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Bioethics Center
Organizations Active in Bioethics

These organizations and many others like them are advancing the field of bioethics through scholarship, educational programs, and advocacy work.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

The world’s largest general scientific society and the publisher of Science magazine has two programs that deal directly with issues in bioethics and professional ethics: Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion and Scientific Freedom, Responsibility, and Law. The programs include projects on the ethical and religious implications of gene patenting, stem cell research, and behavioral genetics, among other topics.

The American Medical Association (AMA)

The AMA’s Ethics Standard Group develops ethics policies for practicing physicians, conducts ethics education programs, and pursues scholarly research examining critical ethical issues in medicine. The Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs publishes frequent opinions on ethical issues in genetics, including Disclosure of Familial Risk in Genetic Testing and Safeguards in the Use of DNA Databanks in Genomic Research.

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM)

This organization is dedicated to advancing knowledge and expertise in infertility and reproductive medicine. Reports by the ethics committee include Donating Spare Embryos for Embryonic Stem-Cell Research and Preconception Gender Selection for Nonmedical Reasons.

The Council for Responsible Genetics

This group fosters public debate about the social, ethical, and environmental implications of genetic technologies and distributes public information about ethical issues and emerging issues in biotechnology. The Council publishes the magazine GeneWatch. Its educational programs and research topics include cloning and human genetic manipulation and also genetic testing, privacy and discrimination.

Genetic Alliance

This is an international coalition of individuals with genetic diseases and hundreds of advocacy, research and health care organizations that represent their interests. The Alliance focuses on affordable access to genetic technologies and protections for human research subjects. The Web site has information about bioethics and legislation and a global directory of support groups for people with genetic diseases.

The Hastings Center

This independent bioethics research institute studies ethical issues in health care, biotechnology and the environment. The Center focuses on the societal implications of advances in genetics and biotechnology and publishes the journal IRB: Ethics & Human Research. Other publications on genetics and ethics include EDGE: Education in Genetic Ethics and Reprogenetics: A Blueprint for Meaningful Moral Debate & Responsible Public Policy.

The Institute of Medicine

The IOM is part of the US National Academy of Sciences and was created to provide analysis and advice to the government as well as other organizations. Neither the IOM nor the NAS is a government agency. The Institute’s publications included Responsible Research: A Systems Approach to Protecting the Rights of Research Participants and a report about medical errors, To Err is Human: Building A Safer Health System.

The National Conference of State Legislatures

This is service organization for state lawmakers, and the public side of their Web site has information on genetic technologies and the law. This includes a database of state genetics laws on embryonic and fetal research, human cloning, and genetic privacy, among other genetics-related legislation.

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life

This group examines how religion shapes the ideas and institutions of American society. Through its research and conferences, the Forum’s Bioethics Division addresses religious perspectives on bioethics issues, including cloning and stem cell research.

Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research (PRIM&R)

This group promotes ethical standards in the conduct of research. They offer educational programs and hold an annual conference on Institutional Review Boards. A PRIM&R course entitled Responsible Conduct of Research 101 travels around the United States each year.

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