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June 4, 1982

Margery Shaw, MD, JD: twice counselor

JAMA. 1982;247(21):2884-2890. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320460012004

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The offices of Houston's Institute for the Interprofessional Study of Health Law, where Margery W. Shaw, MD, JD, is interim director, are uncrowded and quiet, except for the occasional interruption of a telephone. The visitors are reporters or scholars from other institutes, and the conversation is leisurely and reflective.

It is a far cry from the genetic counseling clinic where Shaw began her medical career soon after graduating from the University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, in 1957. There she was facing anxious parents or parents-to-be, dealing with intensely emotional and potentially life-shattering issues.

In the quarter century since, technological innovations in medicine have given rise to complex social and legal issues surrounding the genesis of life. Concern about these issues led Shaw to add a law degree to her medical training and to work for the establishment of an organization to deal with these questions. Her efforts were