Why should students study bioethics at a university plagued with bioethical scandals? That’s the uncomfortable question here in Minnesota, where our bioethics graduate program is housed in an academic health center seemingly intent on making its way into the Guinness Book of World Records for Disgraceful Behavior. Research death
, scientific fraud
, invasion of privacy
, employment discrimination, manipulation of research data
, improper industry influence
, a U.S. Senate investigation into hidden conflicts of interest
: As soon as the shock of one revelation begins to fade, the press uncovers another one. Which raises the question: Wouldn’t being admitted to study bioethics at the University of Minnesota be a little like winning a fellowship to study ethics in the Nixon White House?
The problem is not unique to Minnesota. Like parasites in the bowel of a large animal, bioethics centers seem to thrive at scandal-prone universities. Bioethics has flourished at the University of Pennsylvania, despite Albert Kligman
’s notorious research at Holmesburg prison, the death of Jesse Gelsinger
in a controversial gene-therapy...