Students as visiting scholars at Georgetown University Medical Center

Tuesday. 26. September 2017

Students in Health Promotions are studying and presenting their work in international forums. Graduate student Christina Röhrich, and undergraduate students Maria Dütsch, Natalie Fahsen Paetau and Christoph Zeh spent eight weeks as visiting scholars at the Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics of Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, DC, USA. Working with Prof. Dr. James Giordano, Chief of the Neuroethics Studies Program and Professor in the Departments of Neurology and Biochemistry at Georgetown, in collaboration with Prof. Dr. Niko Kohls of the Integrative Health Promotions Program, and study program coordinator Prof. Dr. Eberhard Nöfer at Coburg University, the students engaged comprehensive studies addressing aspects of their graduate and undergraduate theses.

The students interacted with Georgetown teaching staff, participated in weekly tutorials, and developed and presented lectures to faculty and students that afforded detailed overviews of their work.  Christina Röhrich’s work addressed contributions of what is known as the “New Phenomenology” to the ethics of health promotions and medicine. Maria Dütsch examined students’ patterns of use and misuse of nootropics – drugs that can optimize dimensions of cognitive performance -  and proposed a framework for possible ethical and regulatory guidelines for research and oversight. Natalie Fahsen Paetau studied possible effects of smart phone use on the neuro-cognitive development of children and adolescents, and posited ethical obligations that such use and effects might necessitate. Christoph Zeh’s work addressed the viability of various forms of virtual reality applications to affect cognitive and behavioral performance in sport and their utility in and for health promotions.  In addition to their studies and lectures, the students are working with Profs. Giordano and Kohls to develop manuscripts that address aspects of their work, which will be submitted later this year toward publication in the international peer-reviewed literature.

Graduate student Christina Röhrich described the experience as: “exceptionally supportive and helpful for my further professional development. I am very grateful for the opportunity of experiencing such a professional support and personal encouragement.”

Echoing these sentiments, Natalie Fahsen Paetau notes: “I did not only gain knowledge in the fields of neuroethics. Through discussions in the tutorials and conversations with my fellow students, I adopted a new way of thinking that goes much more in depth. This allows me to approach situations in my field of study in a more profound way.” and Prof. Dr. Nöfer says: “We are proud and satisfied that our students have once again been able to promote the cooperation of our institutions.”

“It is from my point of view very important to give our distinguished and motivated students the chance to get some high level international research experience in the field of health promotions; and particularly the neuroethical perspective is pivotal here - this is why we are so enthusiastic about our partnership with the Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics", says Prof. Dr. Kohls.

Prof. Dr. Giordano is a visiting professor at Coburg University and returns every December and May to provide lectures, conduct research with Prof. Dr. Kohls and other colleagues and to develop collaborative study opportunities for students.  “It is a true pleasure working with students from Coburg” says Giordano, “their motivation, dedication and diligence impressed both me and my colleagues at Georgetown. I greatly look forward to continuing our work together as they develop their theses and manuscripts, and I equally welcome working with other students from Coburg in the future through our ongoing collaborative program."

For further information contact Prof. Dr. Niko Kohls (niko.kohls[at]hs-coburg.de).

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