University News

Genes and Justice Topic of September 26 Woods Lecture at WIU

September 9, 2002

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MACOMB, IL -- Mary Mahowald, professor emerita and adviser for governmental and private programs, will present “Genes and Justice: The Unequal Impact of Gender, Class, and Ability Differences” at the Thursday, Sept. 26 Mary Olive Woods Lecture at Western Illinois University.

The 16th annual Woods Lecture, sponsored by the WIU department of philosophy and religious studies and open free to the public, will begin at 7:30 p.m. In the Union Sandburg Theatre.

Mahowald also will lead a discussion session, which is open to all interested, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 27 in Stipes Hall 501.

Mahowald is professor emerita in the college, the department of obstetrics and gynecology, the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics and the Committee on Genetics at the University of Chicago. She taught philosophy at Villanova and Indiana University for 12 years. before moving to a medical school/hospital setting in 1982. Since then, she has published more than 100 articles in health care and philosophy journals. She has served as president of the Indiana Philosophical Association, and co-president of the North American Council of Learned Societies and the Rockefeller Foundation.

“Dr. Mahowald's current work builds upon an extensive research record in biomedical ethics. She extends feminist inquiry in medical ethics beyond traditional reproductive issues to questioning whether genetic technologies are gender neutral,” stated Susan Martinelli-Fernandez, WIU philosophy and religious studies associate professor.

“Her research is indispensable to individuals who are concerned with justice, fairness, and gender equality as well as the impact of 'new genetics' on all individuals," Martinelli-Fernandez added.

Mahowald has also served on review panels for the U.S. Office of Technology Assessment and the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program, and as a consultant or reviewer for various journals and governmental or private programs.

Mahowald’s recent books include “Women and Children in Health Care: An Unequal Majority” (Oxford, 1996); “Disability, Difference, Discrimination: Perspectives on Justice in Bioethics and Public Policy” (Rowman and Littlefield, 1998), co-authored with Anita Silvers and David Wasserman; the third edition of “Philosophy of Woman: Classical to Current Concepts” (Hackett, 1994); “Genes, Women, Equality” (Oxford, 2000); and “Genetics in the Clinic: Clinical, Ethical, and Social Implications for Primary Care” (Mosby, 2001), co-edited with Victor McKusick, Angela Scheuerle, and Timothy Aspinwall.

This lecture is made possible through the 1987 trust fund of Mary Olive Woods administered through the WIU Foundation. The Woods fund provides up to eight student scholarships each year in addition to the annual lecture presentation.

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