Stanford Center for
Biomedical Ethics

PGES General Information

 The Stanford Program in Genomics, Ethics, and Society (PGES) addresses a broad range of social, ethical, legal, and political implications of advances in human genetics from multiple perspectives, creating at Stanford an internationally renowned center for scholarship on genomics, ethics, and society. Housed within the Stanford University Center for Biomedical Ethics, PGES was launched in 1995 with a three-year unrestricted gift from SmithKline Beecham Corporation. Other sources of operational funding include the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center for Molecular and Genetic Medicine, and the Walter and Elise Haas Fund.

Primary Goals at Start Up

Major Activities

Multi-Disciplinary Working Groups (1995-1998)

Each year, for three years, a Working Group with approximately 35 - 40 members was assembled, representing the fields of medicine, economics, sociology, anthropology, biochemistry, law, education, journalism, health policy, genetics, biology, psychology, psychiatry and biomedical ethics. Members included faculty and health professionals from Stanford and other institutions, undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate students, activists and laypersons from the surrounding community, and representatives from the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. Through a series of educational presentations and round table debate over a period of months, three white papers were developed. These reports contain comprehensive recommendations -- some expressed as general principles, some which could be implemented by health care providers or organizations at the level of policy, and others which address needed legislative change. The white papers were presented at a major conferences, and subsequently disseminated in a number of forms to a national and international audience.

White Paper Topics

Fellowship Program

To promote local and global understanding of key issues in molecular genetics, PGES provides Visiting Fellows, drawn from experts in a variety of disciplines, the opportunity to interact with Stanford faculty, students and staff who share similar or complementary expertise and interests. Visiting Fellows either have their own financial support or apply from a variety of governmental or foundation sources to support their fellowships, with the mentorship or collaboration of Stanford PGES faculty and research staff.

Education and Outreach

A primary contribution of PGES is the formation of a "community of interest" devoted to issues of major social concern. Through a range of educational activities, PGES helps raise public and professional awareness of ethical, legal, and social implications of genetic technology.

PGES Executive Committee

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