Monday, March 21, 2011

UAB student bioethics team brings home the national title

They did it! The UAB Bioethics Bowl team won the 2011 National Undergraduate Bioethics Conference at Duke University on Sunday.

"Two national championships in two years; this is great for UAB," said Gregory Pence, Ph.D., a philosophy professor in the College of Arts and Sciences and who leads the team.

Over the weekend, the UAB students went head to head with Georgetown and Miami Universities, as well as teams with strong connections to graduate programs in bioethics, such as SUNY-Albany and Loyola-Chicago. Their challenge was to debate some of today's most difficult medical ethics issues.

The students are all part of the Early Medical Professional Schools Acceptance Program (EMPSAP), which Pence directs. "They were a natural fit for this competition because it focuses on the ethics of medical cases," he says. “It was a no-brainer.”

Last year, Pence’s ethics team surprised everyone, even him, when in only their second year competing, they won the National Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl. It was a Cinderella tale, he said.

This year, that team fell short of the national competition, but Pence felt they were still very competitive – so he created the bioethics group with two of the original members of the ethics bowl team and suited them up for battle. When the smoke cleared from the intense competition, the Blazers stood as victors.

The bioethics team members are Ethan Mallick Hossain, Rachael Rosales, Majaliwa Mzombwe, Aditi Jani and Kevin Quichen Jiang. Alice Zhang attended the competition as one of 16 students nationally chosen to present her research at the conference. Also there were Nick Beum and Raam Venkatesh as at-large representatives from UAB.

The trip was co-sponsored by UAB’s Center for Ethics and Values in the Sciences.

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