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Remembering the 70th Anniversary of the Nuremberg Doctors’ Trial

Remembering the 70th Anniversary of the Nuremberg Doctors’ Trial
Events planned across all four CU campuses

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Nuremberg doctors’ trial where 20 Nazi physicians were brought to account for heinous crimes against humanity. To remember the trial and reflect on its continuing significance for health and society today, a series of events is planned on all four University of Colorado campuses and in the community during the nationally-declared Week of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust, April 24-28, 2017.

The events are part of the University of Colorado Center for Bioethics and Humanities’ Holocaust Genocide and Contemporary Bioethics program.

“The legacy of health professionals’ involvement in the Holocaust is critical to understanding virtually every aspect of modern medical ethics, from abortion to assisted dying to workplace wellness, genetics, privacy and public health,” said the center’s director Matthew Wynia, MD, MPH. “What’s more, it casts a shadow on many current social and political events that cannot be ignored.”

This year’s program will feature three experts. Stacy Gallin, DMH and Tessa Chelouche, MD are from the Maimonides Institute for Medicine, Ethics and the Holocaust, or MIMEH. Their mission is to explore the ethical implications of medical transgressions that took place during the Holocaust for modern scientific theory, medical practice, health care policy and human rights endeavors.  They will be joined by Susan M. Miller MD, MPH, Professor of Family Medicine at the Houston Methodist Research Institute.

“Before World War II, scientific experimentation was highly valued in Germany, which had a code of ethics that specifically required consent from research subjects,” explained Dr. Miller. “But multiple elements led to an ethical breakdown in German research during the Nazi regime, including cultural, political and military factors. These factors affected research agendas and resulted in activities by health professionals that became the very definition of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity.”

Nazi medical war crimes were not limited to notorious research abuses.

“While much has been written about the Holocaust, not enough attention has been paid to the medical and scientific theories that were the foundation for the mass murder of millions in the name of societal progress,” said Dr. Gallin.  “Exploring the process by which healers were transformed into killers and the relevance of the medical community’s participation in the Holocaust is critical to understanding ethical issues today.”

Dr. Chelouche noted that beginning and end-of-life care, medical genetics, human subject research ethics, healthcare law and policies as well the protection of vulnerable populations all exist in the shadow of Nazi medicine.

“At the Nuremberg Doctors’ Trial the Nazi doctors showed no remorse for what they had done. In fact, just the opposite; they invoked ethical arguments to justify their actions,” she said. “We must acknowledge and understand the connection to contemporary issues to ensure that these types of ethical violations never happen again.”

This is why Dr. Gallin founded MIMEH in 2015 and works closely with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC. She is a member of the Board of Directors at the Center for Medicine after the Holocaust in Houston and travels throughout the world lecturing on this topic.

Susan M. Miller MD, MPH is also a member of the board of directors for the Center for Medicine after the Holocaust and co-founder of Physicians after the Holocaust-Ukraine.

Dr. Chelouche is a family physician in Israel and a prolific author on medicine and the Holocaust. She is the editor of the Casebook on Bioethics and the Holocaust for the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and she teaches a course on “The Study of Medicine and the Holocaust” for medical students at the Technion Institute in Haifa.

Presentations and panel discussions will be held at all four University of Colorado campuses and the University of Denver.  In addition to the public events below, speakers will also be visiting classrooms at CU Boulder and University of Colorado School of Medicine, Colorado Springs branch.  RSVPs requested for all events at www.coloradobioethics.org

Monday, April 24th from noon-1:00pm: AMC Campus – Fulginiti Pavilion

“How Healers Became Killers:  Nazi Doctors and Modern Medical Ethics” Lecture by Stacy Gallin, DMH and Tessa Chelouche, MD. Lunch will be provided (please RSVP at www.ColoradoBioethics.org).

Monday, April 24th from 1:30-3:00pm: AMC Campus – Fulginiti Pavilion

“The 70th Anniversary of the Nuremberg Doctors’ Trials: Lessons and Legacies for Today’s Health Professionals” Panel discussion with Stacy Gallin, DMH, Tessa Chelouche, MD, Susan M. Miller, MD, MPH, FACP, Alison Lakin, RN, PhD, Marilyn Coors, PhD, MPH, David Richman, JD, and Daniel Goldberg, JD, PhD.

Monday April 24th at 6:00pm: University of Denver Reiman Theater

Community Event: “The 70th Anniversary of the Nuremberg Doctors’ Trials:  Lessons and Legacies for Health and Society” Panel Discussion with Tessa Chelouche, MD, Susan Miller, MD, MPH, FACP, Stacy Gallin, DMH, David Richman, JD, and Daniel Goldberg, JD, PhD.

Wednesday, April 26th at noon: CU Law School, Room 301 – CU Boulder Campus

“The 70th Anniversary of the Nuremberg Doctors’ Trials:  Lessons and Legacies for Law and Society” Presentation and panel response with Tessa Chelouche, MD, Matthew Wynia, MD, MPH, FACP, Dayna Bowen Matthew, JD, Gregory Whitehair, JD and Daniel Goldberg​, JD, PhD. Lunch will be provided (please RSVP at www.ColoradoBioethics.org)

Wednesday, April 26th from 7:00-8:30pm: Eaton Humanities Building, Room 150 – CU Boulder Campus

Community Event:  “Agency in the Midst of Oppression: Jewish Doctors, Ghettos and Public Health,”
Presentation and panel response with Tessa Chelouche, MD, Elias Sacks, PhD, Matthew Wynia, MD, MPH, FACP, and Daniel Goldberg​, JD, PhD.

Thursday, April 27th from 12:00-1:30 pm: – Business School, Room 4500—CU Downtown Campus

“The 70th Anniversary of the Nuremberg Doctors’ Trials: Lessons and Legacies for Today” Presentation and panel response with Tessa Chelouche, MD, Matthew Wynia, MD, MPH, FACP, and Daniel Goldberg, JD, PhD. Lunch will be provided (please RSVP at www.ColoradoBioethics.org)

To RSVP for any or all events go to www.ColoradoBioethics.org

About Meghan Zibby

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