Genetics, ethics at play

Have you ever considered genetic testing? What would you do if the test revealed unexpected information about you or your family?

On June 12 you can join faculty from Baylor College of Medicine’s Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy to consider the complexities of genetic testing and participation in clinical research trials. The play will be held at 6:30 p.m. at DiverseWorks, 4102 Fannin Street.

The center is sponsoring an event “Bioethics on Stage,” an interactive play that brings to life the process of consent and disclosure of genomic findings.

According to Leon Jaworski Professor of Biomedical Ethics and Director Dr. Amy McGuire, it gets people thinking about the issues in different and unique ways.

“And it’s fun because the readers tend to get very into their roles, and the audience can get very engaged in discussion about the issues,” she said.

The readers for the event include familiar faces like Texas Medical Center President Bobby Robbins, President for the Partnership for Baylor College of Medicine Doe Florsheim, Partner at Winston & Strawn LLP Melanie Gray, and Baylor genetics faculty members Drs. Reed Sutton and Lori Potocki.

The play is a work by psychologist and bioethicist Lynn W. Bush and law professor and bioethicist Karen H. Rothenberg, who write plays related to research ethics, particularly as it relates to genetics.

McGuire said their works have been presented at major conferences like the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities and the American Society of Human Genetics and Genomics.

“The Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy is committed to creating a shared intellectual environment that facilitates discussion among lay people, as well as members of the larger medical center community. It is our goal at this event to share information and engage the audience in discussion about some of the ethical issues that we face every day in medicine and research,” McGuire said.

McGuire, who will be the play’s narrator, along with the help of her cast, will tell the story of the fictional Friedman family and examine the impact on each family member of making decisions about participation in a research protocol and genetic testing.

Audience members serve as the ethics consultants, and between scenes will discuss the ethical dilemma the characters face.

Admission for the event is free and open to the public, but you must RSVP to Lindsay Feuerman by email at Lindsay.Feuerman@bcm.edu or phone at (713) 798-1513.

-By Audrey M. Marks

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