Holocaust Genocide and Contemporary Bioethics Program

​Promoting education, scholarship and community engagement on the lessons of the Holocaust for health care and society.​

Demolished Building2019 Program

Medicine and Morality in Times of War
Nearly 80 years after German physicians and other health professionals carried out some of the most heinous Nazi war crimes, health professionals today continue to practice during times of war and political conflict. While some work on behalf on authoritarian dictatorial governments to inflict harm, many others work to protect human rights and to treat soldiers and civilians with dignity and respect, even in the most extreme conditions imaginable. These latter health professionals – whether they recognize it or not – have absorbed critical lessons from the Holocaust about the necessary roles of health professionals in wartime. 
The 2019 Holocaust Genocide and Contemporary Bioethics (HGCB) program will pay homage to the past while discussing important ethical considerations for health professionals and communities today. How did our core ethical principles of justice, autonomy, beneficence, and non-maleficence grow out of the legacy of health professional involvement in the Holocaust? What is the role of health professionals in human rights law and the international laws of war that arose following World War II? And how should our ethical principles apply today in situations of mass casualties, inadequate facilities, documented human rights violations and scarce supplies? The 2019 HGCB program will address head-on the many ethical challenges faced by health professionals working during times of war and political conflict, including the ethical challenges faced by health professionals and the larger society in meeting the medical needs of refugees, asylum seekers and other displaced persons. 

Featured Speakers:

Len Rubenstein, JD​, from Johns Hopkins University, is the former Executive Director and President of Physicians for Human Rights, an organization that carries out forensic documentation of war crimes and advocates for the protection of health workers in war zones. Professor Rubenstein has broad knowledge about the origins of human rights laws and the laws of war that arose out of the experiences in WWII.  ​
Zaher Sahloul, MD​, is the immediate past president of the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS),
a humanitarian and advocacy organization that provides medical relief to Syrians and Syrian refugees. Dr. Sahloul is the founder of the American Relief Coalition for Syria, a coalition of 14 US-based
humanitarian organizations working in Syria. He also is a critical care specialist at Christ Advocate Medical Center in Chicago, and a former medical school classmate of Bashar al-Assad.

Read an article about the program in CU Anschutz Today. 



This year's program is generously supported by the MB Glassman Foundation and JEWISHcolorado.

Thank you to our founding sponsor, the William S. Silvers, MD Endowment.

There are several ways to get involved in our 2019 programming:

  • Donate​ to the William S. Silvers, MD, Holocaust Genocide Contemporary Bioethics Program Fund
    to support current programming and ensure the future of this program.
  • Join our Planning Committee to help develop future events - contact Meleah Himber​ at (303) 724-8332 for more information.​
  • Become a Sponsor​​ for our 2019 Program.

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

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