Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Saving Babies

Short notice but this event tonight looks very interesting:

Wed Feb 20, 8pm, room 1104 Harold Frank Hall, UCSB
Speaker: Stefan Timmermans, Ph.D. (UCLA)
Title: Saving Babies? The Consequences of Newborn Genetic Screening

Sponsored by the Capps Forum on Ethics & Public Policy
More information about the speaker:
 Saving Babies? The Consequences of Newborn Genetic Screening 
It has been close to six decades since Watson and Crick discovered the structure of DNA and more than ten years since the human genome was decoded. Today, through the collection and analysis of a small blood sample, every baby born in the United States is screened for more than fifty genetic disorders. Though the early detection of these abnormalities can potentially save lives, the test also has a high percentage of false positives—inaccurate results that can take a brutal emotional toll on parents before they are corrected. Now some doctors are questioning whether the benefits of these screenings outweigh the stress and pain they sometimes produce. In Saving Babies?, Stefan Timmermans and Mara Buchbinder evaluate the consequences and benefits of state-mandated newborn screening—and the larger policy questions they raise about the inherent inequalities in American medical care that limit the effectiveness of this potentially lifesaving technology.
Drawing on observations and interviews with families, doctors, and policy actors, Timmermans and Buchbinder have given us the first ethnographic study of how parents and geneticists resolve the many uncertainties in screening newborns. Ideal for scholars of medicine, public health, and public policy, this book is destined to become a classic in its field.
Speaker Profile:
Stefan Timmermans is chair and professor of the sociology department at UCLA.  His research draws from medical sociology and science studies and uses ethnographic and historical methods to address key issues in the for-profit U.S. health care system. He has conducted research on medical technologies, health professions, death and dying, and population health. He is currently working on an ethnographic study of the expansion of newborn screening. His next projects will be about the community spillover effects of lack of health insurance and whole exome sequencing. His goal is to conduct robust qualitative research that reveals the invisible benefits and costs of the U.S. health care system. He is the author of Sudden Death and the Myth of CPR (Temple 1999), The Gold Standard: The Challenge of Evidence-Based Medicine and Standardization in Health Care (Temple, 2003, with Marc Berg), and Postmortem: How Medical Examiners Explain Suspicious Deaths (Chicago, 2006). His book Saving Babies? The Consequences of Newborn Genetic Screening (with Mara Buchbinder) is forthcoming from University of Chicago Press. He is also senior editor medical sociology for the journal Social Science and Medicine.

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