About Face: The Ethical Implications of Face Transplantation

Press Contact: Nina Jacobson
Office: (212) 678-8950
Email: nijacobson@jtsa.edu

January 11, 2006, New York, NY

Just two days ago, CNN reported that the French woman who received the first-ever partial face transplant is regaining sensation. The operation, performed in late November, has sparked world-wide debate over the ethics of such 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 at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, January 30 at The Jewish Theological Seminary, 3080 Broadway (at 122nd Street) in New York City. The program is part of the "Grand Rounds" series sponsored by The Louis Finkelstein Institute for Religious and Social Studies of JTS.

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, JTS.

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, house staff in twelve residency programs, 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, 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 organ preservation 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, where he was ordained in May, 2003. Rabbi Sharzer is currently working on a book on ethical issues in plastic surgery from a Jewish perspective and an article on cosmetic surgery and halakhah (Jewish law).

Admission is free; photo ID is required. For more information and to RSVP, please call (212) 280-6093 or email. Editors/Reporters: To cover "About Face: The Ethical Implications of Face Transplantation" please contact Sherry Kirschenbaum in the Department of Communications at (212) 678-8953 or by email.

Since 1938, The Finkelstein Institute of JTS has maintained an innovative interfaith and inter-group relations program that advances dialogue among diverse communities about matters at the intersection of religion and public affairs. Founded in 1886 as a rabbinical school, The Jewish Theological Seminary today is the academic and spiritual center of Conservative Judaism worldwide, encompassing a world-class library and five schools. JTS trains tomorrow's religious, educational, academic and lay leaders for the Jewish community and beyond.

Visit the JTS website ast www.jtsa.edu.