March 12th at 5 pm Seminar with Professor Christoph Rehmann Sutter “Intergenerational relationships: The missing link in the ethics of inheritable genetic modification in humans”

We are delighted to announce a seminar with Professor Christoph Rehmann-Sutter, Professor of Theory and Ethics in the Biosciences, University of Luebeck, President of the European Society for Philosophy of Medicine and Healthcare, and visiting Professor in the Department of Global Health & Social Medicine.

When: Tuesday March 12th 17:00-18:30

Where: Bush House North East Wing, room 6.05


In its 2018 report, the Nuffield Council on Bioethics suggests that heritable genome editing could be ethically acceptable in some circumstances to influence the characteristics of future generations. I will discuss this position in the light of the recent revelations about He Jianqui’s illegal experiments with genetically modified babies in Shenzhen/China. In this talk I will critically examine their underlying concept of transgenerationalism and their notions of the germline. My idea is the following: in order to clarify, what kinds of responsibilities or obligations are linking succeeding generations, a phenomenological account on the germline as embo

Prof Christoph Rehmann-Sutter

died intergenerational relationship is necessary. This understanding adds complexity to our thinking about the obligations to future children who would result from treatment by genome editing. As part of their good life, which includes a retrospective view on their previous generations, they also have an interest not to have been treated with genome editing.

All are welcome to attend!

How to find the classroom:



Welcome to Dr Liz Dzeng from UCSF Visiting Fellow at GHSM

Welcome to Dr Liz (Elizabeth) Dzeng, University of California San Francisco, who is joining the department as a visiting fellow for one year.

portrait LizElizabeth Dzeng, MD, PhD, MPH, is an Assistant Professor at UCSF in the Division of Palliative Medicine and Social and Behavioural Sciences, Sociology program. She also directs the ethics curriculum for UCSF medical students. Liz completed her PhD in Medical Sociology at the University of Cambridge at King’s College as a Gates Cambridge Scholar and was a General Internal Medicine Post-Doctoral Clinical Research Fellow and Palliative Care Research Fellow at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. She wrote her dissertation on the influence of institutional cultures and policies on physicians’ ethical beliefs and how that impacts communication practices in end of life decision-making conversations. Her current research is focused on understanding the systemic factors that contribute to burdensome care at the end of life in older adults with advanced dementia in the United States, United Kingdom, and France. She also has research interests in physician moral distress and ethical challenges at end of life. She has also been involved in the statewide and UCSF response to the legalization of physician aid in dying in California (End of Life Option Act).

You can read more about her research here:

Liz  will be based in Room 3.21, Bush House NE Wing.

8 Core Skills for Public & Global Health Careers

A panel of inspiring public and global health professionals joined us on campus in February for Discover Careers in Public and Global Health. Their experience spans consultancy, global NGOs and smaller charities, research and academia. They all gave a clear message that careers in Public and Global Health are not linear. So let go of any expectations you may have of a ‘career ladder’ that you step on and move up. Instead, recognise that you will navigate a career which will have less obvious steps. As a result of this, one of the questions from students present was ‘what are the core skills needed for a career in public and global health?’. Here’s what they said :

  1. Get used to dealing with politics
  2. Communicate well (in person, writing and via social media)
  3. Structure your thinking and stay true to what the data tells you (e.g. in the face of pressure from clients or funders)
  4. Don’t underestimate the public’s intelligence
  5. Do your homework; know about your area in depth and understand who/what has influence
  6. Pay attention to the detail
  7. Make sense of complex issues
  8. Be resourceful; don’t expect everything to be well-funded and well-resourced for you

Useful tip from the panel: Identify your skills gaps and use volunteering as a way to fill those gaps and get the experience you need to move on to your next role.

See the profiles of the panel here.

Findings for left behind children

Around one in seven people are migrants – the majority of which are labour migrants from low- and middle-income countries. Migrants are often separated from their families for long periods of time. In a recent systematic review published in the Lancet, our team of international researchers investigated the effects of parental migration on children
left-behind and adolescents living in low- and middle-income countries.  

We searched the literature for studies looking at the effects of parental migration on nutrition, mental health, unintentional injuries, infectious disease, substance use, unprotected sex, early pregnancy and physical abuse amongst children and adolescents aged 0-19 years, living in low- and middle-income countries. We found 111 relevant studies, including 264, 967 children and adolescents.

Left behind children

91 of these studies were made in China and focused on effects of labour migration within China. Compared to children of non-migrants, left-behind children:

  • had worse mental health, with an increased risk of depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, conduct disorder and substance use.
  • were more likely to be acutely and chronically malnourished compared to children of non-migrant parents.

We didn’t find any differences between left-behind children and children of non-migrants for unintentional injury, abuse, or diarrhoea. No studies looked at other infectious diseases, self-harm, unprotected sex, or early pregnancy.

Though the quality of studies varied, and most were from China, we concluded that left-behind children and adolescents had worse health compared to their peers, especially in terms of mental health and nutrition. We didn’t find any benefits of parental migration for their health, despite the potential economic advantages of having parents working abroad. Our study highlights a gap in global health policy and practice to improve the health of this group of young people.

The Reality Behind Cancer in India: “Twenty-four Stills” photography exhibition at Bush House until February 18th

twenty-four-stills-photography-exhibitionIndia is reported to have over one million new cancer patients each year. On-going research seeks to improve cancer care for patients.

Cancer does not discriminate. India is reported to have over one million new cancer patients each year. This number is expected to almost double by 2035, with cancer set to become one of the country’s biggest public health challenges.

The chronic nature of the disease, the severe side effects of the drugs, the long waiting times in hospitals and the expensive costs of therapies make cancer a difficult challenge for all those affected by it.

In 2012, India’s flagship cancer hospital, Tata Memorial in Mumbai responded to the rapidly growing number of patients and launched a network of cancer centres. The National Cancer Grid of India was established to decentralise, standardise and digitalise oncology, and to develop new forms of treatment relevant for low- and middle-income countries.

Dr Carlo Caduff from the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, King’s College London has recently received a Wellcome Trust Investigator Award to continue his research in India, which seeks to work in conjunction with local oncologists to improve cancer care for patients.

“I will be leading a team of researchers to analyse the emergence of the grid as a powerful new actor that seeks to redraw the map of cancer care,” said Dr Caduff.

“We’ll use social science research methods to show how a new agenda for global oncology is taking shape today in India.”

Previously, Dr Caduff researched the history of cancer in order to address the challenges of the non-communicable disease in the Global South. His work, also funded by the Wellcome Trust, examined the accessibility and affordability of oncology care in public cancer centres, particularly in India.

By chance, he came upon a local India street photographer, Soumyendra Saha and introduced him to a cancer centre in Kolkata. The result was 80 black and white photographs, capturing the life of the wards – from the pain to the mundane.

Despite their struggle to survive, the people in the photographs are shown to be waiting, thinking, reading and watching – showing the everydayness behind the deadly disease.

“Cancer often comes with voyeuristic images of shock and horror. In this project, we wanted to show another image. If there’s an intensity in the pictures, it comes from the people and their faces; from the ways in which they face the disease,” said Dr Caduff.

24 stills from the collection are currently being exhibited at The Exchange, King’s College London.

“The photographs invite you to inhabit the reality of the people in the cancer centre,” said Professor Bronwyn Parry, Head of the School of Global Affairs, King’s College London, who opened the exhibition last week.

“It provides you with an opportunity to connect, viscerally, with their and your feelings about their experience of health and disease, and to reflect on how that is shaped by social and economic circumstance – in often profound ways.”

Twenty-Four Stills photography exhibition, The Exchange, Bush House North East Wing | until 18 February

BIOS Lecture – Racial Futurity: IVF Technologies and the Question of Life’s Continuation

BIOS Lecture
Racial Futurity: IVF Technologies and the Question of Life’s Continuation
Nadine Ehlers Thursday, 21 March 2019, 4.30 – 6.30 pm
King’s College London, Virginia Woolfe Building, Room 3.01
22 Kingsway, London WC2B 6LE

The Department of Global Health and Social Medicine and the Biotechnology and Society Research Group (BioS, King’s College London) kindly invite you to this afternoon lecture on Racial Futurity: IVF Technologies and the Question of Life’s Continuation by Nadine Ehlers.

This lecture considers how IVF donor insemination technologies can open the possibilities for the denial of black life. It asks: how might the birth of black child to a white mother—by way of donor insemination—be conceived as a “wrongful birth,” as it was in the 2014 Illinois Northern District Court case of Cramblett v. Midwest Sperm Bank? How is it that someone’s race—in this case the blackness of a newborn—can be viewed and used as a measure of injury (against a white parent) for which compensation or legal reparation was demanded? And, lastly, what does this case reflect about the perceived value—or lack thereof—of black life in America and the possibilities of and for racial futurity, understood as the guarantee of life’s continuation? Cramblett squarely placed the question of the valuation of black life before the law, which was used here to adjudicate the personal rights of the mother against her child. In this assessment of biolegality, fundamental questions of the intersections of law, biology, and society are brought into stark relief, highlighting the challenges presented through bioscientific-technological interventions into ‘life itself.’

NADINE EHLERS is based in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Sydney. She is the author of Racial Imperatives: Discipline, Performativity, and Struggles against Subjection (Indiana University Press, 2012), co-editor (with Leslie Hinkson) of Subprime Health: Debt and Race in U.S. Medicine (University of Minnesota Press, 2017), and co-author (with Shiloh Krupar) of the forthcoming Deadly Biocultures: The Ethics of Life-making (University of Minnesota Press, 2019).

Book Launch – Molecular Feminisms: Biology, Becomings, and Life in the Lab

Book Launch Event
Molecular Feminisms: Biology, Becomings, and Life in the Lab
Deboleena Roy
Tuesday 26th March, 4:30pm
River Room, King’s College London
King’s Building 2nd Floor, Strand, London WC2R 2LS

molfemThe Department of Global Health and Social Medicine and the Biotechnology and Society Research Group (BioS, King’s College London) kindly invite you to the London book launch of “Molecular Feminisms: Biology, Becomings and Life in the Lab” by Professor Deboleena Roy. The book will be introduced by Professor Anne Pollock (KCL), followed by invited responses by Professor Charis Thompson (LSE), Associate Professor Jennifer Hamilton (Hampshire College), Professor Joyce Harper (UCL), Associate Professor Sonja Van Wichelen (University of Sydney) and by the author. The audience will be encouraged to join in the discussion, and to continue the conversation over drinks and nibbles.

“Should feminists clone?” “What do neurons think about?” “How can we learn from bacterial writing?” These and other provocative questions have long preoccupied neuroscientist, molecular biologist, and intrepid feminist theorist Deboleena Roy, who takes seriously the capabilities of lab “objects”-bacteria and other human, nonhuman, organic, and inorganic actants-in order to understand processes of becoming. In Molecular Feminisms, Roy investigates science as feminism at the lab bench, engaging in an interdisciplinary conversation between molecular biology, Deleuzian philosophies, posthumanism, and postcolonial and decolonial studies. She brings insights from feminist theory together with lessons learned from bacteria, subcloning, and synthetic biology, arguing that renewed interest in matter and materiality must be accompanied by a feminist rethinking of scientific research methods and techniques.

DEBOLEENA ROY is associate professor and chair of the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and holds a joint appointment in the Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology Program at Emory University.

Aanisah Khanzada on landing her dream role at Cancer Research UK

graduationI currently work with Cancer Research UK as an International Tobacco Control Intern. Working for CRUK has always been a dream of mine. I had previously applied for a policy internship with CRUK during my third year of university and I was surprised to have even made it through to the interview stage. Unfortunately, I was rejected and felt extremely demotivated and upset that I didn’t prepare well enough.

Fast forward to October 2018, I’d seen that the CRUK internships were open again, so I thought to reapply, even though a small voice in my head was telling me I would never make it to the interview stage if I was unsuccessful the first-time round. I was wrong. I had been invited to the interview a second time round. However, on the same day as my CRUK interview, I had two other interviews. I was overwhelmed by this because I’d never had three interviews in one day.

A week later I received an email from CRUK offering me the internship role and I could not believe it. I was extremely ecstatic that I had been successful. My role includes contributing to supporting the delivery of the Cancer Prevention Department’s International Tobacco Control Programme, that supports evidence-based tobacco control policy development in Low and Middle-Income Countries. This stream of work links in with all the knowledge I have obtained from my degree in Global Health and Social Medicine, which I am very grateful for. Additionally, I will be supporting a three-day workshop that will be held in March 2019 for tobacco control researchers from around the world.

All in all, after graduating in the summer of 2018 it has definitely taught me to stay positive and never give up, even after rejection!

Call for Papers – 2019 Institute of Medical Ethics Conference, 24th-26th June 2019 Cardiff Met

Call for Papers – 2019 IME Conference

Concept, Classroom and Clinic

24th – 26th June 2019

Cardiff Metropolitan University, Llandaff Campus, Western Avenue, Cardiff, CF2 2YB

Landaff Campus, Cardiff Metropolitan University

The Institute of Medical Ethics invites abstracts for its forthcoming conference in Cardiff, 24th – 26th June 2019. The conference is designed to give opportunities for researchers, educators, clinicians, and students involved in medical ethics, medical law and medical humanities to present their academic work.

The conference organisers welcome submissions from a range of disciplines relevant to medical ethics, including bioethics, medicine, healthcare, philosophy, social sciences, law, public policy and the medical humanities. In addition to submissions from established academics, early career researchers and healthcare professionals, we also encourage submissions from postgraduate and undergraduate students.

Contributions to the 2019 conference can take the form of posters, oral presentations, lightning talks or panels. Oral presentations last 20 minutes followed by questions and discussion. Panels will run for 90 minutes and should consist of two or three papers with sufficient time for audience discussion. Lightning talks last five minutes. In addition there is the Fringe focusing on performance art/stories/live medical humanities and a session where participants can make a pitch for funding a research proposal to an expert panel.
The abstract submission process is online and open at

Confirmed keynote speakers for this conference include Professor Alastair Campbell, Professor Mike McNamee; Baroness Ilona Finlay; Professor Deborah Bowman

There are six categories of abstract. Please indicate the categories for which you have submitted your abstract.

Oral presentations: 20 minutes, followed by ten minutes’ discussion to explore the implications for research, teaching clinical practice and critical humanities (to submit under this category please select ‘Oral’ from the Presentation Format dropdown box and when inputting text in the Abstract Content box please type ORAL).

Poster presentations: there will be a prize for the best poster (to submit under this category please select ‘Poster’ from the Presentation Format dropdown box).

Panel sessions: 90 minutes: two or three speakers related to a single topic with audience discussion. Abstracts should include a proposed timetable for the session (to submit under this category please select ‘Panel’ from the Presentation Format dropdown box).

Lightning talks: 5 minutes: a chance to share work in progress on a project – anything from a Master’s dissertation, a PhD, an educational development, a challenging clinical event or a piece of critical research (to submit under this category please select ‘Oral’ from the Presentation Format dropdown box and when inputting text in the Abstract Content box please type LIGHTNING).

Fringe: 15 minutes (maybe negotiable): something different, imaginative, perhaps provocative: performance, creativity, audience interaction (to submit under this category please select ‘Oral’ from the Presentation Format dropdown box and when inputting text in the Abstract Content box please type FRINGE).

(Red*) Dragon’s Den: This is a UK version of the popular US show Shark Tank based on a Japanese programme called Money Tigers: an opportunity to pitch an imaginative idea for funding a project or piece of research. Adapted for IME, this will offer constructive criticism to those making a pitch and will avoid the brutal humiliation sometimes associated with these shows (to submit under this category please select ‘Oral’ from the Presentation Format dropdown box and when inputting text in the Abstract Content box please type DRAGON).

*The Red Dragon is a symbol of Wales and appears on the Welsh flag.

You may submit more than one abstract to this conference.

Submissions should be submitted by midnight: 31st January 2019

The conference is organised by the IME Research Committee.

For queries about this conference email:

Rachael Healy reports on the 20th Humanitarian Congress in Berlin


In October, I travelled with Katya Baker, our GHSM Student Experience Officer, to attend the 20th Humanitarian Congress in Berlin. Although this was my third time attending the conference, I found it to be as informative, intense and inspiring as the first. Run jointly by Medecins Sans Frontieres, Medecins Du Monde and the German Red Cross, the Humanitarian Congress is a conference which always asks the most pressing and current humanitarian questions which face us in the field of global health and social medicine. The 2018 conference, which this year had the theme of “No more excuses – Advocating for human dignity in times of crisis”, was no different. By looking outward at global political discussions which have been dominated us over the last 12 months – including the #MeToo and #TimesUp movement, anti-migration and isolationist sentiments and diversity and representation of minority groups in workplaces – the conference forced us to also look inside the sector for the areas in which we have failed to uphold some of the values which we preach.

The deliberate swerve from the discourse of western humanitarians as “saviours” who can do no wrong was refreshing. Speakers spoke of sexual assault in the aid sector, occurring both in cases of humanitarian abuse towards beneficiaries and also within organizations themselves. The theme of sexual harassment or violence was consistent throughout the entire weekend, with multiple female speakers and audience members from all types of organisations recounting statistics, anecdotes and personal stories of how the humanitarian sector has to work harder to better protect those – often women – who are more vulnerable to violence.

We also heard from Degan Ali, who is the Executive Director of Adeso. She spoke strongly about how she continues to deal with the “double standards of aid” in terms of what is expected from local humanitarian workers compared with the so-called “expats” who parachute into a crisis and can leave when necessary – a luxury which is not afforded to local NGO workers. Shaista Aziz, a campaigner from Oxford, highlighted how the lack of diversity and inclusion of minorities in board rooms trickles down into all parts of organisations which affects how people interact and work with each other and with communities.

Throughout the two-day conference, larger sessions moved into smaller and more specialised groups. A highlight here was a small breakout session led by leaders from MSF and MDM about how new tactics in warfare, especially by ISIS, have led to an increased danger for humanitarian workers when working in conflict zones. In 1996 when Red Cross workers were killed in Chechnya there was a global outrage; yet Aleppo, Syria, saw 22 airstrikes on hospitals across the city in just the first half of 2016. David Trevino from MSF ran the session, explaining that the emergence of ISIS has changed and blurred existing negotiation lines, leading to more hospitals, schools and supply vehicles being deliberately targeted. Much of the session also focused on an over overlooked part of humanitarian discussions, which is the “burnout” and mental health impacts this has on staff, both local and international.

A further highlight of attending the conference was to represent GHSM among similar departments from universities all over the world. Katya and I ran a King’s College London stall between sessions to advertise GHSM and the programs and work we do. It was great to receive so much interest from like-minded students and professionals, who were interested in the department’s post-graduate and research opportunities. We also connected with other universities from Copenhagen, Heidelberg and Berlin, which have some fascinating programs and summer schools which are similar and complementary to those at GHSM. Also, it was really encouraging (as someone who is fast approaching graduation!) to have some really productive and interesting conversations with professionals from organisations who were genuinely interested in and excited about what we study and focus on back in GHSM.

Although the conference welcomed discussions on current and trending events which have been prevalent in mainstream news stories, the overall theme remained as it always has – focused on upholding human dignity. Almost every session offered a timely reminder to remain reflective and self-aware whilst navigating global health delivery; that it is crucial that we, as actors who enter situations with good intentions, do not end up doing more harm to those we seek to help. Hugo Slim, from the International Committee of the Red Cross, gave final remarks by reminding us of the remaining work still to be done in “decolonising humanitarian action and work with people – not on them or “for” them”.