Thursday, November 13, 2014

An open letter supporting experiments on providing benefits to kidney donors

An open letter to President Obama and Congress calls for pilot studies on the effects of providing benefits to kidney donors.

An Open Letter to President Barack Obama, Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Attorney General Eric Holder and Leaders of Congress

Here are the conclusions, and the list of initiating signers

We applaud the President’s declaration that 2014 is a “year of action” when he will use executive powers and the regulatory process to ensure the health and well-being of Americans and end unnecessary health expenditures. As part of this process, we call on the President to take executive action on organ transplantation and initiate pilot studies on benefits to donors.
We call on HHS to develop the necessary regulatory process for conducting such studies and to implement them.
We call on the Attorney General to smooth the way for such pilot programs by recognizing that they are consistent with the intent of the National Organ Transplant Act.
Finally, we call on Congress to pass legislation that allocates the necessary funding for these programs and clears the way for their implementation.
Kidney disease has for too long been neglected by all branches of government. It is time to act.
Initiating signers*:

Nir Eyal, Associate Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Harvard University
Julio Frenk, Dean, Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard University
Michele B. Goodwin, Chancellor’s Chair in Law, University of California-Irvine Law School
Lori Gruen, Professor of Philosophy, Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and Environmental Studies at Wesleyan University
The Very Reverend Gary R. Hall, Dean, Washington Cathedral
Douglas W. Hanto, Professor of Surgery and Associate Director Vanderbilt Transplant Center, Vanderbuilt University, Tennessee
Frances Kissling, President, The Center for Health, Ethics and Social Policy
Ruth Macklin, Professor of Bioethics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Steven Pinker, Johnstone Family Professor, Department of Psychology, Harvard University
Lloyd E. Ratner, Professor of Surgery, Columbia University
Harold T. Shapiro, President Emeritus, Princeton University
Peter Singer, Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics, Princeton University
Andrew W. Torrance, Professor of Law, University of Kansas and Visiting Scholar MIT Sloan School of Management
Robert D. Truog, Director, Center for Bioethics, Harvard University, Harvard Medical School
Robert M. Veatch, Professor of Medical Ethics at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Georgetown University

Together with the long list of other signers, the letter has a lot of support from a diverse group of people, including many transplant professionals who I know and respect. It's a sign that the discussion is changing.

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