American Jewish Experience in Medicine Program

​Spotlighting the history and intellectual contributions of the American Jewish community in medicine and healthcare.​

Helen Morris and heliotherapy

About the Program:

When Helen Morris, MD, graduated from the CU School of Medicine in 1956, she was one of only five women in her class.  After a long and accomplished career in research and teaching, Dr. Morris is celebrated not only for boldly blazing the trail generations of women would follow into medicine, but also for her philanthropy, mentorship, and community service.

A Denver native and child of eastern European immigrants, one of Dr. Morris’ latest gifts is funding the new American Jewish Experience in Medicine Program at the Center for Bioethics and Humanities.  Center Director Matthew Wynia, MD, MPH is excited to be hosting the new program. “Dr. Morris’ gift is incredibly creative and a perfect fit for us, because it exemplifies the intersection of humanities and bioethics by examining how history affects the culture of health care today.”


Unexpected Insights:  Recorded on October 24, 2023


A conversation about BRCA gene mutations, genetic testing, and the role of Jewish scientists, ethicists, and advocates in the evolution and advancement of genetic testing.

Panelists:

  • Rachel Rabinovitch, MD, Vice Chair for Clinical Research and Professor in the Departments of Radiation Oncology & Medicine at the University of Colorado Comprehensive Cancer Center.
  • Michelle Springer, MS, CGC, Certified Genetic Counselor and Instructor at CU School of Medicine.
  • Paul Wolpe, PhD, Distinguished Research Chair of Jewish Bioethics, Professor of Medicine, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Neuroscience and Biological Behavior, and Sociology, and the Director of the Center for Ethics at Emory University.
  • Matthew Wynia, MD, MPH, Director of the Center for Bioethics and Humanities will moderate the discussion.


 

                                  Read the feature story about about the AEJM Program in CU Anschutz News>>


Dr. Wynia believes the new American Jewish Experience in Medicine Program will expand awareness of the history of Jewish people in the health sciences, using this history to illuminate contemporary challenges and encourage mutual understanding in a multicultural society.  “At most medical campuses history is a neglected branch of the health humanities,” he says, “but our campus is relatively unique in our strong efforts to learn from history. Like Dr. Morris, we believe that learning history is critical for understanding the present and for building a better future. We won’t be able to create the future we want if we don’t understand how we got to where we are today.”

View recording of event on June 6, 2023
Resilience & Reflections: A Conversation with Lilly Marks A child of Holocaust survivors, Lilly Marks’ parents couldn’t help with her homework – but they gave her indelible lessons on surviving adversity and shouldering responsibility. From practicing balancing her parents’ checkbook in 5th grade, she would go on to become a member of the Federal Reserve Bank Board of Directors, an author of a key section of the Affordable Care Act, Vice President for Health Affairs at the University of Colorado, and a key player in building today’s thriving Anschutz Medical Campus. Join us for a rare personal conversation about her extraordinary life.  This was the first event in the 2023-2024 series, Unexpected Insights: Conversations with Jewish Women in Medicine.

View recording of event on February 13, 2023
Nuremberg Memories and the Founding of American Bioethics, was presented by Robert Baker, PhD, William D. Williams Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Union College, NY, Adjunct Professor of Bioethics, Clarkson University, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.  Baker explained how memories of the 1946-1947 Nuremberg Doctors Trial inspired Jews and others to publicize research scandals perpetrated by American physicians, paving the way for the birth of bioethics. A discussion followed with Ira Bedzow, PhD, Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University and Sabine Hildebrandt, MD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, exploring the connections between whistleblowing, morality, and moral sightedness.

View recording of event on September 9, 2022
Jewish Bioethics:  What All Health Professionals Should Know was presented by Paul Root Wolpe, PhD, Director of the Center for Ethics at Emory University.  A panel, moderated by Matthew Wynia, MD, MPH, followed with discussants Rabbi Dr. Jason Weiner, BCC, Director of Spiritual Care at Cedars-Sinai Hospital and Jeremy Lazarus, MD, Past President of the American Medical Association and member of the AMA's Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs. 

View recording of event on April 25, 2022
Medical Racism and the American Jewish Experience, was presented by Barron H. Lerner, MD, PhD.  Dr Lerner is a historian of medicine and bioethicist in the Division of Medical Ethics at the New York University Grossman School of Medicine.  Discussants included; Gregg Drinkwater, PhD is a visiting Assistant professor at the CU Boulder Program in Jewish Studies.  Drinkwater’s research focuses on sexuality, gender, and Judaism in the modern United States.  Alan M. Kraut, PhD, Professor of History at American University and a fellow of the Migration Policy Institute.  Aletha Maybank, MD, MPH is the chief health equity officer and senior vice president for the American Medical Association where she focuses on embedding health equity across all the work of the AMA and leading its Center for Health Equity, and Shanta M. Zimmer, MD is the Senior Associate Dean for Education and the Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. 

View recording of the Inaugural Event on March 14, 2022
Legacies of the American Jewish Health Community: Colorado’s Leading Role in Treating Tuberculosis, presented by Jeanne Abrams, PhD, Professor, University of Denver Libraries and Center for Judaic Studies and Director of the Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society & Beck Archives.  Featuring respondents Charles L. Daley, MD, Chief, Division of Mycobacterial and Respiratory Infections, National Jewish Health and Tom Noel, PhD, Professor Emeritus of History and Director of Public History, Preservation & Colorado Studies, University of Colorado Denver.

                                                                         Top right image:  Heliotherapy on porches, Jewish Consumptive Relief Society, circa 1930                                                                                                                                                             Beck Archives, University of Denver Libraries 

Make a Gift

Your gift makes a difference.
Any contribution great or small
is appreciated!

Link to Giving Page:  https://giving.cu.edu/helenmorrisfund

For information about donations contact Michael Tortoro at (303) 724-7618
in the CU Office of Advancement.​​​