November 2022

Foundation Announces Fall 2022 Making a Difference Grants

The Foundation will fund three new research projects from the Fall 2022 cycle of its Making a Difference in Real-World Bioethics Dilemmas grant program.

The Making a Difference program funds bioethics research projects that seek to resolve current challenges in health care, policy, and research. Grants are awarded twice yearly. Since 2013, the Foundation has funded more than 90 Making a Difference grants supporting bioethics research on a wide array of issues including aid-in-dying, deception in medical contexts, discrimination towards minority clinicians, and responses to the opioid epidemic, among others. 

Post-Roe Indiana: An Ethnography of Patient Treatment During Pregnancy Losses, Termination, and Complications
Lori Freedman, PhD (University of California, San Francisco)

Abstract: This study will aim to employ qualitative interviews and participant observation in two Indiana hospital settings where people seek assistance for pregnancy loss, terminations, and complications: Emergency Medicine and Obstetrics. Given the uncertain future of abortion bans in Indiana, Dr. Freedman and her team aim to understand the decision-making processes and ethical dilemmas providers face, in particular how they navigate the dueling perils of patient harm and provider criminalization. The project will focus on how provider bias, threats of provider criminalization, and systemic racism contribute to the criminalization of patients. Findings will be disseminated via bioethics and medical forums, public-facing commentaries, and provider trainings.

Simulating Crisis Standards of Care and Developing an Equitable Life Support Allocation Protocol
William Parker, MD, PhD (University of Chicago)

Abstract: When the US healthcare system is overwhelmed by disaster, Crisis Standards of Care guide the triage teams forced to choose which patients receive scarce life support treatments in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). There is an active bioethical debate about what ethical principles should be used to construct these protocols. Dr. Parker’s project will seek to develop and use a sophisticated simulation model of ICU crisis scenarios to evaluate the bioethical consequences of the currently published Crisis Standards of Care and test novel equity-promoting alternatives.

Moral distress among obstetricians and gynecologists in the post-Roe era
Erika Sabbath, ScD (Boston College)

Abstract: Following the Roe v. Wade reversal, obstetrician-gynecologists (OB-GYNs) practicing in states with abortion bans are at risk for moral distress due to their need to choose between appropriate care for patients and their own legal jeopardy. Through qualitative interviews with OB-GYNs in four states with abortion bans, Dr. Sabbath and her team will aim to describe the impact of changes to clinical practice and subsequent moral distress, identify systems-level practices that can protect against moral distress, and generate recommendations to support personal and professional wellbeing of OB-GYNs in states with abortion bans.