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Pitts Memorial Lectureship slated for Sept. 5

The annual lectureship that features experts debating highly controversial subjects will tackle issues related to mental health—from perceived legal competency to personal responsibility.
 The 15th Annual Thomas A. Pitts Memorial Lectureship will be held Sept. 5 and 6 at the Francis Marion Hotel. The title, Conundrums and Controversies in Mental Health and Illness, features a full slate of expert discussion on ethical concerns from polar opposite viewpoints.
Opening the session will be a keynote address accusing the government of neglect in “Madness and Government Revisited: Four Decades of State Government’s Abandonment of the Mentally Ill.” The keynote speaker will be Joseph Bloom, M.D., Dean Emeritus of the School of Medicine and Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, Oregon Health and Science University, where he also served as chair of the Department of Psychiatry. He is internationally recognized for his teaching, research and prolific writing in the fields of community and forensic psychiatry, and is a past president of the American Academy of Psychiatry and Law, the American Board of Forensic Psychiatry, the Oregon Neuropsychiatric Association, and the Oregon Psychiatric Association.
The agenda doesn’t get any softer, and includes most every hot button on mental illness argued in society, medicine and in the courts.

Refusal of Medication to Avoid Execution
Physicians Should Treat Mentally Ill Death Row Inmates, Even if Treatment if Refused, by Robert TM Phillips, M.D., Ph.D., medical director of Forensic Consultation Associates Inc., which provides psychiatric consultations in civil and criminal litigation. He has extensive experience in civil and criminal cases including capital sentencing proceedings at the trial and appellate level, class action litigation, employment law and medical malpractice litigation. A Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, Phillips is a past president of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, and a member of the House of Delegates of the American Medical Association.
The counter argument, Physicians Must Honor Refusal of Treatment by Competent Inmates, will be provided by Howard V Zonana, M.D., psychiatry professor at Yale University and adjunct clinical professor of law at Yale Law School. He is a forensic psychiatrist, and among his professional positions, Zonana is chair of the Bioethics Committee at New Haven Hospital; director, medical director and president of the Medical Staff of the Connecticut Mental Health Center, Yale; and medical director of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law. He is a past president of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law.

Is Substance Abuse a Disease?
“Substance abuse is a choice, not a disease,” according to the argument presented by Jeffrey A Schaler, Ph.D. Schaler is assistant professor in the Department of Justice, Law and Society at American University’s School of Public Affairs in Washington, D.C. His focus is in how research in behavioral sciences is interpreted and applied in public, social, and legal policy arenas. He also writes and speaks extensively on the relationship between liberty and responsibility. He is series editor of the “Under Fire” series of Open Court Publishers in Chicago. He is the author of Addiction is a Choice, and his most recent edited book is Szasz Under Fire: The Psychiatric Abolitionist Faces His Critics.”
MUSC’s Raymond Anton, M.D., will contend that substance abuse is a disease of the human brain. Anton is the MUSC Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and is the director of the Center for Drug and Alcohol Programs, and the Clinical Neurobiology Laboratories. He also is scientific director for clinical research of the Charleston Alcohol Research Center, and is the director of Psychopharmacology Research at the Ralph H. Johnson Veterans Affairs Medical Center. A highly decorated scholar, Anton also has authored hundreds of papers in the psychiatric and psychopharmacology literature.

Treating Mental Illness by Force
Forcing Future Freedom: Consent to Treatment is Not Always Required will be presented by M Carmela Epright, Ph.D., associate professor of philosophy at Furman University, and practicing bioethics consultant. Her research focus is in clinical bioethics, ethics, feminist philosophy, and social and political philosophy. Her publications include, “Bioethics and Justice: Economics, Care, and Conflict,” in Ethical Humanism, Bioethics, and Justice, and “Honoring Feminism’s Past, Envisioning an Embodied Future,” in “Feminism and The Body.” At Furman she teaches philosophy, ethics, medical ethics, and feminist theory.
Non Consensual Treatment is Morally Abhorrent will be argued by Mark J Cherry, Ph.D., the Dr. Patricia A. Hayes Professor in Applied Ethics at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, and an active contributor to the bioethics literature. He serves as associate editor of The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, associate editor of Christian Bioethics, and editor-in-chief of HealthCare Ethics Committee Forum. He has written many scholarly articles in the field of health care ethics, and is the author of several books, most recently Kidney for Sale by Owner: Human Organs, Transplantation, and the Market.

Criminal Responsibility
“A personality disorder may mitigate but cannot nullify responsibility for a criminal act,” according to Rikki Lynn Halavonich, M.D., assistant professor, MUSC’s Psychiatry Division of the Department of Psychiatry, where she is associate director of the Fellowship in Forensic Psychiatry. Her special areas of interest are assessing competency to stand trial, criminal responsibility, violence and suicide risk, malingering, disability, and the recidivism risk of sexually violent predators. She has extensive experience in civil commitment evaluations for mental illness and substance dependence.
“A personality disorder may nullify responsibility for a criminal act,” according to a counter argument by Robert Kinscherff, Ph.D., J.D., clinical psychology associate in the Department of Psychiatry of Harvard Medical School and Lecturer in Law at the School of Law of Boston University. He is a forensic psychologist and attorney, and currently serves as the assistant commissioner for Forensic Mental Health at the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health. At the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology, he is the director of the Forensic Psychology Specialization Track. He has chaired the Ethics Committee and the Legal Issues Committee of the American Psychological Association.
The panel will resume discussions and present their impressions and clarifications on Saturday. Pitts Lectureship director, Robert Sade, M.D., will moderate.

Lectureship background
This annual lectureship is named for Thomas Antley Pitts, II, M.D. (1893-1991), who served as board member of MUSC for 36 years, including 25 years as chairman. He left a substantial bequest to MUSC to endow a series of lectures on medical ethics. The series has been held annually since 1993.
or more information, or to register, go to; or call 792-5278.

Friday, Aug. 22, 2008
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