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Getting to Know our Program Associates: This Month: Mark Matheson

Occasionally, one meets a person who has a special way with lan- guage, who catches your interest with intriguing phrases and perfect analogies, who through the seem- ingly magical power of words in- vites you to want to share your common experiences. Mark Matheson, D.Phil. is one with such a gift. About a decade ago, Mark was invited to facilitate his first

Literature and Medicine discussion group for the Division of Medical Ethics. He is a natural to provide leadership in bridging real-world medical issues with more expansive social issues. As an associate professor at the University of Utah Department of English, and a native of Salt Lake City where he grew up as the son of a dentist, Mark combines an awareness of the Utah medical community with his love of Shakespeare-- in which he teaches English and Honors courses. He is quick to point out that he was an American history major, not an ethicist, and delights in the works of

authors such as Emily Dickinson

“wrote during full flower.”

a period of history In medicine and











and Walt Whitman, who when democracy was in literature discussions he complex process of tex- in a world of the clini-


Medical humanities, Mark explains, looks to the terms of our condition, to the things we’ve always known, but about which we have to keep reminding ourselves because sci- ence is so powerful it can become all absorbing. (He rec- ommends reading Samuel LeBaron’s essay Can the Future of Medicine Be Saved from the Success of Science?) Mark believes that medical humanities benefits doctors by pro- viding a strengthening effect to the doctor-patient relation- ship. This, in turn, acknowledges our broader selves and our human needs, and invites doctors to take care of them- selves. He encourages us not to live in a closed paradigm, but paraphrases Shakespeare: We tend to “make trifles of terrors, ensconcing ourselves into seeming knowledge when we should submit ourselves to an unknown fear.”

Mark’s other passions include Utah and the environment, particularly flyfishing, and building community. And of course his two lively sons, Lincoln and Aidan. Dr. Mathe- son can be found introducing poetry and leading discus- sions with medical students in the monthly Student Litera- ture and Medicine elective, in the 4th year medical student Doctor-Patient Relationship course, and 3-4 times per year in the Physician’s Literature and Medicine evening discus- sion groups.


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Max and Sara Cowan Memorial Lecture in Humanistic Medicine

We are indeed fortunate this year to have as our Cowan Memorial Lecturer Jonathan D. Moreno, Ph.D.. He is the Emily Davie and Joseph S. Kornfeld Professor of Biomedi- cal Ethics and Director of the Center for Biomedical Ethics at the University of Virginia. Dr. Moreno is a Past Presi- dent of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities and a Fellow of the Hastings Center and the New York Academy of Medicine. He was a member of the National Human Research Protection Advisory Committee and a Senior Consultant for the National Bioethics Advisory Commission and has advised the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. A prolific author and per- suasive speaker, Dr. Moreno’s work is often quoted in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. He himself has appeared on all of the network eve- ning news programs and NPR’s All Things Considered and Science Friday.

During his visit, he’s likely to draw upon work from his recent books: Is There an Ethicist in the House?, Undue Risks: Secret State Experiments on Humans and his soon to be published book Mind Wars: National Security and the Brain. For a schedule of Dr. Moreno’s presentations, please see our calendar section.

Evening Ethics

On January 18th Dr. Jonathan Moreno will join us for a spirited discussion of his paper “Bioethics in the National Security State”. Two quotations used in his paper will give you a preview of the scope and importance of his presenta-

tions and our evening discussion. “ Innovation within the armed forces will rest on experi- mentation with new approaches to warfare, strengthening joint operations, exploiting U.S. intelligence advantages, and taking full advantage of science and technol-

ogy.” (George W. Bush. The National Security of the United States of America, September 17th, 2002)

“Neuroscience research presents a variety of opportunities for still more futuristic military applications. Neural recep- tors responsible for brain development have already been enhanced in mice, with evidence that learning is signifi- cantly improved. In the heat of battle complex instructions must be recalled under highly stressful conditions, such as target orders for fighter pilots. Substances that achieve memory enhancement prior to a mission would be very attractive under these conditions. For homeland defense, the clumsy and nonselective screening procedures now used in airports and other sensitive public places could be complemented or replaced by remote functional, magnetic resonance imaging that identified individuals with high levels of neural activity in systems associated with violence or other forms of excitability. Although such applications may seem like science fiction, we have seen that the na- tional security state leaves no stone unturned if some tacti-

cal advantage might be lurking beneath it.” (Jonathan Mo- reno. Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics, 2004;32:198-208.) For more information call the DME .

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