| December 18,
Penn Graduate Student Receives Prestigious
Association for Politics and Life Sciences Award
Award-winning paper published in the American Journal
PA) -- Andrea D. Gurmankin, a graduate student
in the Masters of Bioethics (MBe) program and the doctoral
program in Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania
has been awarded the coveted Association for Politics
and Life Sciences Graduate Student Paper Award for the
year 2001. Titled Risk Information Provided to Prospective
Oocyte Donors, the paper investigated the quality of
risk information provided to prospective egg donors
via preliminary phone calls made by in-vitro fertilization
programs that advertise in college newspapers. The study
was recently published in the American Journal of Bioethics
(AJOB), published by Penn's Center for Bioethics and
Gurmankin's interest in in-vitro fertilization and informed
consent issues has been nurtured by her participation
in the bioethics program at the University of Pennsylvania
School of Medicine. This project -- born out of a class
requirement -- came about because she was troubled by
the combination of enormous monetary incentives offered
to prospective egg donors and the egg donation programs'
incentive to minimize risks in the interest of recruiting
much-needed donors. "This combination increases
the difficulty for egg donors to give fully voluntary,
informed consent, something to which these women are
entitled, " states Gurmankin. "This issue
is too important to be ignored."
"Andy's study is path-breaking research - controversial
because it involves deception, but important because
it is the first look at what really happens when vulnerable
women become part of the egg recruitment world."
states Glenn McGee, PhD, associate director of
education at the Center for Bioethics and editor-in-chief
The Association for Politics and the Life Sciences annually
awards a prize for the best paper written by a graduate
student on a topic related to public policy or politics
and one of the life sciences. The recipient gains a
cash prize of $500, recognition at the association's
annual meeting, and publication in Politics and Life
Sciences, the association's journal. Her involvement
in the doctoral program in psychology reflects Gurmankin's
belief that psychological research can provide enormous
insight into bioethical issues by helping the public
understand both how ethical dilemmas affect the parties
involved -- and how the proposed solutions to these
dilemmas may also have an affect.
Gurmankin's first exposure to the Center for Bioethics
was as a summer intern 1996, while attending Cornell
University. She received her bachelors degree in 1999
and is presently pursuing a Masters degree in Bioethics
and a doctorate in Psychology at Penn. She continues
to work at the Center as a research assistant.
Penn's Master's Program in Bioethics (MBe) -- one of
the first graduate programs of its kind in the world,
is offered by the School of Arts and Sciences in cooperation
with the Center of Bioethics in the School of Medicine.
Students take courses from a variety of areas, including
philosophy, sociology, history, public policy, and law.
In addition, each student completes either an internship
where he/she is exposed to bioethics in a clinical setting,
or in a research project working with Penn faculty.
The Association for Politics and the Life Sciences (APLS)
-- founded in 1980 -- is an international and interdisciplinary
association of scholars, scientists, and policymakers
concerned with issues that center around politics, public
policy and the life sciences.
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