March 22, 2010

AARP official to serve as Bioethicist-in-Residence

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Harry R. (Rick) Moody, director of academic affairs for AARP, will look at how bioethics issues are playing out in the debate over reforming the nation’s health care system later this month at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Moody will present the 2010 John & Marsha Ryan Bioethicist-in-Residence lecture at the Southern Illinois University School of Law Center for Health Law and Policy.

Moody will discuss “Bioethics Meets Politics: What Can We Learn from the Battle for Healthcare Reform,” at 5 p.m. March 31, in the courtroom at the Hiram H. Lesar Law Building.

In addition to presenting the lecture, Moody will meet with law students who have interest in legal issues for the elderly, and with students and faculty in the law school’s elderly clinic. He will meet with the combined ethics committees of Southern Illinois Healthcare -- Memorial Hospital of Carbondale, Herrin Hospital, and St. Joseph Memorial Hospital -- on April 1. Moody will then travel to Springfield, where he will meet with faculty and students at the SIU School of Medicine on April 2.

The lecture is free, and the public is welcome, but organizers recommend pre-registration. To register, e-mail the law school’s Center for Health Law and Policy at or call 618/453-8636.

Media Availability

Reporters, photographer and camera crews are welcome to cover the lecture. Moody will be available to speak with the media at 4:30 p.m., prior to the lecture. To make arrangements for interviews or for more information on the lecture, contact Alicia Ruiz, the law school’s director of communications and outreach, at 618/453-8700.

Moody will discuss how bioethics has played out in the nation’s health policy realm over the last 20 to 25 years. Moody graduated from Yale University and earned a doctorate in philosophy from Columbia University. He taught philosophy at Columbia, Hunter College, New York University, and the University of California at Santa Cruz, according to his biography

W. Eugene Basanta, health law center director and the Southern Illinois Healthcare Professor of Law, anticipates Moody’s discussion will focus on allocation and access to health care resources among the elderly, in addition to the “intergenerational issues in health care resources, and how that discussion has played out in the national health care reform debate, which is still going on as we speak.”

Moody’s lecture is of interest to the general community and those interested in health care reform and the debate surrounding it, Basanta said. He hopes people take a clearer vision and understanding of the impact of health reform proposals on access to care.

“I do think there has been in any political debate and discussion perhaps exaggerations and some level of misinformation,” Basanta said. “We need a clear and reasoned discussion of important issues and that hasn’t always been the case with health care reform.”

Moody’s background includes serving as national program director for the Robert Wood Johnston Foundation’s Faith in Action, and as executive director of the Brookdale Center at Hunter College. He was administrator of continuing education programs for the Citicorp Foundation, and co-director of the National Aging Policy Center of the National Council on Aging. The former board chairman of Elderhostel, Inc., Moody is a leader in older adult education. He is an adjunct associate of the Hastings Center.

This is the sixth bioethicist-in-residence lecture, and the fourth since John G. and Marsha C. Ryan endowed the visiting lecture series.

“It’s a very important part of our Center for Health Law and Policy and to our general health law program at the law school and the medical school,” Basanta said. “The interaction and cooperation between the law school and medical school is an important dimension to our program, and reflective of the cooperative and interdisciplinary approach we have.”

Founded in 2006, The John & Marsha Ryan Bioethicist in Residence supports an annual residence and lecture by a law or medicine ethics scholar for the SIU schools of law and medicine. The selected presenter visits classes at both schools and organizes interdisciplinary educational activities for students, residents and faculty. The presenter also interacts with students and offers a public lecture on their scholarship as it relates to law and medicine.

For more information on the lecture, contact Alicia Ruiz, the law school’s director of communications and outreach, at 618/453-8700.