News & Events

Public Health and the response to Australia’s policies towards refugees and people seeking asylum

What are our responsibilities as public health professionals and organisations when we aim to improve health and well-being, especially in the most vulnerable in society?
What are the relevant ethical considerations and how should we address them through social action, everyday public health practice, research and policy development?

Please join us for a discussion on the 31st October 2018 – 6-8pm

Seminar rooms 1.1-3
Charles Perkins Centre
University of Sydney

this is a FREE event however registration is essential via this link.

Please download this pamphlet for more information.

Voices from the Ashes: Holocaust Survivor Testimony and the example of the Sydney Jewish Museum

Voices from the ashes

The destruction of European Jewry during World War II is one of the most documented and discussed events in human history. However, it was only in the 1970s and 1980s that the testimony of Holocaust survivors emerged as central to our understanding of the Nazi genocides. In one sense their voices are voices from the grave. The testimony of Holocaust survivors bears witness to an event that they were not supposed to survive and academics writing about the Holocaust have come to recognise that oral history provides an essential component to understanding the Holocaust. Only through acknowledging the testimony of survivors are we able to truly grapple with the historical, moral and philosophical questions that confront us when we study and teach about the Holocaust. The Sydney Jewish Museum was established by Holocaust survivors and gave centrality to their voices and memories. The Sydney Jewish Museum has undergone its first major renovation since it was established in 1992. In 2017 there are far fewer survivors alive and to in order to continue to recognise the central role of their testimony the new exhibition utilises modern technology to allow visitors to listen to the voices of survivors to continue to share their memories. One of the crucial questions for museums, educators, academics and psychiatrists is what purpose is served by survivors sharing their memories and reliving their trauma. This panel, comprising of a Clinical Associate Professor Michael Robertson, Dr Avril Alba, Dr Ari Lander and Jacqui Wasilewsky will interrogate and discuss the role of oral history and how the testimony of Holocaust survivors is utilised today and the problems, questions and opportunities it possess to people grappling with the legacy of the Holocaust.

This event will be held on Thursday the 6th of September 2018. The event is free to attend however online registrations are required through the Sydney Ideas web page which can be found here.

Dr Cynthia Forlini in the Media

Cynthia podcast photo

On 25 March 2018, Dr Cynthia Forlini joined academics from University of Melbourne and Cambridge University (UK) for a round table discussion broadcast on ABC Radio National. The discussion, moderated by Hugh Riminton, analysed current evidence on safety, efficacy and prevalence of the non-medical use of stimulants for performance enhancement, and addressed complex questions about social and professional values. You can listen to a podcast of the discussion here.

Sydney Ideas podcast: " 'Working the Past': Aboriginal Australia and psychiatry"

Aboriginal Australia and Psychiatry image

Photo by Michael Davies

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have historically been subject to much more misdiagnosis, mistreatment, incarceration and coercion than other Australians in the hands of psychiatric institutions, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals. The ramifications of psychiatry’s sometimes unwitting, indifferent or knowing complicity in past harmful practices and beliefs have been far-reaching. They extend from the health and well-being of the individual patient, to human rights and social justice concerns that prevail in contemporary Australian society. How do we come to grips with the past, and how do we do so in just ways? What are the responsibilities of psychiatry to ensure a contribution to improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social and emotional health and well-being? What can apology and other forms of recognition achieve? What can we learn from other projects of apology and recognition?

A panel discussion held as part of Sydney Ideas on 7 March 2018.

Professor Steven Larkin (chair) is a Kungarakany and Yanyula man from Darwin in the Northern Territory. He is Chair of the Healing Foundation and Pro Vice Chancellor for Indigenous Education and Research at the University of Newcastle. Steven has and continues to serve on numerous national advisory committees in Indigenous Affairs, and holds appointments on several Boards including Beyond Blue.

Professor Alan Rosen AO, longstanding consultant psychiatrist to remote communities; Clinical Associate Professor, Brain & Mind Centre, University of Sydney; Professorial Fellow, Illawarra Institute of Mental Health, University of Wollongong; former Inaugural Deputy Commissioner, Mental Health Commission of NSW. Professor Rosen has been leading advocacy for all mental health professions to apologise to all Indigenous peoples.

Ms Joanne Selfe, a mother of a child with autism, Elder Youth Koori Court & Ngara Yura Project Officer, NSW Judicial Commission. Joanne is a founding member of Warringa Baiya, the Aboriginal Women’s Legal Service, a member of the First Nations Disability Network NSW, and The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples.

Dr Robyn Shields AM, a proud Aboriginal person of the Bundjalung people, has worked in the mental health sector for many years, and is now undertaking specialist training as a psychiatrist. She is Deputy Commissioner of the Mental Health Commission of NSW and has an Order of Australia for development of Aboriginal mental health services.

14th IAB World Congress of Bioethics & 7th IJME National Bioethics Conference


Call for Abstracts

THEME: ‘Health for all in an unequal world: Obligations of global Bioethics’

About the Congress: Five plenaries will be woven around these sub-themes of the Congress: Bringing Rights and Ethics to the Centre in the ‘Health for All’ discourse; Rethinking Bioethics Boundaries in the Context of Health for All; Challenges for Bioethics in an Unequal World; Implications of Gender and Sexuality in Bioethics; Interrogating the Construct of Marginalisation and Vulnerabilities as Obligations of Bioethics. Presentation of papers, posters, workshops, pre-Congress symposia and congress will be organized around the congress sub-themes [Theme & Sub-themes], and will also include themes from within the broader discipline of bioethics. Abstracts that critically discuss cutting-edge themes and concepts in bioethics and those that describe research findings or project outcomes will be preferred for the Congress.

Format for abstracts: 1. Title 2. Author details (Designation and Institutional Affiliation, if any), Email and Postal address; NOTE: Please list authors in order (First Author to Last) 3. Background and Purpose 4. Description of research method or ethical issues / dilemmas 5. Results of research or outcome of ethical inquiry 6. Discussion (related to bioethics principles and theories) and implications for bioethics 7. Preferred mode of presentation (pick one): Oral/Poster/Either 8. Name of person presenting the paper at the NBC 9. Maximum number of words (for parts 3-6 above) is 250. Please ensure that points 1-9 are covered in your abstract. Incomplete abstracts will not be considered for review.

Criteria for selection of abstracts: The Scientific Committee of the Congress will use, among others, the following four criteria for reviewing the abstracts: 1. Relevance to the subject of bioethics and the Congress; 2. Clarity of ideas; 3. Originality; and 4. Methodological rigour.

Abstract submission deadline: Sunday, April 8, 2018
Communication of the decision to authors: Mid May, 2018

Send your submissions to:

Pre-Congress satellite meetings: Mon-Tue, December 3 & 4, 2018
Main Congress: Wed-Friday, December 5-7, 2018

St. John's National Academy of Health Sciences,
Sarjapur Road, John Nagar, Koramangala, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560034


NOTE: Acceptance of abstract for oral presentation, poster presentation, symposium proposal does not indicate funding support from the Congress organisers. Funding will be the responsibility of the authors. All presenters and faculty/panelists on symposia are required to individually register for the Congress.

“registered, persecuted, annihilated: The sick and disabled under National Socialism”: exhibition and events

Motiv E

The exhibition “registered, persecuted, annihilated: The sick and disabled under National Socialism” will be on display at the Sydney Jewish Museum 9–25 March, 2018.

The exhibition will be hosted by the Sydney Jewish Museum in partnership with Sydney Health Ethics. It is supported by the sponsorship of private donors and a grant from Sydney Health Ethics. The exhibition will be opened at the Museum by the Australian Human Rights Commission President, Professor Rosalind Croucher.

This part of history provides important points of reflection on areas in bioethics and human rights. The following program of public events will be held during the exhibition and the visits of official guests, Professor Frank Schneider and Dr Astrid Ley, who are in Australia as guests of Sydney Health Ethics.
** UPDATE 5/3/2018: Unfortunately Professor Schneider’s visit to Sydney was cancelled. Due to ill health he was unable to travel at this time. **

Please find more information about the exhibition, official guests, and public events here.

An exhibition developed by the German Association for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics (DGPPN), in cooperation with the Foundation Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and the Topography of Terror Foundation.

Congratulations Harris Fellows 2017!

We are excited to announce this year’s Harris Fellows 2017. The Harris Fellows are funded by the Harold and Gwenneth Harris Endowment for Medical Humanities. This year’s fellowship was open to all University of Sydney students in any faculty, at either undergraduate or postgraduate level, and for any project where the creative arts intersect with health and the humanities. Ten applicants from a high quality pool of 36 were awarded.

The winners of this year’s Harris Fellowship are Stephanie Mantilla (FASS), Anna Maria D’Addario (SCA), Kathryn Doherty (Nursing), Rachel Famularo (Nursing), Rachel Dubretsky (the CON), Isabel Hanson (SMS), Aran Kanagaratnam & Akhil Bansal (SMS), Kirsten Carlaw (SMS), Merrilla Babu John (SMS) and Benjamin Stewart (SMS).

Project topics ranged widely from developing a series of podcasts on ‘The Art of Medicine’ to creating a photography collection reflecting the rural nurse experience. More information about their projects will soon be available on the Sydney Health Ethics website.

The project results will be presented in a half-day symposium late in 2018.

Grace Under Pressure: Verbatim Theatre project, 25 - 28 Oct 2017

An 'Arts in Health' project presented by The Sydney Arts and Health Collective

GUP poster

Grace Under Pressure is a verbatim theatre project about the workplace and training culture of doctors and nurses. Acclaimed verbatim theatre makers David Williams and Paul Dwyer, in collaboration with the Sydney Arts and Health Collective, have developed Grace Under Pressure from interviews with doctors and nurses at various stages of their careers. The production opens a critical space for conversation about workplace culture. It is particularly relevant for junior staff, their teachers and those with leadership and policy influence. It is at times hilarious, at times tragic and always compelling.

Verbatim theatre is an established form of 'documentary' theatre in which a script is developed from the spoken words of real people exclusively, with this testimony taken from interviews. Testimony-driven theatre, the witnessing real people's struggles, suffering, joy and achievement, is intended to help move towards change by starting public conversations on difficult and important topics. Verbatim theatre is compelling because it combines research, advocacy for change and the uniquely holistic, open ended and ethically complex insights that creativity and the arts generate.

☛ Buy the script of the play here.

We'd also love you to join the conversation about how we can generate culture change in healthcare workplaces and how we can improve clinical training across the health professions, so that people can become the ethically sensitive, committed health professionals they wish to be.

☛ Tell us your perspective using this secure online survey.

The survey takes about 5 minutes to complete, depending on how much you want to say. Your comments will become part of our research study on healthcare workplace culture, a study which has approval from the University of Sydney Human Research Ethics committee. We will keep your information entirely confidential. Before you fill out the form, please download and read the information sheet.

The Sydney Arts and Health Collective is comprised of:

  • Dr Paul Dwyer, Department of Theatre and Performance Studies
  • Dr Kimberley Ivory, School of Public Health
  • Dr Claire Hooker, Sydney Health Ethics
  • A/Prof Paul Macneill, Sydney Health Ethics
  • A/Prof Louise Nash, Brain and Mind Centre
  • Dr Jo River, Sydney Nursing School
  • Dr Karen Scott, Discipline of Child and Adolescent Health
  • Dr David Williams, Department of Theatre and Performance Studies
  • James Dalton

☛ Receive updates from the Sydney Arts and Health Collective here.

Resources for those suffering work-related distress:

  • Your GP
  • Your Medical Defence Organisation (if relates to a medico-legal issue)
  • NSW: Doctors Health Advisory Service, ☎ 9437 6552
  • Australian Medical Association (AMA), ☎ 9439 8822
  • Australian Salaried Medical Officers Federation (workplace advice/industrial matters), ☎ 9212 6900
  • Australasian Doctors Health Network online contacts and resources
  • Nurse & Midwife Support (24/7), ☎ 1800 667 877 or Nurse & Midwife Support website
  • NSW Health JMO support line (for issues regarding unacceptable behaviour in the workplace, where concerned doctors will be advised by a trained senior doctor from a different Local Health District), ☎ 1300 566 321
  • BeyondBlue, 24 hour crisis support and advice, ☎ 1300 224 636
  • Lifeline, 24 hour crisis support and advice, ☎ 13 11 44

Grace Under Pressure was funded by the School of Public Health Collaborative Research Scheme 2016 and by a University of Sydney Education Innovation grant 2017.

New Student Grant – open to ALL current University of Sydney students

For a project that connects creative arts or humanities with health or medicine

From community singing to analysing cli-fi, from narratives of autism in modern fiction, to making art with artists with disability, intersections between the humanities, arts and health are growing. The Harold and Gwenneth Harris Endowment for Medical Humanities, known as The Harris Foundation, is currently offering 2-4 grants to fund student projects in these areas. Funding will be provided for any project where the creative arts intersect with health and/or the humanities. For some project ideas see the Application Package, section Project Examples.
The grant is open to all current students at the University of Sydney, in any Faculty, and at either Undergraduate or Postgraduate level. Grant holders will be known as the ‘Harris Fellow’. Applications from groups of students who would like to collaborate on a project are encouraged.
Value: up to $3,000 per project
Application deadline: Sunday, 22nd of October 2017 (midnight)
Further information: download Application Package [PDF]
Apply: download Application Form [Word Doc]

Gattaca: Are your genes your destiny?

National Science Week Gattaca Screening

Click image to book

In the twenty years since Gattaca debuted, there have been huge advances in human genetics. While the integration of genetics into the clinic is accelerating; there is also increasing commercial interests in offering DNA testing for health, fitness, and ancestry. Join us for a free screening of the science fiction film Gattaca!

The science fiction film Gattaca explores the consequences of genetic selection and manipulation on society through the eyes of genetically less-than-perfect Vincent (Ethan Hawke) and genetically perfect Irene (Uma Thurman). Revisiting Gattaca on its 20th anniversary offers an opportunity to reflect on how the science depicted in the film has developed in real life.

Following the film, our expert commentators from the worlds of ethics, science and the creative arts will start a national conversation about where we are and where we are going. Admission to the event is free, but bookings are required. Doors will open at 5:30 pm and the screening will commence at 6:00 pm.

Tickets can be booked at:

This project received funding from the Australian Government as part of the Inspiring Australia – Science Engagement Programme. It is presented by: Sydney Ideas, Sydney Science Festival and Sydney Health Ethics (formerly the Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine (VELiM)) in partnership with the Garvan Institute of Medical Research.

Click here for the event flyer.

Sydney Health Ethics Welcomes US Sociology Students

US Sociology students talk with Jessia Pace

Texas A&M University Students visit Sydney Health Ethics

On Wednesday 21st June, Sydney Health Ethics welcomed a group of students from Texas A&M University-Commerce, led by study abroad program coordinator A/Prof Yvonne Villanueva-Russell, who are visiting Sydney as part of a study abroad program. The students are from a variety of backgrounds (including history, English, pre-medicine and pre-veterinary sciences) and they will be visiting various cities in Australia over the next few weeks. While here, they hope to learn more about the social determinants of health, the structural features of the Australian healthcare system and exemplary programs and policies that address health. At Sydney Health Ethics, PhD student Jessica Pace delivered a lecture exploring ethical issues in the prescription of medicines (in particular, those related to funding of high-cost medicines and conflicts of interest) and provided an overview of Sydney Health Ethics research projects in this area. This was a great opportunity for all involved to explore the ways that different healthcare systems are addressing these common challenges. Thank you to Texas A&M University-Commerce for inviting Sydney Health Ethics to be part of this year’s study abroad program!

Viral Outbreaks, Such as Influenza: What More Can We Learn From Ecology, Anthropology, and History?

H5N1 map

Click image for event flyer

What counts as expertise in understanding and responding to emergent diseases in global health? What is appropriate preparedness or an appropriate response to epidemic disease? The workshop Viral Outbreaks, Such as Influenza: What More Can We Learn From Ecology, Anthropology, and History?, convened by Warwick Anderson and Chris Degeling, will bring together epidemiologists, historians, and anthropologists to reflect on outbreaks of the H5N1 influenza virus in Hong Kong and nearby parts of Asia since 1996. The goal of the workshop is to understand how environmental, animal, and public health authorities might respond ecologically to interspecies epidemic disease. It will explore some productive connections between epidemiology, ecology, the social sciences, and humanities, to identify interdisciplinary approaches that allow us to understand epidemic disease as “configuration,” in Charles Rosenberg’s formulation, and not simply “contamination”. H5N1 will be used as a case study to look at how anthropology and history might reveal otherwise obscure aspects of the ecological configurations of emerging diseases.

Lead participants: Warwick Anderson (Sydney), Chris Degeling (Sydney), Peter Doherty (Melbourne), Lyle Fearnley (Singapore University of Technology and Design), Lyn Gilbert (Sydney), Frédéric Keck (Musée du Quai Branly, Paris), Eben Kirksey (UNSW), Andrew Lakoff (Southern California), Malik Peiris (Hong Kong)

To register for this free workshop, contact James Dunk by 8 May 2017: E T +61 2 9351 2809

Click here for the draft program and event flyer.

Partnership with the Australian Hospital and Healthcare Bulletin (AHHB)

Jessica Pace

Jessica Pace, pharmacist & Sydney Health Ethics PhD candidate

Sydney Health Ethics continues its partnership with the Australian Hospital and Healthcare Bulletin (AHHB), a journal for all hospital, health and aged care professionals in Australia. In the latest ethics column, Jessica Pace, Narcyz Ghinea and Wendy Lipworth outline initiatives that have been introduced to expedite access to medicines. They argue that while providing patients with timely access to innovative therapies is desirable, we must be alert to the relative lack of evidence available surrounding the safety, effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of medicines made available via such initiatives. Adequate checks and balances are needed to protect both patients and our healthcare system.

Click here for the article.

Exploratory Workshop:

The Ethics of Complex Global Health Challenges: Practice and Theory in Dialogue

Global Health - Adivasi Village

Adivasi village, India. Photo credit Gerard van Stijn

2nd and 3rd March 2017

The workshop will be organized in dialogue form around the central question: How should evolving theories of global justice and global health ethics be put into practice in the face of current and future complex global challenges?

Discussion will focus on humanitarian aid during pandemics, migration & health and organ collection in China.

Click here for the event flyer.

New partnership with the Australian Hospital and Healthcare Bulletin (AHHB)

Angus Dawson

Sydney Health Ethics has a new partnership with the Australian Hospital and Healthcare Bulletin (AHHB). The AHHB is a journal for all hospital, health and aged care professionals in Australia. Sydney Health Ethics has been commissioned to contribute a regular column on ethical issues.

The first of these written by Angus Dawson and Katherine Moloney argues that it is time for Australia to introduce ethical standards within hospital and aged care procurement policies to ensure that the manufacturers of health products, often children or poorly-paid workers in low-income countries, are not exploited. This is a key responsibility of all those involved in procurement and managing health institutions.

You can read the article (p.56-7) here:
or download a copy.

Chris Mayes receives DECRA Award

Dr Chris Mayes

Dr Chris Mayes, Sydney Health Ethics, has received a Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) from the Australian Research Council. This will give him funding for three years to pursue a project on the history of bioethics in Australia. Project title: Bioethics in the Antipodes: a history of Australian bioethics since 1980.

Congratulations, Chris!

PhD Scholarship in genomic data sharing in Australia

AGHA logo

A scholarship for PhD candidature to undertake a project on legal, ethical and policy aspects of genomic data sharing in Australia is currently available, funded by the Australian Genomics Health Alliance and based at Sydney Health Ethics at the University of Sydney.
The successful candidate will undertake a mixed methods PhD project to help to determine a robust framework for genomic data sharing in Australia; addressing ethical, legal and policy considerations. The project will give rise to recommendations for policy-making regarding genomic data sharing across Australia (and its constituent jurisdictions). A key goal of the AGHA is to develop recommendations and pilot approaches for a National Data Repository of clinical genomic information, including national guidelines for scaleable, shared and standardised clinical genomics information.
The project will be supervised by A/Prof Ainsley Newson (University of Sydney), with additional supervision from A/Prof Clara Gaff (Melbourne) and other AGHA investigators. This is an excellent opportunity for candidates to gain valuable experience working in a rapidly developing research area on a large national cross-disciplinary project. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to develop a suite of research and analytic skills and an academic network that will help to prepare them for a research career in law or bioethics.
More information

PhD Scholarship in Wiser Healthcare

Wiser Healthcare

Novel imaging, biomarkers and genomic tests for risk assessment and early disease detection are changing how medicine is practiced in Australia and internationally. While delivering valuable advances in care and benefits for patients and their families, these new and emerging diagnostics can also have important negative consequences – overdiagnosis and overtreatment. Overdiagnosis occurs when commonly-used diagnoses in health and medical care, diagnoses that relevant health professionals would consider correct, do more harm than good. Overtreatment, which generally follows overdiagnosis, occurs when people get treatment they don’t need. We are seeking to fund a PhD candidate who is interested in working with a multidisciplinary team to answer the question: What can be done to prevent overdiagnosis and overtreatment?

The PhD candidacy is based at Sydney Health Ethics, University of Sydney and associated with an NHMRC-funded Centre for Research Excellence (CRE), Wiser Healthcare.

Details are at:

Further information can be obtained from .

Film Screening and Panel Discussion

title image to film

7 November 2016, 6.45pm

The film: "The Interrogation"; more information on the film including trailer and tickets
Panelists: A/Prof Michael Robertson (Panel Chair), psychiatrist, academic and Visiting Professorial Fellow, Sydney Jewish Museum; Prof Angus Dawson, Sydney Health Ethics Director, and Dr Avril Alba, Lecturer in Holocaust Studies and Jewish Civilisation, Department of Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies, University of Sydney, and Sydney Jewish Museum. More information on the panel discussion.
Tickets available at the JIFF Website.
Organisers: VELiM in association with the 2016 Jewish International Film Festival, Sydney
Venue and date: Event Cinemas, Bondi Junction, NSW, 7 Nov 2016, starting at 6.45pm

Symposium: Conflicts of Interest in Healthcare

doctor with money pig

31 October 2016, 1-5pm

This symposium brings together a multi-disciplinary group of scholars to explore the ethical and policy implications of financial and non-financial conflicts of interest in medicine and public health. Four sessions will address conceptual and practical implications of conflicts of interest from clinical, policy, scientific and academic perspectives.

Organisers: Sydney Health Ethics, CAVE (Macquarie University), and the Bias and Research Integrity group (University of Sydney)
Venue: Medical Foundation Building, Sparkes Street, Camperdown, NSW 2050
Attendance is free but registration required via Eventbrite. For more information download the event flier.

Tuberculosis: Ethics, Law & Society

18 October 2016, 9am to 5pm

Tuberculosis prevention, control and treatment is often the subject of contention and debate. How should we respond when an individual chooses not to undergo lengthy treatment because they are worried about possibly serious side-effects? What are the implications of focusing on TB reduction and elimination given the concentration of this disease in disadvantaged and marginalised groups? How do TB patients feel? What are their experiences of TB treatment? How should we understand, and what can we learn from, the history of TB policy? What ethical issues arise from new drug developments and diagnostics? How do co-infection with HIV and TB and new forms of drug resistance create new problems, and how should we respond? - This workshop will explore Tuberculosis from many different perspectives, including ethics, law, human rights, sociology, history and anthropology. Speakers will discuss aspects of their own research and how these are of key relevance to thinking about Tuberculosis today and in the future.
Confirmed speakers include Dr Chris Degeling, Dr Bridget Haire, Dr Susan Hemer, Dr Paul Mason, Nola Ries, A/Prof Diego Silva and Prof Ross Upshur.

Organisers: Prof Angus Dawson and Kelly Prendergast
Venue: Centenary Institute, Missenden Road, Sydney
Attendance is free but registration required via Eventbrite.

Human Rights and Medical Goods Supply Chains: Working towards a healthier future

Dr Mahmood Bhutta speaking at TEDxUCL 2014

Dr Mahmood Bhutta at TEDxUCL 2014, sami_bouremoum, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

9 September 2016, 12 - 1pm

A panel discussion presented by The Healthy Supply Chains Initiative in partnership with Sydney Health Ethics.

The Healthy Supply Chains Initiative is a group working towards the ethical and responsible supply of medical goods in Australia. At present, many of the goods used in hospitals, clinics and aged care facilities around the country are produced in appalling conditions. Workers are poorly remunerated and routinely deprived of their labour rights and basic human rights. In many instances child labour is being used. The Healthy Supply Chains Initiative aims to enact effective supply chain regulation for medical goods. Precedents in Sweden and the United Kingdom have shown that ethical oversight can be incorporated into workplace procurement policies and government legislation and that making these changes is not only beneficial for the people producing medical goods, but is also low risk and low cost for procurers.
Guest speaker: Dr Mahmood Bhutta
Panel Moderator: Prof Angus Dawson

Venue: The Australian Human Rights Commission, Level 3, 175 Pitt St, Sydney NSW 2000
Date: Friday, 9 September 2016, 12 - 1pm
Please register your attendance with Katherine Moloney. Places are limited. For more information download the event flier.

A/Prof Stacy Carter wins research fellowship

Congratulations to A/Prof Stacy Carter who has been awarded a funded research fellowship to visit the Policy, Ethics and Life Sciences (PEALS) Research Centre at the University of Newcastle, UK in 2017.

A/Prof Ainsley Newson wins Sydney Medical School Accelerator Award

August 2016: A/Prof Ainsley Newson is one of eleven outstanding mid-career teaching and research academics who won the inaugural Sydney Medical School Accelerator Award 2016. The Accelerator scheme provides funding of $50k to contribute to the research costs of projects currently in progress. Congratulations!

Whose mind is it, anyway? A conversation about the neuroethics of cognitive ageing

Cynthia Forlini

18 August 2016, 12-1pm

Neuroethics can be used as a lens to examine the ethical and social issues that arise from the recent prioritization of brain health to prevent age-related cognitive decline in the ageing population. Key topics of this seminar will be the role of neurotechnology and the balance of individual responsibility and collective benefits in delaying cognitive ageing.
Presenter: Dr Cynthia Forlini, ARC DECRA Research Fellow at Sydney Health Ethics
Venue: Brain and Mind Research Institute, Lecture Theatre, Level 5 Building F 94 Mallett St map
More information can be requested from Ed Hendriks

John McPhee Seminar 2016: What is the point? Bioethics, agitation and ‘getting in the way’

Prof Ian Kerridge

1 August 2016, 12-1pm

This presentation will focus on Harvard University psychologist Prof Steven Pinker's views on The Moral Imperative for Bioethics and open a conversation about the ‘point’ of bioethics. Pinker’s central thesis raises a series of important questions regarding the manner in which bioethics is functioning, the role that it should play – in research, practice, education and policy-making, and whether, in fact, contra Pinker’s anxiety, it is ever ‘in the way.’
Presenter: Ian Kerridge Professor of Bioethics and Medicine at Sydney Health Ethics, Staff Haematologist/Bone Marrow Transplant physician at Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, and founding member of The Clinical Unit in Ethics and Health Law (CUEHL). For more information please email Camilla Scanlan.

Ainsley Newson edits special issue of Australasian Science

Associate Professor Ainsley Newson

A/Prof Ainsley Newson has guest-edited the July/August 2016 special issue of Australasian Science, an Australian monthly science magazine for the general public. The issue, Genomics, is dedicated to ethical and social issues in genomics. It includes several articles written or co-written by Sydney Health Ethics staff, including A/Prof Ainsley Newson, Dr Wendy Lipworth, Dr Paul Mason, Dr Jacqueline Savard, Prof Ian Kerridge and Dr Tereza Hendl. Topics include: Genomic Testing as a Lifetime Health Resource?, The Ethics of Online Genomics Tests, Biobanks Go Global, and The Stem Cell “Sell”. The special issue is currently on sale at Newsagents.

Wiser Healthcare Research Collaboration

Wiser Healthcare logo

Funded by two related grants from the National Health and Medical Council (NHMRC), a group of collaborating researchers from the University of Sydney, Bond University, Monash University and international colleagues launched Wiser Healthcare, a collaboration which aims to conduct research that will reduce overdiagnosis and overtreatment in Australia and around the world.
More information on Wiser Healthcare
More information on overdiagnosis

Sydney Ideas Events:

17 May 2016: Defending the Aussie Mozzie


Fossil showing Plasmodium Malaria. By Oregon State University CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

The Marie Bashir Institute in partnership with the Human Animal Research Network present a panel discussion on issues relating to the recent Zika outbreak and relevant broader, contextual features of human-mosquito relations. Questions of interest include: Is Zika a threat in Australia? What other threats are there to human health from mosquito-borne disease? Why are such threats growing rather than receding? What do we know about how human behaviour influences mosquitoes, and vice-versa?


  • Dr Cameron Webb, Clinical Lecturer, Marie Bashir Institute of Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity, University of Sydney
  • A/Prof Tess Lea, Department of Gender and Cultural Studies, University of Sydney
  • Prof Angus Dawson, Director of Sydney Health Ethics

The Discussion will be moderated by Chris Degeling from Sydney Health Ethics.

Date and Venue: 17 May 2016, 6.00pm - 7.30pm, Law School Annex, University of Sydney

30 May 2016: Is Too Much Testing and Treatment Making us Sick?

lab image

Sydney Ideas in partnership with the Sydney School of Public Health present a panel discussion on modern medical tests - imaging, biomarkers and genetic tests. Done in the right way at the right time, they can be lifesaving, and in the past often have been. But might they have become too good? Could some tests now be leading too much diagnosis and too much treatment? If so, what’s driving this? What might the consequences be for individual citizens, patients, their families and health care systems? And how can we fix it?


New book: Public Health Ethics: Cases Spanning the Globe

Public Health Ethics: Cases Spanning the Globe book cover

Prof Angus Dawson is one of the editors of the new book Public Health Ethics: Cases Spanning the Globe. The collection contains background material and cases from public health policy and practice with contributions from twenty-three different countries.
The book highlights ethical issues and dilemmas that arise in the practice of public health. It is a tool to support instruction, debate, and dialogue regarding public health ethics. Although the practice of public health has always included consideration of ethical issues, the field of public health ethics as a discipline is a relatively new and emerging area. There are few practical training resources for public health practitioners, especially resources which include discussion of realistic cases which are likely to arise in the practice of public health. This work discusses these issues on a case to case basis and helps create awareness and understanding of the ethics of public health care. The main audience for the casebook are public health practitioners, including front-line workers, field epidemiology trainers and trainees, managers, planners, and decision makers who have an interest in learning about how to integrate ethical analysis into their day to day public health practice. The book is also useful to schools of public health and public health students as well as to academic ethicists who can use the book to teach public health ethics and distinguish it from clinical and research ethics.
The whole book is downloadable for free.

Holocaust Film Screenings and Panel Discussion

Two film screenings with panel discussions co-presented by Sydney Health Ethics and the Sydney Jewish Museum in association with the 2016 Holocaust Film Series.


FILM 1: A Nazi Legacy: What Our Fathers Did
Date: Monday, 2 May 2016, 7:30pm

A Jewish human rights lawyer confronts the sons of high ranking Nazi officials who bear witness to their father’s actions, their guilt and implicitness in the Nazi regime.
More information about the film, trailer, and tickets and about the panel discussion

FILM 2: Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah
Date: Tuesday 3 May 2016, 8pm

An exploration of the 12-year journey undertaken by French director Claude Lanzmann to make his 1985 film Shoah, a nine-and-a-half-hour-long documentary about the Holocaust.

New Children’s book

Phương and An go to the doctor – An educational book about tuberculosis for children by Dr Paul Mason with illustrations by Amelia Darmawan

book feature illustration

Paul published this book on World TB day, 24 March 2016. Copies of the book will be distributed to 120 villages in Ca Mau, the southernmost province of Vietnam. The book has been published in English, Vietnamese, Tagalog, French and Portuguese, with more translations in the pipeline.

A beautifully written and illustrated children’s book that educates children about the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis. This book will help to encourage children with TB and their families to seek treatment, and decrease the stigma associated with this disease. - Dr Jennifer Ho, Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, Vietnam.

The audiobook is available on soundcloud. The book is also available in PDF-format (English version).

Sydney Ideas: BALL & Other Funny Stories About Cancer

Brian Lobel performing

Image Credit: Dr J.

Date: 14 March 2016
Time: 6:00pm
Venue: Seymour Centre, Cnr of City Rd and Cleveland St, Chippendale, University of Sydney

Drawing from ten years of monologues and spoken word performances, Brian Lobel presents an hour of humorous, provocative, interactive and thoughtful reflections on a history of cancer and the patient experience. - A Sydney Ideas event at the Seymour Centre co-presented with Sydney Health Ethics, the School of Public Health, and the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies, all University of Sydney.

Special Presentation: "Unfathomable Journeys"

Date: 23 February 2016
Time: 1:00pm
Venue: Sydney Jewish Museum, 148 Darlinghurst Road, Darlinghurst NSW 2010

Otto Walter portrait

Image Credit: Sydney Jewish Museum

Fifty years ago, eminent physician Dr Otto Walter abandoned life in Australia to return to Austria, leaving his crestfallen young grandson, Garry, to wonder why he had gone. - In this lecture, Professor Garry Walter AM explores the possible reasons for his grandfather’s departure, weaving in aspects of Otto’s extraordinary life, including his flight from Vienna after Kristallnacht, and his struggles to stay one step ahead of the Nazis in Europe. Otto was to settle in Palestine (later Israel), before coming to Australia in 1949 on the Cyrenia – serving as the ship’s doctor for Jewish refugees. In Australia, the consummate medical skills that had proven life-saving for Otto’s family, were not formally recognised, marking the end of a distinguished career.

Warwick Anderson receives History and Philosophy of Science Medal

Professor Warwick Anderson

8 Feb 2016:

Professor Warwick Anderson is being awarded the 2015 Royal Society of New South Wales History and Philosophy of Science Medal.

Structures of survival: Managing emerging infectious diseases in the twenty first century

Half-day Symposium

Date: Thursday, 10 December 2015
Time: 1.30pm - 7.00pm
Venue: New Law School, University of Sydney Main Campus

ebola virus image

The outbreak of Ebolavirus disease, which spread widely across three West African nations in 2014, and the delay and subsequent difficulty controlling it, offered a sobering preview of the potential impacts of other emerging or drug resistant infectious diseases in the twenty first century. This symposium will examine how socioeconomic, cultural and political systems contribute to the emergence, transmission and control of infectious diseases. Instead of focusing on pathogens and infection control measures, this symposium will explore the contexts that contribute to infectious disease outbreaks and to surviving them.

The symposium will be concluded by the public forum Surviving Ebola: facing the challenge with Professor Angus Dawson (Making good decision for West Africa) and Professor Catherine Womack (Ebola and health policy).

Medical Ethics in the Shadow of the Holocaust

Date: 15 November 2015
Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm
Venue: Sydney Jewish Museum, 148 Darlinghurst Road, Darlinghurst NSW 2010

holocaust memorial

Holocaust Memorial, Berlin

A seminar for medical and healthcare practitioners, students and scholars presented by Sydney Health Ethics and the Sydney Jewish Museum.

Join academics and physicians in examining the evolution of medical ethics and the relationship between the profession and the state. Does the moral low point in the history of medicine provide guidance for today’s quandaries in medical ethics? What is the place of euthanasia and eugenics in contemporary society? - Participants will have the opportunity to engage with living witnesses to genocide.

A certificate of completion will be provided for CME points.

Early bird admission (until 30 Sept): $175
General admission: $195 (light lunch included)
Student concession: available on request

'Ich Klage An' - Film Screening and Discussion

Date: 7 October 2015
Time: 7:00 pm
Venue: Sydney Jewish Museum, 148 Darlinghurst Road, Darlinghurst NSW 2010

The Sydney Jewish Museum and Sydney Health Ethics present 'Ich Klage An' ['I accuse'].


Hitler, Goebbels and others watch filming at Ufa, 1935

Under Nazism, members of the German public and medical profession enabled the systematic murder of the mentally and physically disabled. For the first time in Australia, see the film that sought to convince so many Germans of the program’s legitimacy…

Join us for a screening of the film followed by a special panel discussion featuring:

  • Professor Miles Little (Founding Director of Sydney Health Ethics)
  • Professor Ron McCallum (Emeritus Professor, Faculty of Law, The University of Sydney)
  • Professor Dany Celemajer (Department of Sociology and Social Policy, The University of Sydney)
  • Facilitated by Dr Avril Alba (Lecturer in Holocaust Studies and Jewish Civilization at the University of Sydney)

Ian Kerridge receives NHMRC Ethics Award 2015

Ian Kerridge headshot

22 September 2015: Congratulations to Associate Professor Ian Kerridge on receiving the NHMRC Ethics Award 2015. It's a mighty achievement.

The NHMRC citation:

"Associate Professor Kerridge has spent his entire career dissecting ethical issues in health practice and policy and promoting high ethical standards in health care and research. He was a member of the Legislation Review Committee that examined human cloning and the use of human embryos, and most recently, was a member of the Australian Health Ethics Committee and the Assisted Reproductive Technology Committee"

Reclaiming the Knowledge Commons: The Ethics of Academic Publishing and the Futures of Research


Date: Wednesday, 26 August 2015
Time: 9am – 4:30pm
Venue: State Library of New South Wales, Macquarie St, Sydney NSW 2000

Program: The symposium will comprise four sessions:

  • Corporatisation and the commercialisation of knowledge
  • Democratizing knowledge or selling the farm? The emergence and challenges of ‘Open Access’
  • Dissolving barriers – and boundaries: Scholars and the possibilities of the new digital knowledge commons
  • Taking up the challenge of ethical academic publication

Speakers: Emeritus Professor Stephen Leeder, Professor Paul Komesaroff, A/Professor Andrew Bonnell, Dr John Byron, JoAnne Sparks, Professor Virginia Barbour, Rosalia Garcia (SAGE), and Professor Christopher Wright