Talking Biopolitics with George Annas and Lisa Ikemoto

October 7


In this live online conversation, George Annas spoke with Lisa Ikemoto about his and Sherman Elias' new book, Genomic Messages: How the Evolving Science of Genetics Affects our Health, Families, and Future. This event is part of Talking Biopolitics 2015, a series of conversations with cutting-edge thinkers about the social meaning of human biotechnologies.

What should we make of claims that genetics is revolutionizing health care? Genomic Messages examines how genetics is changing the practice of medicine, and the questions this raises. How will the flood of genetic messages change our lives, our interactions with our physicians and our health care? When is information too much information? How will DNA databanks and electronic medical records affect our privacy and welfare? Should we screen our healthy child's DNA?

Written for a lay audience, Genomic Messages aims to “empower individuals and families with the knowledge to make better decisions about their short-term and long-term health.” As Sidney Wolfe of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group puts it, “Annas and Elias propose ways we can control the use of genomics on ourselves and our families to gain its benefits, without falling prey to this unregulated technology, eroding our privacy, and becoming needlessly alarmed by unwanted genomic messages.”

About the Author 

George Annas, is Warren Distinguished Professor and Director of the Center of Health Law, Ethics & Human Rights at Boston University School of Public Health, and Professor in the Boston University School of Medicine and School of Law. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and vice-chair of the American Bar Association’s Committee on Health Rights and Bioethics (Civil Rights and Social Justice Section).

He is also a cofounder of Global Lawyers and Physicians, a transnational professional association of lawyers and physicians working together to promote human rights and health. His research has focused on the rights of patients and the regulation of research on human subjects; his most recent books include Worst Case Bioethics: Death, Disaster, and Public Health (Oxford University Press, 2010) and American Bioethics: Crossing Human Rights and Health Law Boundaries (Oxford University Press, 2005). Professor Annas has been called "the father of patient rights," "the doyen of American medico-legal analysts," and a "national treasure."

About the Interviewer 

Lisa Ikemoto, is Professor at the University of California, Davis School of Law and a fellow at the Center for Genetics and Society. She teaches bioethics, health care law, public health law, reproductive rights, law & policy, and marital property. Her research areas include reproductive and genetic technology uses, health care disparities, and public health law. More specifically, she focuses on the ways that race and gender mediate access to and impacts of biomedical technology use and health care. Her recent work addresses reproductive tourism, the ways in which human gamete use links the fertility and biotechnology industries, and the privatizing effects of informed consent. Ikemoto is a Bioethics Associate of the UC Davis Health System Bioethics Program, and a Faculty Associate of the UC Davis Center for Science and Innovation Studies.