Bioethics Grand Rounds—About Face: The Ethical Implications of Face Transplantation

January 30, 2006 at 6:30 p.m.
The Jewish Theological Seminary

This program is part of the occasional Grand Rounds series sponsored by the Louis Finkelstein Institute for Religious and Social Studies. Admission is free; photo ID is required. For more information and to RSVP, please call (212) 280-6093.

Just weeks ago, history was made with the first successful face transplant, sparking worldwide debate over the ethics of this ground-breaking surgery.

The conversation will continue in "About Face: The Ethical Implications of Face Transplantation," a panel discussion featuring leading experts on bioethics and transplant surgery.

Panelists will include Dr. Rosamond Rhodes, professor of Medical Education and director of Bioethics Education at Mount Sinai School of Medicine; Dr. Joseph McCarthy, director of the Center for Craniofacial Reconstructive Surgery at New York University; Dr. David Serur, medical director of the Kidney/Pancreas Transplant Program at the Rogosin Institute; and Rabbi Leonard A. Sharzer, MD, fellow of the Louis Finkelstein Institute.

Dr. Rhodes received a doctorate in philosophy from the Graduate School of the City University of New York, where she specialized in ethics and political philosophy. At Mount Sinai, she supervises the medical-ethics curriculum for students in the medical school, for house staff in twelve residency programs, for graduate post-doctoral fellows, and for the students in the genetics-counseling program. Dr. Rhodes is also professor of philosophy at CUNY's Graduate Center. Beyond the teaching setting, Dr. Rhodes serves as editor of the American Philosophical Association Newsletter on Philosophy and Medicine and on the Editorial Boards of the international journals Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics, and Bioethics/Developing World Bioethics. Her writing has focused on the history of moral and political philosophy and on its applications to bioethics.

Director of the Institute of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery and the Division of Plastic Surgery at NYU Medical Center, and the Lawrence D. Bell Professor of Plastic Surgery at NYU School of Medicine, Dr. McCarthy has devoted his surgical career to facial plastic surgery, including all aspects of cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. He and his colleagues have authored more than 180 scientific papers and 90 chapters. He has pioneered many new plastic-surgery techniques for which he has received innumerable honors and named lectureships. He is listed in Best Doctors of America, Best Doctors in New York Magazine, and Who's Who in America. He also organized and directs the Variety Center for Craniofacial Rehabilitation at the NYU Medical Center, one of the world centers for the treatment of patients with all aspects of facial deformities.

In addition to his work at the Rogosin Institute, an independent not-for-profit institution for health care and medical research, Dr. Serur is an assistant attending physician and surgeon at New York–Presbyterian Hospital and an associate professor of medicine and surgery at Weill University Medical College of Cornell University. He received his medical degree from the State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, and was a nephrology fellow at the New York Hospital–Cornell Medical Center and a research fellow at the National Kidney Foundation.

A plastic surgeon, Rabbi Sharzer received an MS in surgery for work in the preservation of organs for transplantation and completed a Fulbright Scholarship in Melbourne, Australia, where he conducted clinical and laboratory research in microsurgery. A faculty member of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine for more than twenty years, he participated in and led medical missions to Africa and China to operate on children with cleft lips and palates, as well as other deformities. Long interested in bioethical issues, he retired from medical practice in 1999 to enter The Rabbinical School of The Jewish Theological Seminary, where he was ordained in May, 2003. Rabbi Sharzer is currently working on a book about ethical issues in plastic surgery from a Jewish perspective, as well as an article on cosmetic surgery and halakhah (Jewish law).