On Saturday, May 5th approximately 25 members of the Bioethics Society of the English-Speaking Caribbean (BSEC) converged in Jamaica to discuss significant developments of ethical issues affecting the region.
This was the first forum conducted since the inception of the BSEC in May of 2006. The event was publicized by local newspapers, radio stations and the internet, contributing to its overall success and scope. The Caribbean Health Research Council (CHRC) provided space, facilities, and support for BSEC’s Bioethics Forum.
Dr. Derrick Aarons, a successful and respected physician and bioethicist, is credited with its formation. “Dr. Aarons’ passion for the field, his vision and leadership are critical to the establishment and continued growth of the BSEC” said SGU’s Dr. Cheryl Macpherson. The Society encompasses about 60 members who include physicians, medical educators, and public health specialists from many different Caribbean nations.
Residents of the Caribbean struggle each day with ethical issues, many of which have significant social and economic implications. The BSEC is positioning itself to offer guidance and support through discussions, consultations, publications, and workshops that address regional concerns regarding ethics and professionalism. The Society’s goal is to encourage and enhance further development in public and professional arenas.
Dr. Cheryl Macpherson, a professor of bioethics and vice president of BSEC, was among four respected bioethicists who presented at the forum. Dr. Macpherson provided an overview of professionalism in medicine and medical education.
Other speakers included founder Dr. Derrick Aarons, Professor Daniel Piedra Herrera, executive secretary of the Cuban National Bioethics Committee and Dr. Kenneth Goodman, director of the Bioethics Program, University of Miami, Florida. Respectively, they spoke about ethics in clinical medicine, ethics in health policy, and teaching bioethics. Additionally, the speakers participated in a panel discussion chaired by Dr Eileen Boxill (a lawyer and BSEC’s western representative) about the status and needs of research ethics in the region.
The Bioethics Society looks forward to its continued expansion. The positive response to the Jamaica forum reinforces the value and need for an annual conference similar in format. The BSEC is eager to increase its membership and to involve students. Caribbean students have much to learn and to offer to the BSEC and the region. For more information, visit the BSEC online at http://www.bioethicscaribe.org.jm/index.htm.