Authors Forum to Address “Have Doctors Lost Their Authority in American Culture?”

Press Contact: Nina Jacobson
Office: (212) 678-8950

February 25, 2009, New York, NY

"Have Doctors Lost Their Authority in American Culture?" will be the focus of a discussion at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 12, at The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), 3080 Broadway (at 122nd Street), New York City.

The featured speaker will be Jonathan Imber, author of Trusting Doctors: The Decline of Moral Authority in American Medicine and professor of Ethics and Sociology at Wellesley College. Dr. Nancy Berlinger, deputy director and research scholar at the Hastings Center for Bioethics, will respond. The Hastings Center is an independent, nonpartisan, and nonprofit bioethics research institute that addresses fundamental ethical issues in the areas of health, medicine, and the environment.

For the past one hundred years, the American medical profession insisted that doctors be rigorously trained in medical science and dedicated to professional ethics. In Trusting Doctors, Imber attributes the development of patients' faith in doctors to the inspiration and influence of Protestant and Catholic clergymen during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He explains that as the influence of clergymen waned, and as reliance on medical technology increased, patients' trust in doctors steadily declined. The author argues that with rapid medical advances, a profit-driven industry, and anxious patients, the future for a renewed trust in doctors will be confronted by even greater challenges.

The program concludes the 2009 Authors Forum: The Ethics of Health Care, Biotechnology, and the Practice of Medicine, sponsored by the Louis Finkelstein Institute for Religious and Social Studies of JTS. Since 1938, The Finkelstein Institute has maintained an innovative interfaith and intergroup relations program that advances dialogue among diverse communities about matters of public significance.

Admission is free; reservations are required. For further information or to RVSP, please call (212) 280-6093 or email Attendees are requested to have photo IDs available and arrive at least fifteen minutes prior to the program to allow sufficient time for registration.