Deadline: February 26, 2018 5:00 PM EST


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Harvard Annual Bioethics Conference, April 11-13, 2018
Defining Death: Organ transplantation and the 50-year legacy of the Harvard report on brain death

Program Background

The 2018 Annual Bioethics Conference will explore the legacy of the 1968 report from the Harvard Medical School committee that proposed the concept of “brain death” as a new criterion for determining human death, making possible the procurement of “living” organs from bodies deemed to be “dead.” The conference will explore how this report facilitated the development of organ transplantation, assess current practices, and examine persistent controversies and challenges to the scientific and philosophical foundations of this concept. We will consider future strategies for facilitating the ethical procurement of organs for transplantation, and the impact of new technologies — such as gene editing and 3-D printing — that could radically alter the relevance of brain death as a concept necessary for organ procurement.

The Harvard Medical School Annual Bioethics Conference convenes leaders in the field to explore ethical questions and concerns in healthcare. Held each April, this two day, single track conference facilitates conversations among experts, and supports members of ethics committees, health care professionals, bioethicicists, administrators, attorneys and others who are interested in addressing ethical issues.

Call for Abstracts

The conference planning committee is pleased to announce that abstracts for posters are now being accepted. The abstract deadline is February 26, 2018 at 5 p.m. EST. Abstracts will be chosen by the committee in March and presenters will be notified by email if their abstract was chosen. Poster presenters should then have their posters printed in a 36x42 inch size format. Posters will be displayed during the conference on Thursday, April 11 and Friday, April 12. Two one-hour lunch breaks during the conference will be an opportunity for poster presenters to discuss their posters with conference attendees. Poster titles and presenter names will be included in the conference program book. 

Abstract Requirements

A completed application must include:

1.   This completed web form (Please note, information provided in this application form will be the information listed in our conference program if your abstract is chosen. Please double check spelling and accuracy of the information provided because edits will not be possible after submission). 

2.   A single PDF document containing a one-page written description of your poster (your abstract) to include:

  • Title of project/presentation in CAPITAL LETTERS at the top of the page

  • Your name including earned degree(s) and professional licensure (if applicable)

  • Professional or academic title(s)

  • Professional or academic affiliation(s)

  • Co-author (if applicable)

  • Your email address for conference attendees to request additional project information

  • A description of your fieldwork, research, or other bioethics project in fewer than 300 words including:

    • Statement of purpose and/or aims of the research (and context if relevant)

    • Research questions and/or hypotheses

    • Significance

    • Approach/method/strategy

    • Key findings 

    • Importance/implications

The abstract deadline is February 26, 2018 at 5 p.m. EST.  Interested presenters are strongly encouraged to submit applications as early as possible.

Questions: Email


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