Waggoner lecture to focus on ethical reform of U.S. health care

Six days before voters head to the polls to vote in the this year’s general election, the University of Michigan will host the president of the American Medical Association in a lecture dedicated to the divisive political topic of health care reform.  
Jeremy Lazarus, M.D., president of the AMA, will be this year’s keynote speaker at the 17th-annual Waggoner Lecture on Ethics and Values in Medicine, sponsored by U-M’s Department of Psychiatry.

Lazarus, a psychiatrist who has extensive experience studying the ethics of organized health care, will discuss the topic Oct. 31 at U-M in his presentation titled, “Fixing Health Care – The Ethical Way”. He will deliver his presentation at 4 p.m. in the Ford Auditorium, University Hospital.

“We face a new set of ethical challenges that are linked to the transformation of the American health care system,” Lazarus says. “Challenges that involve not just our relationship to each individual patient, but to the larger health care system. As those on the front lines of care delivery, physicians, nurses and medical students must ensure that solutions to this country’s health care challenges are ethically grounded.”

Lazarus was elected as president of the AMA in June and also is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine. During his time with the AMA, he has been one of the chief spokespersons on the uninsured.  

Philip Margolis, M.D., a professor emeritus of psychiatry at U-M and the lecture’s organizer, says Lazarus was the perfect choice to lead this year’s presentation given the upcoming election and his expertise on the hot-button issue of health care.

“We really wanted someone who could discuss the ethics surrounding the changing nature of health care in the U.S.,” Margolis says. “Dr. Lazarus has spent his career dedicated to research in this field, and he’ll be an especially timely speaker for this year’s lecture.”

The Waggoner lectureship is named for the late Raymond Waggoner, M.D., who died in June 2000 at age 98. He was chair of the U-M Department of Psychiatry for 33 years, from 1937 to 1970.

A noted U-M psychiatrist, medical administrator and government advisor who was one of the first to see mental illness as both an emotional and physical problem, Waggoner maintained a strong interest in medical ethics and values throughout his career. The U-M Department of Psychiatry established the lectureship in his honor in 1995.

by Justin Harris, UMHS PR