posted April 8, 1999

Hope Hosts Woodrow Wilson Fellow

Medical ethicist Dr. Joseph Fins will make several presentations at Hope College during his April 12-16 visit to the college as a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow.

Fins' visit will include talks with several classes or campus organizations. The public is invited to four of the events, and admission is free.

Fins is an assistant professor of medicine in psychiatry at Cornell University Medical College. He writes and speaks on a wide range of medical ethics areas, including physician-assisted suicide, health care reform, end of life issues and genetic research.

On Monday, April 12, at 6:30 p.m., Fins will examine ways to look at the physician-assisted suicide debate from a theological, consequentialist or clinically pragmatic point of view. The presentation will be in the lounge of Cook Hall, 115 E. 10th St. (between College and Columbia avenues), during a meeting of the student organization RISE (Refuge in Spiritual Expression).

On Tuesday, April 13, at 2 p.m., he will talk about clinical cases regarding cognitive disorders (e.g. dementia, delirium) and end-of-life issues (e.g. grief, depression, family issues). The talk will be during a "Behavior Disorders" class meeting in room B50 of the Peale Science Center, located on College Avenue at 12th Street.

On Tuesday at 4 p.m., Fins will review the danger in generalizing from the Dutch experience to the United States concerning physician-assisted suicide. He will stress differences between the two cultures, as well as Oregon's experience with physician-assisted suicide. The presentation will be made during a "Beginning Dutch" class meeting in room 206 of Graves Hall, located on College Avenue at 11th Street (Graves Place).

One Wednesday, April 14, at 5 p.m. he will address a meeting of Pi Sigma Alpha, the college's honor society in political science, on the topic, "Financing the President's Patient Bill of Rights and Medical Trust for Managed Care."

His visit will close on Friday, April 16, at noon, with a lecture geared toward the college's science majors. The talk will be delivered in room B50 of the Peale Science Center, located on College Avenue at 12th Street.

In addition to being an assistant professor of medicine in psychiatry, Fins is an assistant professor of medicine at Cornell University Medical College. His appointments also include serving as director of medical ethics at New York Hospital and physician-ethicist-in-residence with HealthCare Chaplaincy.

He is a Soros Faculty Scholar with the Project on Death in America; a member of the Quality Care at the End of Life Commission of the Office of the Attorney General of the State of New York; and an honorary member of the Advisory Board, Institute for the Study of Humanities and Bioethics "Eugenio Maria de Hostos," Faculty of Medical Sciences of the University of Puerto Rico. In 1998, he received the "Health Advocacy Award" from the New York Chapter of the Society of Patient Representatives.

Fins is editor (bioethics) and a member of the editorial board of "Cancer Investigation"; editor (ethics rounds) with the "Journal of Pain and Symptom Management"; and a reviewer with "The Hastings Center Report," the "Journal of The American Geriatrics Society" and "The Lancet." He is also on the Honorary Editorial Committee of "Perspectivas Bioeticas en las Americas."

He holds his bachelor's degree from Wesleyan University and his medical degree from Cornell University Medical College.

The Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellows program brings leaders in their fields to the campuses of small liberal arts colleges for a week of classes, informal discussions with students and faculty, and career counseling.

The program is intended to represent multi-culturalism in its best sense, bringing together people from diverse backgrounds and with differing points of view in an atmosphere in which they can learn about each other.

Visiting Fellows, who include cabinet-level officers, corporate executives, newspaper editors and other professionals, are recruited for their ability to listen as well as to articulate ideas. They are matched with liberal arts colleges chosen for their commitment to the goals of the program. Together, they attempt to equip students for the social, political and economic environment they will be entering.

Fellows are scheduled for formal presentations in classrooms, panels and public platforms, and informal encounters at meals and in student centers, clubs, dormitories, career counseling and individual sessions. The week-long visit allows Fellows to explicate their ideas fully, and provides the opportunity for students and faculty to gain a better understanding of the world outside the campus.

The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation has developed and conducted programs in higher education since 1945. Nearly 200 colleges have participated in the Visiting Fellows program since 1973.