Boog Internship Fund Monthly Summary

This summer, I am researching bioethics and networking with healthcare professionals, philosophers, and bioethicists at Johns Hopkins University through the Genomics and Society Mentorship Program! I am one of five students selected for this program and am very excited to be researching at the Berman Institute of Bioethics.

I arrived on May 29th and began working on May 31st. In the last two weeks, I’ve learned so much and networked with some very established individuals. I’ve narrowed down my research project; I am researching human brain organoids and at what point do they have an altered moral status, as well as how do we effectively communicate this with the general public? As a trainee, I am being exposed to so many different aspects of the bioethics field, such as academia, research, and the clinical setting. I’ve been introduced to my mentor, a neuroscientist, and taken foundational courses at Johns Hopkins in bioethics before proceeding further in my research. Through the courses, we’ve talked to bioethicists who are also PAs, surgeons, doctors, philosophers, and geneticists.

My biggest takeaway so far is the  knowledge I gained on bioethics in medicine and technology through the courses I took. I’ve learned that bioethicists comes from many different backgrounds, meaning the career I aspire to be successful in can be achieved in various ways. Additionally, I learned about research ethics and the proper way to engage in research. My background is in philosophy and academics, but this internship allows me to learn about the different ways to be successful in the field of bioethics and how to approach unethical situations in healthcare to ensure the patient is being advocated for.

I plan on applying the things I’ve learned in the last two weeks to apply to a fellowship at the National Institute of Health. The NIH has a fellowship in bioethics, which allows fellows to engage in research and train to perform clinical ethics consultations. They are even assigned a pager to fellows and help them network with healthcare professionals at the top hospitals in the country. The networking I’ve done so far, as well as this more non-academic background in bioethics, will help me be a more qualified applicant for such an interdisciplinary field. This is one of the only fellowships to engage in bioethics in a clinical setting and not just in academia. In the next few weeks, I will be attending professional development seminars in order to learn about opportunities in bioethics. I will learn how to ask for informational interviews, pursue bioethics beyond research, and learn the future about bioethics as a career. 

By Briana Lopez-Patino
Briana Lopez-Patino