Conference Background and Mission

The Mendel Society of Boston College is a group of undergraduate students with science and pre-health interests. A hallmark event hosted by this society is its annual bioethics conference. The Boston College Bioethics Conference attracts students, professors, and professionals from around the Northeast. The conference was created with the vision of increasing awareness of bioethical issues. The conference offers an opportunity to stimulate critical thinking and ethical discourse, facilitate academic exchange, and contribute to professional development of students, faculty, and visiting scholars. Boston College's diverse faculty and student body combined with its Jesuit foundation present a unique environment to address ethical and societal concerns about bioethics. The Boston College Bioethics Conference strives to act as a catalyst to facilitate students in becoming more aware and active members of the global community.

2007 Conference Summary

The 30th annual Bioethics Conference was held on February 10, 2007 in Higgins Hall on the Boston College Chestnut Hill campus. This year's keynote speaker was Einer R. Elhauge of Harvard Law School. Professor Elhauge is the Carroll and Milton Petrie Professor of Law as well as the director of the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard University. He has published various articles and spoke at the conference on "Regulation: The Engineering of Human Biology."

This year's faculty speakers were Professor Stephen J. Pope of the Theology Department at Boston College and Mary Ann Chirba-Martin of Boston College School of Law. Our feature student presentation was Laura Biron, Kennedy Memorial Scholar of Harvard University. Laura's discussion of "Global Justice and the TRIPS Agreement" led to an great question and discussion period. The remainder of the day included various presentations by both faculty and student speakers, lunch and a final panel including many of the day's speakers. We were also pleased to have Stas Gayshan and Jessica Davis, students at the Boston College Law School, participate in the conference as well as the panel discussion.

2006 Conference Summary

Boston College's 29th annual Bioethics Conference was hosted on Saturday February 25, 2006 from 8:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. at Higgins Hall on the Boston College Chestnut Hill campus. This year the event was co-sponsored by Boston College's Mendel Society and Boston University's Bioethics Society. Over 200 students and professors from around the Northeast attended. The theme of this year's conference was “Definitions of Life,” emphasizing the importance of understanding the bioethical issues that face society at all stages of life.

The day began with an introduction from Boston College's academic vice president, Dr. Cuberto Garza, and was followed by the keynote presentation, delivered by Dean Diane Hoffmann from the University of Maryland Law School. Her lecture focused on the issues regarding end-of-life care. The day progressed with poster presentations and concurrent discussion sessions on a variety of bioethical topics lead by students from Boston College, Boston University, and Providence College.

The featured student presentation was delivered by Colin Pears, who discussed the importance of an ontological understanding of life. Additional speakers throughout the day included the Boston College faculty members Dr. Lisa Sowle Cahill (Theology), Dr. Raymond Devettere (Medical Ethics), Meghan Scully (Philosophy Department), and Professor John Williamson (Sociology). The conference concluded with a panel session featuring the faculty speakers and Dean Hoffmann, during which audience questions were addressed.