AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Journal of Ethics Header

AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Virtual Mentor. December 2011, Volume 13, Number 12: 922-924.


  • Print
  • |
  • View PDF

About the Contributors

Theme issue: The Power of Diagnosis

Theme Issue Editor

Shara Yurkiewicz is a second-year student at Harvard Medical School in Boston. She graduated cum laude from Yale University with an intensive BS in biology. Shara has conducted ethics research on personalized medicine at the Hastings Center and on palliative care at Harvard. Her other academic interests include medical education and medical journalism, and she has written for a variety of publications, including the Los Angeles Times and Discover. Shara’s blog can be found at


George L. Blackburn, MD, PhD, holds the S. Daniel Abraham Chair in Nutrition Medicine and is an associate professor of nutrition and associate director of nutrition in the Division of Nutrition at Harvard Medical School in Boston. He is also chief of the Nutrition/Metabolism Laboratory and director of the Center for the Study of Nutrition Medicine (CSNM) at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. He graduated from the University of Kansas Medical School and earned his PhD in nutritional biochemistry from MIT. Dr. Blackburn has studied bionutrition, surgical metabolism and critical care medicine, best practice standards for weight loss surgery, and the neurobiology of food selection and dietary impulse control.

Valarie Blake, JD, MA, is a senior research associate for the American Medical Association Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs in Chicago. Ms. Blake completed the Cleveland Fellowship in Advanced Bioethics, received her law degree with a certificate in health law and concentrations in bioethics and global health from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and obtained a master’s degree in bioethics from Case Western Reserve University. Her research focuses on ethical and legal issues in assisted reproductive technology and reproductive tissue transplants, as well as regulatory issues in research ethics.

Barry DeCoster, PhD, is a visiting instructor of history, philosophy, and sociology of science at Lyman Briggs College of Michigan State University in East Lansing. His research in philosophy focuses on problems in health care ethics and the philosophies of science and medicine. He is working on a project analyzing what count as “good” medical explanations of disease, including looking into the complications surrounding medically unexplained disorders (e.g., fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome).

Mary Lynn Dell, MD, DMin, is an associate professor of psychiatry, pediatrics, and bioethics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and the director of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Consultation Liaison Service at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Dell’s clinical and academic interests are the psychiatric care of medically ill children, adolescents, and their families; bioethics; and religion and spirituality in medicine and psychiatry.

Cynthia Geppert, MD, MA, PhD, MPH, is chief of consultation psychiatry and ethics at the New Mexico Veteran’s Affairs Health Care System and associate professor of psychiatry and director of ethics education at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Dr. Geppert’s interests include ethics consultation, medical and ethics education, and the clinical and ethical issues involved in the practice of psychosomatic medicine, addiction and pain medicine, and hospice and palliative medicine.

Matthew E. Growdon is a second-year medical student at Harvard Medical School in Boston. Prior to medical school, he was a research coordinator for projects on Alzheimer disease and frontotemporal dementia at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center in San Francisco. His interests include behavioral neurology and the history of medicine. He received a BA in history and literature from Harvard University in 2007.

Elizabeth A. Kitsis, MD, MBE, is director of bioethics education at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York, and a practicing rheumatologist. She was previously vice president of a global pharmaceutical company.

Emily A. Kuhl, PhD, is a science writer for the American Psychiatric Association’s Division of Research and the American Psychiatric Institute for Research and Education in Arlington, Virginia.

David J. Kupfer, MD, is chair of the DSM-5 Task Force. He is also a professor of psychiatry and a professor of neuroscience and clinical and translational science at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pennsylvania.

Matt Lamkin, JD, MA, is an attorney and a fellow at Stanford University’s Center for Law and the Biosciences in Stanford, California. His research examines how our shifting health care terrain can subtly modify traditional conceptions of individual autonomy, including preconceived understandings of privacy, voluntary consent, and the rights to bodily integrity and self-determination.

Darrel A. Regier, MD, MPH, is vice chair of the DSM-5 Task Force. He is also director of the American Psychiatric Association’s Division of Research and the American Psychiatric Institute for Research and Education in Arlington, Virginia.

James E. Sabin, MD, is a clinical professor in the Departments of Population Medicine and Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School in Cambridge, Massachusetts and the director of the ethics program at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, a not-for-profit health plan. His research interests include the ethics of health care resource allocation. Dr. Sabin blogs at

David E. Smith, MD, is the founder of the Haight Ashbury Free Medical Clinic and a pioneering advocate of the disease model of addiction. He is a past president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine and the California Society of Addiction Medicine.