Assisted Death: Ethically Responding to Patient Requests for Assistance in Dying

October 6, 2017 • Hampton Inn • Columbia, MO

Information | Agenda/Handouts | Registration | Speakers | Pellegrino Lecture | Accreditation | Location & Lodging | Sponsors


(Speaker biographies will be posted as they are received)

  • Lawrence J. Prograis, Jr., MD, Adjunct Professor, Department of Allergy and Immunology/Internal Medicine;
    Affiliated Scholar in the Center for Clinical Bioethics, Georgetown University Medical Center

Lawrence J. Prograis, Jr. presently serves as an Affiliated Scholar in the Center for Clinical Bioethics, Georgetown University Medical Center. In the Center for Clinical Bioethics at Georgetown University Medical Center his research interests include, research ethics (specifically, the clinical investigator-patient/subject relationship), ethics consultations, and the role of culture in ethics.

From 1989 to 1991, he was the Chief of the Asthma and Allergy Branch within the Division of Allergy, Immunology and Transplantation (DAIT), National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, (NIAID), National Institutes of Health, (NIH). In 1991, he became the Deputy Director of DAIT. He served in this position until 2002.  From 2002-2016, Dr. Prograis served as Senior Scientist for Special Programs and Bioethics in DAIT. He was responsible for developing and participating in inter/intra Institute activities concerning administrative and scientific matters associated with the Division’s immunology research training programs, Small Business Innovation Research, and Bioethical issues.

Dr. Prograis has received numerous awards, including the NIH Merit Award, the Public Health Service Special Recognition Award, and the Georgetown University Clemens von Pirquet Award in Allergy and Immunology. He is a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society. He has published in the fields of allergy, immunology and ethics. His most recent publication is as co-editor with Dr. Edmund Pellegrino, Chairman of the President’s Council on Bioethics, a book entitled African American Bioethics: Culture, Race, and Identity.

  • Susan Hedlund, MSW, LCSW
    Manager of Patient and Family Support Services, Knight Cancer Institute, Oregon Health and Science University

Susan Hedlund, LCSW, has been a social worker in the health care field for thirty years and has extensive experience working with individuals and families facing life threatening illness and loss. She is currently the Manager of Patient and Family Support Services at the Knight Cancer Institute at OHSU. She was previously the Director of Social Services and Palliative Care for Hospice and Palliative Care of Washington County in Portland Oregon, and is an associate professor the School of Medicine at Oregon Health & Sciences University, as well as the Graduate School of Social Work at Portland State University. She was previously the Director of Counseling at Cancer Care Resources, and continues to work with people with cancer in a variety of settings.

She was a 2013 recipient of Sojourn’s Award from the Cambia Foundation for excellence in palliative care.

She is a past president of the National Association of Oncology Social Work, and received their Leadership Award in 1999, and the national American Cancer Society Quality of Life Award in 2009.  She publishes on topics related to coping with illness, end of life issues, and loss, most recently in the Oxford University’s Textbook on SocialWork in Palliative Care and the Handbook of Oncology Social Work. Additionally she served on the Oregon State Task Force to Improve the Care of Terminally Ill Oregonians, the Oregon Partnership for Cancer Control, is a Senior Scholar for the Center for Ethics at OHSU and co-founded the Well Arts Institute, a non-profit program for arts in health care settings. She is the past chair of the Health Specialty Practice Section for NASW nationally. She was appointed to the task force that wrote the guidelines for Oregon’s Death with Dignity Law after it was passed by Oregon’s voters.

  • Jeffrey Bryan, DVM, MS, PhD, DACVIM (Oncology)
    Associate Professor, Oncology; Director, Comparative Oncology and Epigenetics Laboratory, MU College of Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Jeffrey Bryan’s research focuses on comparative examination of cancers in companion animals to better understand cancers in all species. Bryan is an associate professor of veterinary oncology and director of the Comparative Oncology and Epigenetics Laboratory. His particular areas of interest are targeted imaging and therapy and epigenetics of cancer. Targeted imaging and therapy agents take advantage of particular properties of cancer to deliver an imaging or therapy payload to tumors. Bryan is leading research projects studying an immunotherapy agent targeted to the low-oxygen environment of cancer, an herbal derivative that targets iron in tumors, and a nanoparticle chemotherapy targeted to the lymphatic drainage of cancer. The agents under evaluation are destined for use in both dogs and humans to treat lymphomas as well as solid tumors like sarcomas, head and neck cancer, and breast cancer. Each of these trials is designed to develop an approach that is less toxic and more effective than our current cancer treatments.

Dr. Bryan earned a Bachelor of Science degree in veterinary science from the University of California – Davis in 1991.  He received his D.V.M. from the University of California – Davis in 1993. He then worked as an Associate Veterinarian from 1993-1995, and then served as Medical Director of the Irving Street Veterinary Hospital in San Francisco, CA from 1995-2002.  Bryan then completed a medical oncology residency, a Masters of Biomedical Sciences, and a PhD in Pathobiology at the University of Missouri.  He received certification by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in Oncology 2005.  He has been a research assistant professor at the University of Missouri and an assistant professor of Oncology at Washington State University prior to his current post at the University of Missouri. He is the Director of the Tom and Betty Scott Endowed Program in Veterinary Oncology, the Comparative Oncology Radiobiology and Epigenetics Laboratory, and the PET Imaging Center of the University of Missouri.

Epigenetics is the study of mechanisms that change expression of genes critical to cell growth without changing the DNA sequence by mutation. DNA methylation can cause the complete silencing of genes that act as brakes on cell division without any mutation to the gene itself. Unlike mutations, which are permanent changes to the DNA, methylation can be reversed, and the gene can function again, putting the brakes back on cell growth. Bryan’s group investigates epigenetic causes and contributions to animal cancers to assist in identifying the most biologically relevant changes in human cancers by comparison. The program operates on the evidence that understanding disease in multiple species will help research progress more rapidly in treatment than looking at one species at a time.

  • Paul J. Litton, JD, PhD

Associate Dean for Faculty Research and R. B. Price Professor of Law

BA cum laude, University of Pennsylvania, ’94
JD, University of Pennsylvania Law School, ’99
PhD, University of Pennsylvania, ’03

Paul Litton joined the faculty in 2006. He received a J.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied through the University’s Joint Program in Law and Philosophy. He was law clerk to Chief Justice Deborah T. Poritz of the New Jersey Supreme Court, serving a second term as the Court’s death penalty law clerk. From 2004 to 2006 he was a fellow in the Department of Clinical Bioethics within the National Institutes of Health.

Professor Litton’s research primarily focuses on moral philosophy and criminal law theory, as well as in bioethics. Professor Litton teaches Criminal Law, Death Penalty Law, Jurisprudence, and Bioethics & Law.