One of the student projects we’re most excited about comes from Caitlin Cleary, Andrew Green, Noah Martin, and Caitlin Tompkins. The team began their work in 2015’s Science & Society: Global Challenges course. Since last fall, the team has developed The Invasive Hitlist — a series of field guides designed to create a culture of eco-positive recreation that benefits the ecosystem, rather than harming it; the first entry in the series centered on designing an innovative response to combat the growing population of invasive Northern Snakehead in the rivers surrounding Washington D.C. The booklet addresses the global challenge of invasive species, with the goal of inspiring local action and raising awareness. Their second entry in the series The Invasive Hitlist: Origins, is forthcoming following beta testing.

The team’s hard work paid off this year, earning them a commendation in the Undergraduate Bioethics Showcase. The series has also been a hit in several external communities, with demonstrated interest in the product as an educational and informational tool from both the Bureau of Land Management and the Fisheries for Veteran’s Project. The student team has leveraged their talents to make early deals with both organizations–gaining access to contributing researchers, a critical mass of species information, and potential bulk product orders, all while maintaining creative control of the product design and development.

All of the books produced to date have been produced by hand entirely in Ethics Lab. We plan to continue mentorship and support of the Hitlist project while developing more concrete plans to guide the final stages of incubation for Lab-developed projects.

Learn more on the Invasive Hitlist website »

Empathy Mapping for #tbt

Adapted from the 2014 run of our Introduction to Bioethics MOOC, this guided exercise walks you through empathy mapping, a collaborative tool individuals and teams alike can use to gain a deeper insight into the wide variety of ways in which a person might interact with an experience. In this particular exercise, you’ll get into the head space of a patient whose consent is required for a particular medical treatment–and work through what that patient might be thinking, feeling, hearing, saying, and doing if they were in this medical situation.

Check out the link above for step-by-step instructions on trying this exercise yourself. Share reflections, pictures or audio of your session or your conclusions, and more with us by tweeting @EthicsLab, or sharing on our Facebook page–we want to know how it goes!

Ethics Lab to Host IBC Post Session on June 11

The lab team can’t wait to welcome a new cohort of participants from this summer’s Intensive Bioethics Course to the lab for a research ethics post-session.

Facilitated by lab designers and led by lab co-founder and Director of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Maggie Little, the session will be held from 9am–1pm. It is capped at nine participants (just three spots remaining for this year!) and last year’s cohort was a good mix of physicians, clinicians, and ethics board and IRB leaders.

We tweak the format a bit each year, but both the morning and early afternoon sessions involve some lecture material on the ethics of clinical research, and collaborative creative sessions led by our designers. There is no need to come prepared with a specific ethical quandary; we provide prompts for discussion, though those discussions are always enriched by learning more about the lived experiences of the professionals who participate in the session.

You can read a bit more about last year’s session here!

Georgetown University professor and Ethics Lab partner Francis Slakey and his students shared their experiences in a multidisciplinary, project-based course that has real impact on the world outside of the classroom.

The course, Shaping National Science Policy, was co-taught by Prof. Slakey and David Goldston in Ethics Lab this spring for the second consecutive year. The video above captures scenes and interviews from last year’s studio collaborative and other past Science in the Public Interest students.

Students were asked to identify a social issue–teams from last year’s class ranged from studying the effects of pesticides on Argentinean agricultural workers to rethinking menstrual hygiene management in India–then guided by faculty mentors and external experts to develop a strategy for a fundable solution.

To help realize their projects, students then met with outside funders like Proctor and Gamble, Coca-Cola, and the Peace Corps in an effort to advance one of the key pedagogical innovations offered by Ethics Lab’s studio-based classes: students getting hands-on experience making authentic progress on complex global problems.

Thanks to the Red House for producing this video as part of the larger Designing the Future(s) of the University initiative.

You know that feeling when someone’s asking you to explain what exactly the deal is with your studio class?

And you fumble around for a little while, grasping for the words to explain the intensity, the chaos, the unexpected transcendence that somehow makes it all worth it?

And your friends are eventually like … Okay I don’t know what you mean, but I’m definitely intrigued. How do I get involved?

So. We’ve at least got something to help you out with the second question.

See if you can snag one of these pocket-sized postcards printed by our friends over at MOO — there are always a few floating around the lab.

Full text:

Take a class in studio. Studio is an ecosystem in which students work to create real change.

Student teams have created books, campaigns, comics, legislative proposals, art installations, consumer products, and more. They have collaborated with congressmen, elementary schools, medical researchers, artists, scientists, and entrepreneurs.

There are different ways to work in this ecosystem, but the best way to get started is to take a course in studio.

Participants in this year’s Intensive Bioethics Course at Georgetown (41 years strong!) were invited to sign up for a post-session dedicated to issues in research ethics.

Designed for clinical researchers and others whose work brings them face-to-face with moral issues in gathering medical research, and facilitated by EthicsLab designers, the full-day workshop used design-based inquiry to explore problem contexts and scenarios drawn from real cases. Participants used empathy maps to articulate issues in informed consent, prototyped a tactile decision aids for enrollment in two different types of clinical trial, talked about exploitation and coercion in research in resource-poor settings over lunch, and finished the day with some famous local cupcakes.

Check out our Twitter feed for a record of live event coverage!

We are so excited to be partnering with the Ethics Institute at Kent Place Schools in Summit, NJ, on a new program for high school students and educators called Ethics in Action.

Selected high schools will send teams of students and teachers first to Kent Place, for a four-day summer immersion internship, and later to Georgetown, for a two-day intensive session in the lab. These students will learn, work and become Design Fellows, ready to engage in solutions to actual challenges faced in their respective school communities around the issue of food.

Read more »

Mapping the landscape of pregnancy and preeclampsia with external project partners. Play-Doh is for more than just kids!