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Book and Media Reviews
October 24/31, 2007

African American Bioethics: Culture, Race, and Identity

Author Affiliations

Book and Media Reviews Section Editor: John L. Zeller, MD, PhD, Contributing Editor.

JAMA. 2007;298(16):1943-1949. doi:10.1001/jama.298.16.1947

African American Bioethics is a collection of essays edited by Lawrence Prograis Jr and Edmund D. Pellegrino, from the Center for Clinical Bioethics at Georgetown University. Both of the editors have long-standing careers in clinical and research-based medicine and bioethics. Dr Pellegrino, the chair of the President's Council on Bioethics, has contributed substantially to the field of bioethics and has written extensively on the subject. The essays in this volume were contributed by various African American ethicists, physicians, and philosophers whose charge was to address African American perspectives of bioethical issues and to answer the question, “Is there a distinctive African American cultural perspective on bioethics?” This question was initially posed in 1992 at the First Conference of the African American Perspective in Biomedical Ethics, spearheaded by Pellegrino and by Dr Harley Flack, at which a panel of distinguished African American scholars discussed this and related questions, opening the door for intercultural dialogue. The editors of this current book felt that the change in demography of the United States over the past 15 years warranted a review of this subject, to determine if perspectives, culture, or the bioethical issues have changed.