The center's inaugural event will take place on Thursday, August 19, at noon. The roundtable discussion will feature the center's founding director, Sari J. Siegel, PhD, in dialogue with the center's six-member Advisory Committee, an international group comprising the field's top scholars.
Falling on the 74th anniversary of the Nuremberg Code, which established new standards for medically ethical behavior after World War II, the conversation will explore its legacy and that of the Nuremberg Medical Trial. Participants will also address the present and future of a new field of academic inquiry: Medicine, Holocaust and Genocide Studies.
Siegel, a member of The Lancet Commission on Medicine and the Holocaust and faculty member of Cedars-Sinai’s Program in the History of Medicine (PHM), explained her vision for the center: "The history of medicine during the Holocaust provides invaluable insights into the power that doctors can wield, and abuse, when operating in tandem with a state. It also reveals the resilience and resistance demonstrated by Jewish doctors seeking to heal in Nazi ghettos and camps."
She continued, "Yet, if we want to answer large-scale questions about what transforms healers into harmers and murderers, how physicians overcome obstacles to treat patients amid mass violence and how medical professionals tend to the physical and psychological wounds of the survivors of human atrocities, we need to take an interdisciplinary approach and examine broader chronological and geographical scopes."
Beyond its first rountable, the center will present a range of programming including a lecture series, more roundtables and conferences. Gideon Manning, PhD, PHM co-director, believes that "under Dr. Siegel's capable leadership the center holds the potential to create an entirely new synthesis of important and all too often separate fields of study. I have every confidence the center will be a game changer for the way we understand medicine and the role of physicians during some of history's worst atrocities."
According to Manning, the center's events will also "dovetail with the Program in the History of Medicine's other initiatives, including our distinguished lecture series, biweekly speaker series and teaching." The center's events will serve as a platform for scholars to share their research and views about issues that have echoes in contemporary medical practice, research, education and ethics. The center’s location within Cedars-Sinai will facilitate the immediate translation of knowledge gained and shared at the center and apply it to ongoing medical practice and research.
Additionally, through the generosity of Franklin Strauss, MD, the center will offer visiting fellowships of varying lengths to scholars of all levels pursuing research in Medicine, Holocaust and Genocide Studies. Fellows will have work space on the medical campus and have library privileges, including access to the Yale Fortunoff Video Archives for Holocaust Testimonies as well as the USC Shoah Foundation's Visual History Archive at the nearby USC campus.
PHM Founding Director Leon Fine, MD, looks forward to Strauss Fellows' presence at Cedars-Sinai, saying, "they will enhance the program’s efforts to promote the humanities at Cedars-Sinai."
When the center launches in August, Siegel hopes the center's programming resonates with the medical community.
"In presenting this inaugural event in line with the anniversary of the Nuremberg Code, I am hoping to tap into some basic awareness of the connection between Nazi medical atrocities and contemporary medical ethics," she said. "Whether it rings a bell or not, the event will draw attendees into really fascinating history and a lively discussion among experts."
A schedule of events and fellowship application instructions will be forthcoming. To receive notifications about upcoming events, email the center at firstname.lastname@example.org.