PANEL: Social Justice and the Patient–Doctor Relationship

June 13, 2018

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Discussion Panel Focus: Does addressing matters of “social justice” and “population health” while caring for patients interfere with a doctor’s ethical responsibility to the patients he or she cares for?

Doctors are increasingly requested to handle social aspects of medical care.

Government programs, third-party insurance companies and other interest groups—in their efforts to promote quality healthcare for all – increasingly require doctors to perform more than the main medical functions for which they were trained. Doctors have an ethical responsibility to each and every patient. Do the tenets of “social justice” support this outcome?

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Representing that the tenets of social justice are not compatible with the ethical requirements of the patient-doctor relationship:

Dr. Robert S. Emmons is a Board Certified Psychiatrist / Neurologist – Clinical Neurophysiology practicing in Burlington, VT. Dr. Emmons graduated Summa Cum Laude, Luther College and is a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

Dr. Ryan Nash, MD, MA, FACP, FAAHPM, is the Director of The Ohio State University Center for Bioethics and Director, Division of Biomedical Education and Anatomy. He is an Associate Professor of Medicine and holds the Hagop Mekhjian, MD, Chair in Medical Ethics and Professionalism at the College of Medicine.


Representing that the tenets of social justice are compatible with the ethical requirements of the patient-doctor relationship:

Dr. Francis Blais is an infectious disease specialist in Columbus, Ohio. He received his medical degree from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and has been in practice for more than 20 years.

Daniel Skinner, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Health Policy in the Department of Social Medicine at Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, in Dublin, Ohio, Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, The Ohio State University (at Nationwide Children’s Hospital), and Assistant Director of the Health Policy Fellowship.

MODERATOR: C. Alex Grieco is an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Education and Anatomy and an Assistant Professor of Radiology within the Ohio State University College of Medicine and is a part of the leadership team for the Clinical Applications component of the Lead-Serve-Inspire Medical Curriculum.


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