Managing Excellence: Nancy Adair Birk of The Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine

There are many centers doing ethics work and contributing to the growing global "ethics economy." As far as we know, however, there is only one center which combines study of bioethical issues with the social sciences in medicine. Notably, it is in Michigan--at the University of Michigan Medical School--and known as CBSSM, a felicitous acronym for The Center for Bioethics and the Social Sciences in Medicine.  

As manager of this unique and vital endeavor, Nancy Adair Birk offers an unique and vital perspective on the ethical roles she serves as well as her views on the Center's research, clinical, education, and public outreach responsibilities. In our conversation about her own work, we discover several critical career junctures that determined her long-standing commitments to social justice and to encouraging cultures of excellence and transparency in the places where she works. 

In our discussion of her work as manager of CBSSM, we learn about the researchers, their interests and their work, which is at once advancing the fields of bioethics, behavioral health and medical decision-making, and disseminating findings valuable to the public.

Nancy also talks about CBSSM's rich public offerings--from annual events, such as the Bishop Lecture on Bioethics, honoring local physicians Ronald and Nancy Bishop, and the May research colloquium--to bi-monthly seminars on timely bioethics topics and an ongoing invitation to the public to take part in a discussion-provoking decision of the month survey.

Bioethical decisions and decision-making in general are complex and difficult. In comparison, the decision to promote the public events and to learn about the work of manager Nancy Adair Birk and her colleagues at The Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine is simple and easy.