Posted on November 9, 2013
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Founded in 2011 by Ana Lita, Ph.D. and Charles Debrovner, M.D., the Global Bioethics Initiative concentrates on the disparity between wealth and poverty, and the public health issues it creates. Global Bioethics Initiative (GBI), headquartered in New York City, is an international non-governmental organization and a project of the Fund for the City of New York (FCNY), for fiscal sponsorship.
Global Bioethics Initiative (GBI) is dedicated to fostering public awareness and understanding of bioethical issues, as well as to exploring solutions to bioethical challenges.
GBI has established four goals to achieve its mission:
- To promote interdisciplinary research and provide the public with information pertaining to bioethical issues
- To engage a broader audience in public debates on emerging technologies and their potential impact
- To collaborate with policy makers, including those at the United Nations (UN) and its agencies to identify solutions to global health problems
- To encourage international debates at the intersection of health, biotechnology and medicine
1. Human organ transplantation and trafficking
One of the most beneficial achievements of modern medicine is organ transplantation which saves lives and returns individuals with debilitating illnesses back to having productive and fulfilling lives. Organ retrieval and transplants have raised many ethical issues and since the first kidney transplant in 1954, a growing shortage of organs has led to a daily death of 16-18 patients in the United States alone. Efforts to encourage organ procurement from cadaveric donors, along with extended acceptability of living donations, have not increased the supply of organs nearly enough to satisfy the growing demand worldwide. GBI's Organ Transplantation and Trafficking project addresses the ethical issues generated by recent and ongoing advances in organ transplantation, the problem of organ supply versus organ demand, procurement policies, global organ trafficking and some possible solutions to organ shortage.
2. Ethical issues surrounding End-of-Life
The ever increasing pace of biotechnological progress calls for a shift in how we think about aging. Public debates over whether the "right to die" is universal, only applies under certain circumstances (such as terminal illness), or exists at all, challenges the work of End-of-Life advocates trying to determine the elements of so-called "good death." GBI's End of Life care program provides the public with information and opportunities to discuss the ethical issues related to both "life extension" and the "right to die" debates
3. Ethical issues related to Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART)
While some policy makers argue over the availability of birth control – a relatively old practice – advances in reproductive science have moved far beyond in-vitro fertilization (IVF), and the advancement of new technologies (egg and sperm donation, sex selection, surrogate births, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, among them) raise new and important ethical questions to be addressed. ART have helped millions of infertile couples and individuals who have decided to have children. However, the expansion of this technology globally has generated numerous social, ethical, and legal questions and challenges. GBI's Assisted Reproductive Technologies project addresses the most visible and challenging aspects of ART.
4. Regenerative medicine and healthy aging
Questions of age and age(ing) are rapidly shifting to the centre of the public, as well as academic discourses, given the recent developments in stem cell therapies. However, the theoretical and methodological premises of understanding and conceptualizing the emerging field of stem cell research are often less than clear. The dominant perspective in many Western countries is based on the understanding of age(ing) and age-related diseases in terms of physical, mental decline and pathology. The GBI project on Regenerative medicine and healthy aging calls for ethical analysis of contemporary biomedical research and discussion of current developments in biotechnology and the biology of aging.
GBI fosters a deeper understanding of the intersection of ethics, global health, human rights, and biotechnology through the use of research and policy change recommendations.
Alleviate Suffering, Prevent Premature Death, Promote Well-being
With offices at 777 UN Plaza, overlooking the United Nations headquarters in New York City, the Initiative is a fully-independent, not-for-profit organization.