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Health care reform law is focus of Pitts Lectureship

The theme for the Oct. 28 and 29 annual Thomas A. Pitts Memorial Lectureship will be "The Health Care Reform Law (PPACA): Controversies in Ethics and Policy."

Nationally well-known speakers will address health care reform to physicians, nurses and other MUSC health professionals.

The speakers include:

  • Allan Brett, M.D., the Orlando Benedict Mayer Professor of Medicine at the University of South Carolina, where he is vice chair of the Department of Medicine and director of the Division of General Internal Medicine;
  • John Geyman, M.D., Professor Emeritus of Family Medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, where he served as chairman of the Department of Family Medicine;
  • Ronald Hamowy, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Intellectual History at the University of Alberta and previously was assistant director of the History of Western Civilization Program at Stanford University;
  • Paul Menzel, Ph.D., professor of philosophy at the Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash., where he served as chair of the Department of Philosophy, dean of humanities and provost;
  • Robert Moffit, Ph.D., senior fellow in domestic and economic policy studies in the Center for Policy Innovation at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.;
  • Len Nichols, Ph.D., professor of health policy and the director of the Center for Health Policy Research and Ethics, at George Mason University. He founded and directed Health CEOs for Health Reform and has served as the director of the Health Policy Program at the New American Foundation;
  • James Taylor, Ph.D., associate professor of philosophy at the College of New Jersey, where he teaches medical ethics, ethical theory, action theory and metaphysical issues surrounding death;
  • Griffin Trotter, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor in the Center for Health Care Ethics and the Emergency Medicine Division of the Department of Surgery at Saint Louis University. He is director of clinical consultation and Residents' Ethics Education at the Center for Health Care Ethics.

The lectureship will be held Oct. 28 and 29 from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 28 and 8:30 a.m. to noon on Oct. 29 at the new MUSC Bioengineering Building, 73 President St., and there is free registration for MUSC faculty, staff and students.

Robert Sade, M.D., professor of surgery and director of MUSC's Institute of Human Values in Health Care, said the popularity of this annual conference has continued to grow since it began in 1994.

"When the Accountable Care Act (ACA) was passed in March 2010, many people assumed that the health care system was reformed, but that is far from the reality."

According to Sade, the law was passed in great haste and is rife with inconsistencies and internal contradictions.
"There is a great deal of public dissatisfaction with many of the law's provisions, and this is reflected in Congressional debate. So the battle over health care reform rages on in Washington."

The conference is supported in part by a bequest from Thomas Antley Pitts II, M.D., 1893-1991, who served as a member of the MUSC board of trustees for 36 years and was its chair for 25 years. Half of his bequest was to be used for teaching medical ethics. Every year, a group of nationally and internationally-known experts in a particular field of ethics and bioethics are brought to Charleston for the conference, which focuses on a specific theme. The series has been held annually since 1993.

"The ethics that underlie opposing positions will influence the final form of the ACA as it is implemented over the next few years. This year's Thomas Pitts Lectureship focuses on several of the ethical controversies that are currently under debate in Washington and elsewhere. The topics include the role of justice in providing health care, the place for consumer-driven health care and the morality of markets versus government systems. The speakers are among the leading advocates of national health care reform from the opposing perspectives of central planning and of market solutions," Sade said.

For information, visit or contact Chris Rutigliano, 876-0177, or email


Friday, Oct. 21, 2011

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