Category Archives: In the News

Psychologists not immune from prohibition on diagnosing famous figures

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As consumers of the media, it is not uncommon to “diagnose” public figures with various mental disorders, depending on their representation in the press. But for psychologists and psychiatrists, is doing so unethical?

In an op-ed in The New York Times, Columbia University’s Dr. Robert Klitzman explained that for psychiatrists like himself, there is a prohibition from the American Psychiatric Association on providing professional opinions on individuals they have never met or evaluated before.

Troublingly, though, Klitzman mentions that “Psychologists (with Ph.D.s, as opposed to psychiatrists, with medical degrees) argue that this principle does not fully apply to them, and that offering diagnoses of public figures can be in the national interest.”

According to Fordham University Center for Ethics Education Director, and chair of the 2002 American Psychological Association’s Ethics Code Task Force Dr. Celia B. Fisher, that is not accurate.

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10 years after Vioxx scandal, pharmaceutical companies caught again misleading patients using false claims

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Pharmaceutical companies have once again used industry influence to conceal data and make false claims about a high-profile medication.

Today The New York Times reported that Johnson & Johnson and Bayer – the companies behind the anti-clotting drug Xarelto – are responsible for critical laboratory data being left out of a letter published in The New England Journal of Medicine discussing the safety of the medication. Lawyers representing patients suing the two major pharmaceutical companies claim that both corporations were complicit by remaining silent about the data concealed from the publication.

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The CDC Recommends Women of Childbearing Age Use Contraception if They Wish to Drink Alcohol

By Elizabeth Yuko, Ph.D.

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a recommendation that women of childbearing age should abstain from alcohol consumption unless they are on some form of contraception.

This is ethically problematic for several reasons, the first being the blatant and outright paternalism and mistrust of women.

The CDC Vital Signs report estimates that “3.3 million women between the ages of 15 and 44 are at risk of exposing their developing baby to alcohol because they are drinking, sexually active, and not using birth control to prevent pregnancy.” While the CDC’s intentions are good – attempting to curb incidents of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders – advocating a policy that does not respect women’s autonomy when it comes to making decisions regarding  consumption of alcohol and use of contraception is troubling.

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Ethics & Society 2015 Year in Review

Starting with a national discussion on vaccinations, public health and autonomy, and ending with widespread reflection on yet another mass shooting, 2015 had no shortage of ethics-related news and events.

Here are a few highlights of the work of Fordham University Center for Ethics Education faculty, staff, and students from 2015:

Dr. Celia B. Fisher Contributes to National Discussion on Ethical Review & Oversight Issues in Standard of Care Research

Common clinical practices might lack a robust evidence base if there have not been empirical interventional research studies to compare an array of available routine or standard treatment options. Fordham University Center for Ethics Education Director Dr. Celia B. Fisher, an internationally renowned expert on empirical research on research ethics, recently traveled to Washington, D.C. to participate in an Institute of Medicine (IOM) workshop aimed to inform practice and policy of regulated research studies involving standard of care interventions. Read more here.

 

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‘Family is Family’: Why Intel’s New Adoption & Fertility Policies are a Step in the Right Direction

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By Elizabeth Yuko, Ph.D.

This week Intel announced new job benefit policies that include tripling their adoption assistance program, and quadrupling their fertility coverage, noting, “family is family – no matter what it looks like.”

This comes after the company unveiled an expanded “family bonding leave” policy in January, which allows employees who are new parents to take up to eight weeks of paid leave, in addition to the existing pregnancy policy that provides new mothers with up to 13 weeks of paid time off. The “family bonding leave” can be taken any time within the first 12 months of a child’s birth, adoption, or foster care placement.

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NIH’s New Definition of “Children” Finally Gets it Right: A Welcome Change for Children’s Health Equity

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By Celia B. Fisher, Ph.D.

Under current federal research regulations, a “child” is defined as an individual younger than 21 years of age – a policy that has produced inequities in health research for youth younger than 18 years of age.

Beginning January 25th, 2016, that will change: the age of a child will be defined as an individual less than 18 years old. This is a welcome change that can begin to address the urgent need for age- and population-targeted research to avoid the use of treatments tested in young adult populations that may be unsuited for adolescents and children.

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Stopping Pseudoscience & Protecting Children’s Lives: Fordham’s Dr. Celia B. Fisher on SAMHSA Expert Panel Behind White House Groundbreaking Conversion Therapy Report

SAMHSA

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A report released today is a major step in President Obama’s commitment to expand the number of states enacting “Leelah’s Law,” which would ban the use of conversion therapy to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of lesbian, gay and transgender children and youth.

Dr. Celia B. Fisher, Director of the Fordham University Center for Ethics Education and the Marie Ward Doty Endowed Chair and Professor of Psychology served on the expert consensus panel whose recommendations form the basis of this report.

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