by Celina Dietzel '18
Knox students and faculty explored ethical dilemmas in the health care field when Anita Tarzian '84 inaugural Parke Ethicist in Residence visited campus from April 24-26.
Tarzian's keynote presentation, "Dying in America: Policies that deter adequate end of life care" focused on people's tendencies to procrastinate when thinking about end-of-life care, and the need for policies that limit suffering for patients and families.
"[We're in] a death-denying culture," Tarzian said. "We need to do everything [possible to treat people's discomfort at the end of life]. There should be no reason that people are suffering."
Tarzian emphasized that dying isn't an instinct, and there's no manual on how to do it. She'd like to see more discussion in acute-care settings and to help people start preparing for the "letting go" process.
In addition to the presentation, Tarzian also visited a Health Psychology class and met with pre-health students and faculty individually.
During the Health Psychology class, Tarzian and students re-enacted a mock ethics board, using an actual case of a dilemma involving organ procurement.
Joshua Lewis '16 is completing a post-bac program and plans to become a doctor one day.
"It was a more legal perspective than I was expecting," he said of the class presentation. "I learned that [ethics counseling] is becoming an emerging field."
Tarzian is associate professor at the University of Maryland School of Nursing & Graduate School and is the program coordinator for the Maryland Health Care Ethics Committee Network, part of the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. She is a former surgical oncology nurse, hospice nurse, and returned Peace Corps volunteer. She has a Ph.D. in nursing and ethics.
The Parke Ethicist in Residence program is sponsored by Bob '66 and Carol '67 Parke. Its purpose is to provide ethics support to students, faculty, and staff in multiple disciplines, including health sciences, business, and environmental studies, with the goal of encouraging ethical discourse in academic, professional, and public life.