad of issues surrounding embryonic stem cell research (ESCR). My interest in that topic continued into my undergraduate studies, which took me to Sydney, Australia during the summer of 2003. After graduation from college and a brief respite from academia, I enrolled in law school with the ultimate goal of aiding the Federal and State government in the development and implementation of law and public policy stances on embryonic stem cell research, therapy and treatment. I continue to believe in the value of this research and hope that it can be undertaken in such a way that will educate Americans on the precise issues and allay the concerns that many continue to have. I am delighted to add to my understanding of ESCR, as well as a variety of other bioethical issues, from the interdisciplinary approach of the Yale Bioethics Center.

Monica Slinkard

I am currently studying for my Masters in Nursing at Yale University School of Nursing, focusing on women's health. I have been involved in bioethics projects in the past with topics such as assisted reproductive technologies and the law and the intersection of faith and science. This summer I hope to focus on bioethical issues surrounding women's reproductive choices in this country with the advent of new reproductive technologies.

Monica Vucko

I currently attend Queen’s University, a Canadian institute located in southern Ontario. I am completing a degree in Health Studies, with a minor in Biopsychology. My interest in the subject emerged as a result of taking a course on bioethics, observing issues throughout my time working for a physician, and my experience in the hospital environment. Areas of bioethics that I am most interested in include genetic screening, genetic enhancement, surrogacy, IVF, and other issues surrounding the creation and modification of human life.  After completing my time at Queen’s, I anticipate receiving a Master’s degree in Health Management or Health Care Policy in collaboration with a degree in Bioethics.

Aileen Walsh

My interest in ethics began when I studied for my first degree in Biomedical Sciences. In 2002, I began my post-graduate studies in Medical Ethics as a nurse lecturer and I am currently in the second year of my Doctorate. I'm planning to do my thesis on the issue of responsibility and moral distress in nurses, particularly when asked to perform an action that they do not believe to be good. I would like to consider when is one responsible for one's acts? Can one perform and act and absolve oneself from responsibility for its consequences and if so does that allow for another sort of responsibility or a freedom that is beneficial to patients?   I'm also in the process of writing a paper for the international nursing ethics conference in September which will look at the media response (and ethical arguments presented) to the nurse who was struck off the professional register for undercover filming of vulnerable patients for a well known news programme 'Panorama'.

Michael Young

Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, I presently attend the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where I am a member of the Honors College. Prior to beginning college, I spent a year abroad in Israel, studying advanced topics in Jewish ethics, philosophy and law. I am currently in my junior year and have elected to study philosophy and biology. I view bioethics as the natural interface of these two important disciplines. My interest in bioethics has been enriched by my volunteer experience as a Patient-Family Advocate in the Emergency Department at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, where I have been exposed to myriad real-life scenarios in which issues central to bioethics emerged. A task of particular interest to me within the field of bioethics is examining the philosophical framework and ethical theory grounding standards of care in medicine and public health. Aside from my academic pursuits, I serve as the Founding Director of Healing Harmonies, a student-run volunteer organization which connects student musicians with the elderly and ill in arranging musical performances. On campus, I serve as the chapter President of S.T.A.N.D., a student organization committed to raising awareness about genocide around the world, am Public Relations Chair for the UMBC Bioethics Student Association, am on the editorial board for Bartleby - an undergraduate creative-arts journal, and fence for the UMBC fencing team. Following graduation, I plan to pursue a career in medicine and to continue my studies in philosophy on the graduate level.