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Harold Braswell, PhD Joins CHCE

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Saint Louis University

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Harold Braswell, PhD Joins CHCE

Harold Braswell, PhDThe Albert Gnaegi Center for Health Care Ethics hired Harold Braswell, PhD to serve as Assistant Professor. Braswell received his PhD from Emory University's Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts in 2014.

“In our search process,” said Jeffrey Bishop, Center Director, “we were looking for someone that understood the normative dimension of health care ethics, but also had a skill set in empirical work. Harold was a perfect fit.”

Braswell’s research develops a disability studies perspective on bioethics. “Disability studies scholars have argued that the individualistic focus of bioethics ignores the presence of social discrimination against the disabled,” he says, “I'm interested in how to use bioethics to examine and combat disability discrimination, as well as to explore the intersection of disability, race, gender, and socioeconomic status in medical settings.”

Dr. Braswell’s current research examines how disability is defined in US hospice care. He argues that different hospice organizations not only understand disability in unique ways, but also actively attempt to redefine disability for the patients and families under their care.

“This argument challenges existing bioethical arguments about end-of-life decision making, which are frequently based on static and asocial definitions of disability.” Braswell continues, “By grounding such arguments in the context of hospice care, my research highlights the necessity of integrating humanities and social science methods into bioethics, and develops modes of ethical reasoning that are both more socially conscious and attuned to the particularities of clinical care.”

Braswell has excellent teaching experience from his days at Emory. In the Fall 2014 semester, he will be teaching clinical ethics and public health ethics courses and will help advise PhD students. He also will develop new courses on disability studies, death and dying, gender and sexuality, and the use of ethnographic and historical methods in bioethics.

Additionally, in the spring 2015 semester, Braswell will begin serving as Director of the Undergraduate Minor in Health Care Ethics. He states, “I'm very much looking forward to growing the minor, and to expanding both course offerings and service learning opportunities.”

Bishop is enthusiastic about the hire. He states, “Harold will increase the research portfolio of the Gnaegi Center. Even as a graduate student at Emory, Harold was already publishing his scholarship.”

“We are excited to welcome Harold to the Gnaegi Center,” says Bishop. “Because of his own interdisciplinary training, he is very good at bringing empirical data into conversation with the major theoretical positions of bioethics, which makes his research work fruitful, and his teaching very rich.”

Braswell looks forward to the opportunity stating, “The Gnaegi Center for Health Care Ethics is a unique organization in the American academy: a center dedicated to the interdisciplinary exploration of pressing problems in health care ethics and policy.” He is especially impressed with the center’s “high level of theoretical sophistication with the concrete exploration of practical dilemmas in health care,” and says the position is a dream come true. “I couldn't imagine a more exciting place to be.”


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