Ethics 2011

IWSA’S XI All India Meeting of Women in Science with the theme “Science and Technology: Ethical Issues was held at IWSA’s head quarters at Sector 10A, Vashi, Navi Mumbai, from 28-30, Jan
2011.  The conference was inaugurated by Dr. R. K. Sinha, Director, BARC Mumbai. Dr. Mahtab Bamji, Hon. INSA Scientist, presided over the inaugural function. Prof. P. Balaram, Director, Indain Institute of Science delivered the key note address.

Dr. Uma Rao, President IWSA welcomed the guests and delegates and gave a brief summary of IWSA’s history and activities. Prof B.S. Mahajan, Convener of the conference talked about the importance of maintaining scientific credibility, by following the highest ethical standards at individual scientific levels and also at the level of institutions both in the public and private sector.

Dr. R. K. Sinha stressed that the ethical principles need to be imbibed from childhood and have to be reinforced by external factors in the growth process of an individual. Dr. Mahtab Bamji said that morality has to be distinguished from legality. She stressed upon the importance of animal trials in medical research and viewing ethical aspects in a balanced manner.

Dr. P. Balaram, in his talk about Ethics of Science versus Ethics in Science has stressed that Ethical practices as in lab-based experiments should not be judged solely on the basis of the narrow perspective of that time but in the backdrop of history. The inaugural session was capably conducted by Dr. Shubahda Nayak, and was concluded by Dr. Susan Eapen, co-convener, with a vote of thanks.

Session V was chaired by Smt. R. Rastogi, Ex BARC and Professor, Mumbai University. Dr. Chitra Natarajan, Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, talked on “Technology and Ethics: The complex Links”. Dr.Lalitha Dhareshwar, BARC presented her views on “Ethical issues on science and technology of lasers”. Shri H.K.Kaura, Ex.BARC; spoke on “Ethics of Computers and Information Technology.

Session VI was chaired by Dr.S.P.Kale, BARC. Dr.Sunita Mahajan (Ex BARC) and Ms.Alpa K. Reshamwala gave a talk on “Ethics of Privacy Preserving in Data Mining: A Survey”. Ms. Almitra Patel, Member, Supreme Court committee for solid waste management, gave a very impressive presentation
on “Ethics on Urban Solid Waste Management in India”.Ms.Grace Sirju-Charran from University of West
Indies, Trinidad and Tobago, talked on “Genomics and Neurobiology.

Session VII chaired by Dr.S.Mohan, BARC. Dr.S.V.Chawan, discussed about “Ethical Issues in Geography due to Advances Information Technology and Remote Sensing”.Dr.Rashmi Tyagi, shared her views about “Pros and Cons of Robotics”. Dr.Karuna RameshKumar, spoke on “The need to Balance in Technologies Reasonable Risk vs. Potential Benefits.Dr.Meera Venkatesh, BARC gave a very thought provoking talk on “Ethical Issues in Professional Career”.

Session VIII was an interactive session conducted by Dr. Shubha Tole, TIFR and chaired by Dr. T. Mukherjee on mentorship in ethics. This involved group discussion on conflict of interests in a laboratory such as authorship issues, work distribution and collaborations. This was followed by a session chaired by Dr. Jayashree Nadkarni, where three best essays were presented, by Dr. Dimple Dutta, Dr. Vinita Krishna and Dr. Asmita Karnalkar.

On day three , in her welcome speech ,Dr. Asha Damodaran, Chairperson for the first session emphasized that the purpose of choosing’ Ethics in Medical Science’ as the theme was to create awareness among general public and the medical community.Dr. Sunil Pandya, founder editor, Indian Journal of Medical Ethics and Neurosugeon at Jaslok Hospital,in plenary lecture observed that Ethics is defined as the philosophical study of nature and grounds of moral thought and action..The second session, compered by Dr. Anjali Kulkarni of BARC hospital was chaired by Dr. Mrudula Phadke, Ex Vice Chancellor MUHS Nashik. Dr. V. Muthuswamy, Retd.Deputy Director General, Indian council of Medical Research, New Delhi observed that ethics is a dynamic concept.

Dr.P.Vineetha, IGCAR, Kalpakkam, compared law and ethics Dr.P. Gandhi,Mumbai, said that doctors should follow Sathya Saibaba’s mantra ‘Help Ever, Hurt Never’ Dr. M. Phadke added to this ‘ hurt never physically, psychologically and economically’.

In the post lunch session chaired by Dr. Kalyani Sen, M.G.M.Hospital, Vashi, ethical issues related to organ transplantation ,informed consent, use of mobile phones by doctors were discussed. Dr.Meena Kumar,L.T.M. Hospital, Sion,. Among several issues, she discussed the Spanish model and limitations of adopting it Dr. Neeta Dhar Grover, B.V. Medical College, Sangli, discussed how human beings were used as guinea pigs for research and importance of ‘informed consent’ as underlined by Nuremberg Code. Dr. Chitra Pai, M.G.M. Hospital, Vashi, reported about the possibility of cell phones being used as carriers of pathogens.

The next session compeered by Dr. Anita Roy, IWSA,and chaired by Dr. Shobha Patkar, Ex. BARC Hospital, ‘Ethical issues regarding ART and Surrogacy’ were discussed by Dr. Sanjay Gupte, the President of Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists of India, Pune.                                      Dr.Malini Desai, SKMHMC, Goa, elaborated on various aspects of surrogacy and gave detailed information on various legal points.

Dr. Ravi Bapat, Director, M.G. M. hospital group, was the Chief Guest, in the last Valedictory session. He expressed his candid views on ethical clinical practices. Dr.  V.Sudha Rao, Vice President IWSA and chairperson, reviewed the overwhelming response IWSA received in its three day’s conference. Dr. B.S. Mahajan, Convener, gave concluding remarks & appealed to all the participants to give suggestions / resolutions by e mail.

Gayatri  Subramaniam  and  her  students,  Takshasheela  Dance  Academy,  Vashi  performed  a  very impressive Bharatnatyam Dance program based on some ethical issues of Ramayana on day two.

Dr. Srirupa Mukherjee, Ex-ICLES’ College, announced the prizes for Essay and poster competition. Dr. Devaki Ramanathan, Jt. Secretary, IWSA, proposed the vote of thanks.

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