Professor Barbara Prainsack (KCL)

May 12, 2016 @ 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm (A light sandwich lunch will be available from 12:30 with presentations starting at 13:00)
Medical School, Teviot Place, Doorway 3, Room G200
Edinburgh EH8 9AG
Solidarity: Do we (still) need it? Can it help?

Solidarity is gaining currency at the moment. Against the background of global economic crises, climate change and environmental disasters, and armed conflicts, we hear calls for solidarity with increasing frequency. Global solidarity, national solidarity, solidarity with refugees, or solidarity in working together to address specific causes, are goals that are becoming more prominent in public discourse after they seem to have worked silently in the background for the last decades: as principles guiding the design of health and social care systems in Europe and beyond, as a value that informs resource allocation, or as societal ideals.

In my short talk I will draw upon my forthcoming book with Alena Buyx, Solidarity in Biomedicine and Beyond (CUP 2016), to argue that also in the domain of medicine and healthcare, we need more, and not less, solidarity. In these areas, mutual assistance and support in the face of human vulnerability play central roles – people helping each other in times of need, supporting disease research, or organising communal health care, to name but a few examples, have all been described as practices of solidarity. I will explain how we understand and operationalise solidarity so that it can provide guidance for policy and practice, and use the example of precision medicine to argue that a solidarity-based perspective can suggest new ways of framing and addressing ethical and regulatory problems.

About MI Lunches

Human health is essential for the enjoyment and maximisation of almost all human activities. As our health futures rapidly evolve alongside great medical, scientific, and technological advancement, we are faced with the obligation to both protect patients and promote ethical research. How to successfully navigate these interconnected and complex relationships is a challenge not yet met. And, for the first time ever, the Care Act 2014 now requires public bodies to promote health research, but we currently have no methods whatsoever to do so. The Mason Institute is at the forefront of research into the protection and promotion of human health through robust health research regulation. Through a yearlong programme of roadshow-style events, the Mason Institute Lunch Series reaches across the boundaries of discipline and institution to directly engage with crucial human health actors – researchers, practitioners, policymakers, patients, and the public – to exploit on-going research and explore this challenge.

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MI Lunch with Prof Barbara Prainsack (KCL) – 12 May 2016