Maywood, Ill. â€” Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine Neiswanger Institute for Bioethics and Health Policy Director Mark Kuczewski, PhD, was recently named president of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities (ASBH).
â€œI am humbled by this leadership role and find it quite a privilege,â€ said Kuczewski. â€œItâ€™s about stewarding the wonderful gifts and resources that the members bring to help them as individuals as well as us as a society to reach our full potential.â€
As president, Kuczewski hopes to shepherd the societyâ€™s efforts toward creating professional standards for the practice and education in the field of bioethics and medical humanities. He also wants to ensure that the human values that are at the heart of their mission are not overlooked in the pursuit of professionalism.
â€œItâ€™s so easy in a large health-care system for the human dimension to get lost. Bioethics keeps open that human side,â€ said Kuczewski. â€œWe need to make sure that we too, as we grow as a field, do not forget that we are about forming and nurturing the kind of people who bring human values to health-care.â€
Kuczewski sees the need and impact of bioethics becoming even more vital as health-care workers face questions concerning the health-care system, new technologies and changes in interacting and caring for patients.
â€œOn the clinical side we ensure all voices are heard in the discussion of challenging issues. We bring together the wishes of the patient and family as well as the values of the health-care providers,â€ said Kuczewski, â€œAcademically we help future professionals gain the skills and resources they need to appropriately respond to the ethical challenges they may face in the future.â€
Kuczewski has led the Neiswanger Institute for Bioethics and Health Policy for more than a decade. He is the author of several books including An Ethics Casebook for Hospitals: Practical Approaches to Everyday Cases and Practicing Bioethics. He has served on the ASBH Board of Directors for three years and participated in several task forces including the recent group that issued a landmark document, â€œImproving Competence in Ethics Consultations: A Learnerâ€™s Guide.â€
In addition to his abundant academic and literary credentials he brings a passion for education and social justice.
â€œI have a deep respect for the many kinds of people and the work that is being done to assist the sick and most vulnerable,â€ said Kuczewski. â€œWe have long been aware that our subject matter involved viewing and reflecting upon, sometimes stepping into, the intimate space of vulnerable people, whether terminal patients or subjects. As we live, we cannot help but sometimes be those vulnerable people and come to understand anew what vulnerability means.â€