kasssqOur Nancy Kass was the featured guest today on Maryland Morning with Sheilah KastWYPR, discussing a proposal to rethink the division between medical research and medical practice.

Dr. Kass and colleagues at the Berman Institute and elsewhere have been studying this issue and have published what some have called a radical proposal to, as Ruth Faden describes it, “transform how we think about the roles and responsibilities of pretty much everyone involved in health care – health professionals, managers of hospitals and clinics, insurers, payeos and yes, even patients.”

More than forty years ago, an Associated Press story uncovered one of the worst U.S. government medical experiments in our country’s history. The first line of the story by Jean Heller read, “For 40 years, the U.S. Public Health Service has conducted a study in which human guinea pigs, denied proper medical treatment, have died of syphilis and its side effects.”

It was known as the Tuskegee Study, conducted on 600 mostly poor black men from Tuskegee, Alabama. Two-thirds of the men, had syphilis. They thought they were being treated for what they called “bad blood.” In fact, they were not being properly treated. The news spurred intense scrutiny of medical research practices. And, since then, medical research has been strictly separated from medical practice.

But, does that separation serve the best interest of patients in our health care system?

That’s a question that some scholars at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics have asked recently. They’ve proposed an ethical framework they say would allow for a health care system that can learn from itself.

Dr. Nancy Kass, Deputy Director for Public Health at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, joins Sheilah in the studio to talk about it.

For more on the ethical framework, read this article by Ruth Faden in The Berman Institute Bioethics Bulletin, “Integrating Medical Research and Practice”.

(Download parts 1&2)

(Download Web Extra 1 – Trust)

(Download Web Extra 2 – Reaction)

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Nancy Kass

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