Campus: CSU, Northridge -- July 17, 2000


CSUN Bioethicist to Represent U.S. at International Medical Ethics Education Meeting

Miriam Cotler, professor and chair of the Health Sciences Department at Cal State Northridge, will represent the United States at a weeklong international meeting this month on medical ethics education in Geneva, Switzerland.

Cotler will join a group of five men from Europe, Asia and Africa starting Thursday, July 20, to discuss the integration of medical ethics into the curriculum of medical schools. The steering committee group, known as the International Project for Medical Ethics Education, will make recommendations about the medical ethics curriculum and process for medical and allied health schools and organizations around the world.

Cotler is an expert in health care ethics and has been teaching at Cal State Northridge since 1986. She also is a bioethics consultant to several hospitals in the Valley region, and is co-chair of the Los Angeles County Bar Association's Bioethics Committee.

Medical ethics vary greatly in different regions of the world. "For example in Japan, medical professionals have not disclosed terminal illnesses to elderly people," Cotler said. "In other societies, physicians may not report child and elder abuse."

In the U.S., Israel and other countries, major issues are whether human organs should be for sale and who should have access to reproductive technology. Throughout the world, the physician's role is in question regarding torture, violence and domestic abuse. "Because ethical issues are so critical, we need to be looking at cross-cultural similarities and differences," Cotler said.

The steering committee will explore technical assistance, conferences and research to assist in developing consensus on these issues and make recommendations to the International Center for Health Law and Ethics, a research institute and center at Haifa University in Israel.

The Geneva meeting results from an international conference on medical ethics and ethics education in medical schools that was hosted by various United Nations agencies in Eilat, Israel in February. Delegates from 150 countries discussed ethical cases and issues as well as teaching methods for medical ethics in medical schools.

Cotler was named to the steering committee of the International Center for Health Law and Ethics because of her participation at the Israel conference and the paper she presented there on the "Clinical and Ethical Rationale and Implications `Do Not Resuscitate' Orders."


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