June 2017

Greenwall Faculty Scholars Class of 2020

Sean Aas, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Georgetown University. His project is “Rights in bodies: Theoretical frameworks and practical applications. ”

Professor Aas’s project is on the boundaries of our body rights, which brings concepts from political philosophy to bear on bioethical issues concerning the boundaries of the body, including but not limited to: tissue markets; conscription of research subjects; and acquisition of organs for transplant. This project, an attempt to develop a full theory of bodily rights, draws on Professor Aas’s background in bioethics and political philosophy, making much, in particular, of insights gleaned from engagement with the literature on disability and diverse embodiment. His ambition is to develop conceptual and normative resources bioethicists need to make substantial progress towards consensus answers to pressing practical dilemmas involving our rights in our bodies.

Keren Ladin, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy and of Community Health, Tufts University. Her project is, “The moral relevance of social connectedness for allocation of scarce resources.”

Although social support is routinely assessed during transplant candidate evaluation, we hypothesize that inconsistent definitions of social support and evaluation procedures may result in unequal treatment of patients with limited support. We hypothesize that clinicians have unconscious bias in favor of more socially connectedness patients, and that this bias will be significantly associated with waitlist decisions. Clinicians may experience moral distress and cognitive dissonance, which occurs when actions (using a discriminatory criterion) do not align with values (treating all patients fairly). Perspective-taking interventions, more supportive center-level and Medicaid policies, and reforming the social support criterion may be needed to reduce this source of bias and ensure equal access to solid organ transplantation.