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November 3, 1999

2000 John Conley Ethics Essay Contest for Medical Students

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Copyright 1999 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.1999American Medical AssociationThis is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

JAMA. 1999;282(17):1679. doi:10.1001/jama.282.17.1679-JMS1103-6-1

The Medical Student JAMA is pleased to announce its sixth annual essay competition for medical students, sponsored by the John Conley Foundation for Ethics and Philosophy in Medicine. This year's topic examines an issue raised by the expanding technology available in medicine. Traditionally, preservation of life has been the foremost concern of medicine. With new technologies available to prolong life, ethical issues have emerged around who determines and how one measures the quality of life. In their essays, medical students are asked to address the following scenario: Suppose that a neonate with trisomy 21 is found also to have a medical condition that is easily repaired surgically, but lethal if not corrected. The parents of the newborn are not prepared to raise a child whose quality of life they believe will be impaired and ask that no further medical intervention take place. What are the ethical obligations of the physician?

Essays will be judged based on clarity of presentation and writing and applicability to actual decision-making. Essays should address the ethical dilemma presented in the scenario and not focus on the science of genetic testing or the mechanisms of the disease. The author(s) of the best essay(s) will be awarded $5000 or a portion thereof and will be encouraged to use some of the funds to attend an ethics conference of their choice. Winning essays will be considered for publication in MSJAMA. Essays must not have been previously published in print or electronic format and must not have been submitted to any other journal during the review period.

All current medical students are eligible. Essays should be less than 2000 words in length. Please submit essays typed and double-spaced, with the author's identification (name, address, telephone number, and medical school class) on a cover sheet only—not on the essay pages, which will be anonymously judged. Entries must be postmarked by January 15, 2000, and sent to:

John Conley Essay Contest, c/o MSJAMA, 515 N State St, Chicago, IL 60610

Essays winning honorable mention in the 1999 John Conley Ethics Essay Contest can be found online at The honorable mention winners are Matthew R. Cooperberg, Yale University School of Medicine, "Justified Deception? Miscoding on Insurance Claims"; Rishi Agrawal, Northwestern University School of Medicine, "A Change of Heart"; and Stephen Jae Kim, Johns Hopkins University, "The Choice."