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Special Interest Group

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Mary Ann Cohen, co-chair of the APM Bioethics SIG
Mary Ann Cohen, MD, FAPM

Rebecca Brendel, co-chair of the Bioethics SIG
Rebecca Weintraub Brendel,

Xavier Jimenez, rotating chair of the Bioethics SIG
Xavier Jimenez, MD
Rotating ECP Chair

Maria Mariano, rotating chair of the Bioethics SIG
Maria Theresa Mariano, MD
Rotating ECP Chair

David Sheski, rotating chair of the Bioethics SIG
David Sheski, MD
Rotating ECP Chair

Monika Chaudhry, rotating chair of the Bioethics SIG
Monika Chaudhry, MD
Rotating Trainee Chair

Welcome to the APM Bioethics SIG!

Our mission is to bring together like-minded psychosomatic medicine psychiatrists who seek to address ethical challenges and dilemmas in the care of patients, and to promote the teaching of bioethics. The SIG provides:

Interest in bioethical issues and the Bioethics SIG has increased markedly over recent years. We continue to welcome new members, and attendance at SIG-sponsored symposia has increased over the years—at the 2013 Annual Meeting, we set a record with 116 attendees at our decisional capacity symposium. In 2012, the Academy sponsored a bioethics-focused visiting professorship at UCLA-Olive View (California).

We urge all professionals in the field of psychosomatic medicine to attend our symposia and our meetings, and we welcome new members and their participation in our discussions.


High Honors

Updated Ethics Training Bibliography

The SIG's Bibliography Task Force has compiled an annotated list of ethics-related articles, books, and Internet resources available since 1999 that it selected as being especially important to students and faculty of PM training programs. These resources supplement APM's first ethics training bibliography published in Psychosomatics in 1999. This new supplement will be updated regularly as a living, online document published on the APM website. See the bibliography here.

Join Us!

The primary means of communication among members of the Bioethics SIG is via listserv. Only members of the SIG may post and receive group messages, as well as view the archived postings.

APM Members: To join our SIG, you simply need to update your APM membership profile:

  1. Sign into the Members' Corner, and click the link to "View or update your profile."
  2. Check "Bioethics" in the "Special Interest Group List" that displays toward the bottom of your profile page.
  3. Review/update your other profile information, and click the"Post Changes" button.

Alternatively, email the Academy office at info@apm.org with your request to join the SIG.

If you are not a member of the APM, submit the online form to sign-up for the SIG. Your request will be forwarded to Dr. Cohen and the Academy office for processing. If you are a current SIG subscriber and wish to change your email, contact the Academy at info@apm.org for assistance.

We encourage all of our SIG members to also become a member of the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine. The Academy is an organization that serves as an inspiration, a chance for networking, and a place to learn. Membership has many other advantages including a subscription to the Academy's journal, Psychosomatics. To join the APM, please see How to Join APM.

Goals of the SIG

  • Provide a forum for exchange of ideas and address the challenges at the interface of bioethics and psychosomatic medicine.
  • Provide education and training in bioethics for psychosomatic medicine psychiatrists.
  • Develop and present symposia and workshops on bioethics at the APM annual meeting.
  • Collaborate on research and publish work.
  • Encourage publication of complex bioethics case presentations with in depth analyses in the "Issues in Bioethics" section of Psychosomatics.
  • Current SIG Activities

    bullet pointQuarterly Annotated Abstracts

    Dr. Mary Ann Cohen will be working with the APM Research & Evidence-Based Practice Committee to contribute to the quarterly selection of notable journal articles for the Bioethics category of the Annotated Abstracts of Journal Articles of Interest section of the APM website.

    bullet point"Living" Ethics Training Bibliography

    The SIG's Bibliography Task Force will continue to seek and select recently published journal articles to post to the new online supplement to APM's ethics-training bibliography, first published in 1999 in Psychosomatics.

    Being online, the supplement can be kept current. Contributions are welcome—please send your suggestions and details to BioethicsBiblio@apm.org.

    bullet pointWeb Page

    SIG member Xavier Jimenez has accepted the appointment as editor of the new APM Bioethics SIG web page (this page!). In addition to the listserv, we will be using this page for updates, communications, and educational materials.

    A Brief History of the APM Bioethics SIG

    In 2008, a reorganization of APM's committee structure led to the establishment of the Bioethics SIG. The SIG was originally the Bioethics Subcommittee, chaired by Dr. Maurice Steinberg until 2002 and by Dr. Mary Ann Cohen until 2008. Dr. Cohen continued as chair when the subcommittee became the Bioethics Special Interest Group.

    In 2012, Dr. Rebecca Brendell joined Dr. Cohen as co-chair of the Bioethics SIG. In 2014, the SIG welcomed three additional co-chairs, rotating early career psychiatrists/trainees: Xavier Jimenez, MD; Maria Theresa ("Trixie") Mariano, MD; and David Sheski, MD. Their terms expire in 2017. The following year, in 2015, fellowship trainee Monika Chaudhry, MD, joined as rotating co-chair until 2018.

    The SIG has had, and continues to have, many of the most influential pioneers and prolific contributors to the field of bioethics, including Drs. Ned Cassem, Linda Ganzini, Cynthia Geppert, Donald Kornfeld, Cavin Leeman, Laura Roberts, Donald Rosenberg, Theresa Rummans, Maurice Steinberg, Ted Stern, Stuart Younger, Tom Wise, and others.

    Educational Resources & Materials


    bulletArticles published based on SIG collaborative work and member surveys:

    Geppert C, Cohen MA, Bourgeois JA, Peterson MJ: Bioethical challenges for psychiatrists: determination of decisional capacity. Psychiatric Times 2016; 33(7):19-20, 25

    Bourgeois JA, Cohen MA, Geppert CMA: The role of psychosomatic medicine psychiatrists in bioethics: a survey study of members of the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine. Psychosomatics 2006; 47:520-526

    Geppert CM, Cohen MA: Consultation-liaison psychiatrists on bioethics committees: opportunities for academic leadership. Acad Psychiatry 2006; 30:416-21

    bullet"Issues in Bioethics" section of Psychosomatics

    In 2006, Dr. Tom Wise (former editor-in-chief of Psychosomatics) instituted the "Issues in Bioethics" section of the journal, paving the way for the Bioethics SIG to submit, for publication consideration, commentary on ethics consultations. We invite you to submit articles on complex ethical issues for consideration for publication in this section.

    The introductory article:
    Cohen MA, Brendel R, Martin R. Roberts LW: Issues in bioethics. Psychosomatics 2006; 47:519

    The first "Issues in Bioethics" article:
    Martin RD, Cohen MA, Roberts LW, Batista SM, Hicks D, Bourgeois J: DNR vs. DNT: Clinical implications of a conceptual ambiguity: A case analysis. Psychosomatics 2007; 48:10-14


    Abstracts of most of the more recently presented Bioethics SIG symposia are publically available online. Below, click a symposium's title to view the abstract.

    Presentation slides from 2013 are available to APM members in the Members' Corner. For 2014 and 2015, the slides can be viewed by a link in the abstract with a meeting attendee login.

    Please see Previous Bioethics SIG Symposia (next) for links to available abstracts and slides.

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    Previous Bioethics SIG Symposia

    New Orleans, Louisiana

    Titles of 2015 symposia are linked to their abstracts on APM's 2015 Annual Meeting site, where presenter slides are available with attendee meeting login.

    Thursday, November 12, 2015

    "When Patients, Surrogates, and Providers Disagree: Strategies for Effective Communication and Ethical Care"

    Moderator/Discussant: Rebecca Weintraub Brendel, MD, JD, FAPM


    • M. Cornelia Cremens, MD, MPH, FAPM
    • Madeleine A. Becker, MD, FAPM
    • James M. Wilkins, MD, DPhil
    • Jenry R. Bleier, MD, MBA
    • Andrew M. Siegel, MD

    Friday, November 13, 2015

    "A Case-Based Life Cycle Approach to Education About Palliative Care, Advance Directives and End-Of-Life Issues in HIV Psychiatry" (a collaborative Bioethics SIG, HIV/AIDS Psychiatry SIG, and Child & Adolescent Psychatry SIG symposium)

    Chair: Karen Johnson, MD, FAPM

    Moderator/Discussants: Mary Ann Cohen, MD, FAPM; Suad Kapetanovic, MD, FAPM


    • I am only 18, please accept my 5 wishes before I say goodbye—Nicole Mavrides, MD
    • The value of Bedside Psychotherapy for Young Adult HIV Patient—Christina Y. Bilyeu, MD
    • Anxiety Disorder in an Adult HIV Patient: Can we talk about my funeral?—Deyadira Baez-Sierra, MD
    • Race, Culture, and Disclosure in Older Adults with HIV Disease—Karen Johnson, MD, FAPM

    Saturday, November 14, 2015

    "Deconstructing a Tower of Babble: Enhancing Communication Through a Case-Based, Collaborative Symposium of the Bioethics and Palliative Care SIGs"

    Stephanie Cavanaugh, MD, FAPM
    Mary Ann Cohen, MD, FAPM
    Charles Hebert, MD
    John L. Shuster Jr., MD, FAPM

    Lead Speakers:
    David J. Banayan, MD, MSc, FRCPC
    Michael J. Peterson, MD, PhD
    Saba Syed, MD, FAPM, DFAPA

    Kristin Beizai, MD
    Monika Chaudhry, MD
    Yamanda M. Mack Edwards, MD
    Darin M. Lerner, MD
    Kai-Hong J. Mao, MD
    Josephine Mokonogho, MD
    Maria L. Tiamson-Kassab, MD, FAPM, DFAPA

    Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    November 14, 2014

    "CPR, Autonomy, and Medical Futility: Conflicting Rights and Responsibilities in the Physician-Patient Relationship" (a collaborative Bioethics SIG and Palliative Care SIG symposium)

    [Abstract is available with the above link, as well as slides with meeting login.]

    Chair: Saba Syed, MD, FAPM

    Discussants: John L. Shuster, MD, FAPM; Mary Ann Cohen, MD, FAPM; & Rachel Lynn, MD


    • CPR and Concept of Medical FutilityRobert Dasher, MD
    • Societal Views of CPR: Popular Medical TV Dramas—David Sheski, MD
    • Patient Survey about their Perception and Knowledge of CPRMaria Mariano, MD

    Tucson, Arizona

    November 15, 2013

    "Collusions of Silence and Bioethical Dilemmas Unique to HIV Psychiatry" (a collaborative Bioethics SIG and HIV/AIDS Psychiatry SIG symposium)
    [Abstract is available with the above link; APM members have access to the slides from this 2013 Symposium 15 in the Members' Corner.]

    Chair: Mary Ann Cohen, MD, FAPM
    Discussants: Maryland Pao, MD, FAPM & Suad Kapetanovic, MD


    • When Ethics, Legal, Obstetrics, Psychiatry, and Pediatrics (and the Patient) Canít Agree: A Pregnant Woman Who Refuses to Disclose to Her Husband that She is HIV Positive—Catherine Harrison-Restelli, MD
    • Bioethical Issues Raised in the Cases of Two Adolescents with Vertically Transmitted HIV—Nicole Mavirides, MD

    November 14, 2013

    "Bioethical Aspects of Older Adult Health Care Reform: The Future or Back to the Future"
    [Abstract is available with the above link; APM members have access to the slides from this 2013 Symposium 10 in the Members' Corner.]

    Chairs: Mary Ann Cohen, MD, FAPM & Talin Dadoyan, MD
    Discussant: Rabbi Bennett Blum, MD


    • Overview of Healthcare Reforms for Older Adults: The Past and the Future—Talin Dadoyan, MD
    • Bioethical Issues in Capacity Evaluations of Older Adults—Jaroslava Salman, MD
    • Probate Conservatorship and Placement Issues—Saba Syed, MD
    • Medical Problems, Polypharmacy, & Substance Abuse in Older Adults—Sarah Gelberd, MD

    November 14, 2013

    NOTE: At 116 attendees, this symposium set the record for the highest attendance ever at any of our Bioethics SIG symposia!

    "From Decisional to Dispositional Capacity: When is the Patient Really the Boss of His/Her Body?"
    [Abstract is available with the above link; APM members have access to PDFs of slides from this 2013 Symposium 4 in the Members' Corner.]

    Chair: Henry R. Bleier, MD, MBA
    Discussants: James A. Bourgeois, OD, MD, FAPM & Mary Ann Cohen, MD, FAPM


    • Bioethical Challenges to Determination of Decisional Capacity: A Practical Approach—Mary Ann Cohen, MD, FAPM [Dr. Cohen offers her PowerPoint slides here.]
    • Capacity for Self Determination: What Is It?—Henry R. Bleier, MD, MBA
    • Decisional Capacity Determinations: From Informed Consent to Dispositional Capacity—James A. Bourgeois, OD, MD, FAPM
    • In the Trenches: A Residentís Perspective—Katharine B. Dalke, MD, MBE
    • The State of Legal Affairs: What Is Our Jeopardy?—John K. Northrop MD, PhD

    Atlanta, Georgia

    November 17, 2012

    "Coercion vs. Autonomy: Who Are the Winners?"
    [Abstract for this 2012 Symposium 19 is available with the above link.]

    Chair: Mary Ann Cohen, MD, FAPM
    Discussant: Lewis M. Cohen, MD, FAPM


    • Delay in Medical Treatment Due to Complex Mental Health Laws in California—Jaroslava Salman, MD
    • Coercion by the System to Conserve Patients—Saba Syed, MD
    • The Evaluation of Capacity, Medical Decision-Making, and Interphysician Conflicts: Who Decides?—Jewel Shim, MD
    • Literature Review of Guidelines (or lack thereof) for Surrogate Decision-Making—Talin Dadoyan, MD

    Las Vegas, Nevada

    November 13, 2009

    "Ethics Consultation and Quality of Care in Psychosomatic Medicine"
    [APM members have access to the slides from this 2009 Symposium 3 in the Members' Corner.]

    Chair: Mary Ann Cohen, MD, FAPM
    Discussant: Rebecca Brendel, MD, JD, FAPM


    • An Empirical Study of the Role of the Clinical Ethics Consultant—Donald S. Kornfeld, MD
    • Ethical Dilemmas in Child Psychosomatic Medicine and Their Impact on Quality of Care—Susan Beckwitt Turkel, MD, FAPM
    • Medical-Decision-Making Assistance Team: Impact on Quality of Care—Charles Schwartz, MD, FAPM
    • National Standards for Ethics Consultations—Asher D. Aladjem, MD, FAPM

    Miami, FL

    November 21, 2008

    "Bioethical Challenges in Capacity Determination"

    Moderator: Mary Ann Cohen, MD, FAPM
    Discussant: Rebecca Brendel, MD, JD


    • A Prospective Study of Consultations for Capacity–A Cry for Help—Philip R. Muskin, MD, FAPM
    • Challenges in Specialized Capacity Decisions—Robert Martin, MD, FAPM
    • Psychopathology and Decisional Capacity: Results of Two Studies—Debra Kahn, MD & James Bourgeois, MD, FAPM
    • Evaluating Capacity of the Surrogate Decision-Maker—Rebecca Brendel, MD, JD

    Amelia Island, FL

    November 17, 2007

    "Dilemmas of Infancy and Early Childhood"

    Moderator: Mary Ann Cohen, MD, FAPM
    Discussants: Rebecca Brendel, MD, JD & Donna Chen, MD, MPH


    • Disclosure of Medical Errors—Laura Prager, MD
    • Decisional Capacity to Care for a Child—Robert Martin, MD, FAPM & Inessa Meyerovitch, MD

    November 16, 2007

    "Ethics, Spirituality, and Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry: Conflict and Collaboration"

    Moderator: Mary Ann Cohen, MD, FAPM
    Discussant: Edwin Cassem, MD, FAPM


    • Negative Effects of Religion and How to Transform into Positive—Cynthia Geppert, MD, PhD, MPH, FAPM (in absentia, presented by Dr. Cohen)
    • Ethics and Religious Dilemmas Encountered on a Consultation Psychiatry Service—Edwin Cassem, MD, FAPM
    • Spiritual and Ethical Challenges at the End of Life—William Breitbart, MD, FAPM
    • Ethical Boundaries in Incorporating Spirituality into Patient Care—Maria Tiamson-Kassab, MD, FAPM

    Tucson, AZ

    November 17, 2006

    "Ethical Issues of Disposition and Black Boxed Drug Use in the Hospital Population"

    Moderator: Mary Ann Cohen, MD, FAPM


    • Ethical Dilemmas Involving the Discharge of Active Alcohol-Dependent Persons Who Are Homeless and Refuse Further Treatment for Alcohol Addiction—Robert D. Martin, MD, FAPM
    • Ethical and Legal Dimensions of Hospital Discharge in Persons with Impaired Decision Making—Rebecca W. Brendel, MD, JD
    • Black Box Warnings and the Ethics of Treatment—Donna T. Chen, MD, MPH

    Santa Ana Pueblo, NM

    November 19, 2005

    "Bioethics in Psychosomatic Medicine 2005"

    Moderator: Mary Ann Cohen, MD, FAPM


    • Bioethical Dimensions of Bariatric Surgery—Pauline Powers, MD
    • The Moral Community Model—Jose Maldonado, MD, FAPM
    • Psychodynamic Aspects of Capacity Consultation—John Barnhill, MD
    • The Role of the C-L Psychiatrist on Bioethics Committees: The Results of the 2004 APM Membership Survey—Mary Ann Cohen, MD, FAPM

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