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UNH Professor to Discuss Ethics of Public Health at National Conference in November

Release Date:
6/19/2014 12:00 AM
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June 19, 2014

Summer McGee, features Summer McGee

WEST HAVEN, CONN. -- Summer McGee, associate professor of public management, will discuss the ethical imperative to prevent prescription drug abuse and the need to improve training in ethics for healthcare administrators at a national conference in November.

McGee, who was executive editor of The American Journal of Bioethics for four years, has been selected to give a talk about her paper “Ethics Education for Healthcare Administrators: Challenges and Opportunities for Thinking Differently about Health Care Ethics” and to do a poster presentation based on her paper “Ethics of Opioid Contracts as a Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Strategy” at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting in November in New Orleans, La.  

The conference is the most prestigious and selective annual meeting in public health and has more than 12,000 attendees and 1,000 presentations from public health scholars around the world. 

The ethics education paper, written with Cynthia Conrad, associate professor and chair of the UNH public management department, looks at a number of issues in healthcare administration, including conflicts of interest and commitment, fairness and transparency in personnel management and human resources, resource scarcity and budgeting, stakeholder management, reporting fraud and abuse, and professionalism.

“Healthcare administrators face ethical conflicts and moral obligation every day,” McGee said. “Yet conventional approaches to teaching bioethics do not prepare healthcare administrators properly, leaving these professionals armed only with cases designed to teach clinicians at the bedside or legal or regulatory approaches to moral problems.”

The issue of prescribing opioids is also complex, McGee said.  The paper on this topic,  written with Kristine Keough Forte, of PeaceHealth, St. John’s Medical Center and Clinics in Belleview, Wash., and  Dr. Daniel Tobin of Yale School of Medicine, suggests that the current approach to opioid prescribing and informed consent is not evidenced based or ethically justifiable. Instead, a new model for opioid informed consent that is patient centered and based on shared responsibility is needed. 

The University of New Haven is a private, top-tier comprehensive institution recognized as a national leader in experiential education. Founded in 1920 the university enrolls approximately 1,800 graduate students and more than 4,600 undergraduates.