Hello dear readers,
The sun has set: today marks my final post for this Roger M Jones blog. It’s been a whirlwind of a year, and I hope you have enjoyed following these posts as much as I have enjoyed writing them.
Dissertation marks were released yesterday, and I’m happy to report that I am moving forward with plans to publish my research. This will involve a bit of reprocessing since most academic journals find 5,000 or 12,000 word articles more palatable than a 18,000 word book. I will also be converting this into a lecture since I have been honored with an invitation to present my research at the VHL Medical Symposium this spring.
Beyond this academic work, I have a few other unique opportunities simmering in the crock-pot which should keep me engaged before I move (God willing) into the next chapter of life with Medical School. I will certainly miss seizing opportunities to join bioethics discussions at the Houses of Parliament or take a quick trip to <insert European country> for a conference, but this past year has taught me that engaging with bioethics does not have to (should not) be confined to a posh conference room. Bioethics can be encountered in healthcare clinics, on the performance stage, and in the family room, and I look forward to continue contributing this field in multiple venues.
Often times “Where am I going?” only makes sense when answered in conjunction with “Where have I been?” To provide this wider perspective, I thought it might be helpful to share an excerpt from a past essay:
…As I continued with my science [Biomedical Engineering] curriculum, I realized my education was almost exclusively focused on what treatment IS given but not how to determine what treatment OUGHT to be given. Beyond technical limitations, what factors should be considered when developing a treatment plan? When working with children, disabled persons, the elderly, or other vulnerable populations, how should the voices of physician, patient, and advocate be balanced? Should physicians strive to be nondirective?
Fortunately, these musings did not fade in the margins of my BME design notebooks; I advanced them more formally as the UM Roger M. Jones Fellow, studying Bioethics & Society at King’s College London. One of the most rewarding aspects of this master’s program is my dissertation research, in which I am exploring ethical considerations relevant to reproductive counseling for adolescents diagnosed with VHL…
While I will not pretend to have found the answers to all of my questions during this past year, I have developed a foundation in navigating bioethical “is/ought” dilemmas. This foundation informs my desire to practice medicine in a manner which treats the patient as an end, thereby seeking to restore and maintain the patient’s wellness. In complementing my BME understanding of the body with a philosophical understanding of the mind and spirit, I’ve grown in my understanding of “cura personalis”, and I look forward to more fully equipping myself to care for the entire person as a medical student.
I am immensely grateful for having this opportunity as the 2014-15 RMJ fellow, and I look forward to following Allison and future fellows in their endeavors.
Featured image: enjoying London during a walk home to my Pimlico flat