[MUSIC] You mentioned earlier your friendship with Charles McCarthy and the role that that played. And I have been increasingly impressed. Over my career with the importance of personal relationships and individual personalities in how these ethical issues and how policy develops. I mean, do have other examples like your friendship with Charles McCarthy, or any reflections on the value in the role of interpersonal relationships? >> In the case of Charles McCarthy he was involved in the early 70s with meetings on with the Congress. They're going to send out a division of NIH called the Division of Legislative Analysis. But that was really a euphemism. That group was in daily touch with members of the key committees on on Capitol Hill in talking with staffers about matters of mutual interest to NIH and the Congress. Between people at NIH and people on Capitol Hill. They knew each other by name. I think they developed levels of trust in each other, which are very important in any public policy setting. Similarly within a group like Iraq, you got to know the members of the committee not intimately but in the course of meeting with them four times a year for several years, you get to know them quite well. You get a feel for how capable they are in their fields of research. You develop a certain level of respect for the way they dedicate themselves. Life long to maybe how plasments work or how bacteria, fungi, works or how animal viruses work. You also get the sense through their integrity as people. Would they level with you if they saw something misty, emerging within the field? Would they bring it to the attention of the full committee? And conversely, I think, what they look for in someone who's a generalist and not a specialist Is, is this person willing to learn about my field. Is this person willing to call things as he or she sees them? When this person speaks with the press, does this person convey accurately What the committee is doing? Where is the person sensationalizing, for example. So I think in many spears of public life this kind of willingness to learn to know people who are experts in a field where you haven't been trained, and to learn from them and perhaps to contribute on some new perspectives or some new thoughts to them. I think that's part of the glue that holds a society together. >> Mm-hm. >> And also helps to ensure that we don't lurch into disastrous public policy based on irrational fears or refusal to. To consider the evidence scientifically, I mean right now I'm concerned about whether our public policies will take seriously the risk of global warming. And so, I just hope that there will be ways for people in science, and citizens who are concerned about the environment to be in conversation with skeptics about global warming. And that we can try to see each other's points of view but also listen to each other, and learn from each other. So I do think that friendships and trust are very important. If you have someone of integrity within an organization like the National Institutes of Health. If that person sees an egregious misuse of human subjects for research for example. You can just count on the fact that, that person will do something about it and if that person can get the agency take action then the person will somehow brow the whistle and the public will be informed about the problem. I remember my friend Charles McCarthy telling me is that ones an underage director told him that here she wanted the rationale for a certain action on the director's desk by 8 o'clock the next morning, and my friend Charles. Write up a memo giving 15 reasons why the proposed action would be unwise. And he put that on the director's desk, not knowing whether he would be fired. And in fact, everything worked out and I think the policy was averted. So it does take people courage and integrity in government and in academia I think in the field of ethics, it's really important that we not bought off or co-opted. >> Mm-hm. >> As we interact with people, either in industry or experts in various scientific areas. Because we do learn to enjoy speaking with them, we learn a lot from them. But at the same time our role is slightly different from pushing the frontiers of any field of research. And we have to be ready in principle to be critical. >> Mm-hm. >> As well as constructively engaged. >> Mm-hm. And how do you think about the role of bioethics? In working through these very contentious areas, morally fraught areas of science. >> I think bioethics as a field of study, and then bioethics, people in the public policy arena have made some really constructive contributions. Partly it's been uncovering unpleasant truths about the past. >> Mm-hm. >> For example, the National Human Radiation Advisory Committee that Ruth Faden chaired, did a very thorough job looking at the exposure of human beings to radiation without their knowledge or consent. And that was a said chapter, in US history. The one presidential commission also discovered that Human beings in Guatemala. >> Yes. >> Have been exposed to sexually transmitted diseases, without their knowledge or consent. So that's an important critical role. Looking at the path. Similarly, people in the biotics field are still looking back with regret on eugenic sterilization in the United States. And the State of Virginia has formally apologized to those who were sterilized in its institutions. And is offered some kind of compensation. California right now is facing the question of whether it should try to track down people who were sterilized in the eugenic sterilization program. So there I think plays a critical roll. Looking forward, I think there's a way in which the bioethics field is involved with most of the exciting new areas of science whether it's neuroscience or stem cell research or gene therapy, or transplantation of organs between HIV positive people. I mean, there's just no limit on the types of issues that people in bioethics can become involved in. And I think that there's been a maturation of the field. There's subspecialization as there almost has to be. And then, we each get involved with a set of issues, a few issues we can't keep up on too many at one time. But at our best I think we play a constructive role. And people in the scientific and technological side see that we look at the world slightly differently. And that sometimes we raise questions that they haven't thought about. The risk is that bioethics field has been so successful in some ways that it's in danger of becoming kind of a business. Or becoming a shill for science. >> Mm-hm. >> Or technology or medicine. So I hope we won't lose our critical role. I think especially when we're involved with private industry we have to be on our guard not to be co-opted, but we can just as easily be co-opted by the nonprofit setting, where we get so enamored with some area of faux medical research or clinical care that we, we lose our critical capacity. So I think it's a good time for the field of bioethics. And I just hope we won't lose that critical edge. >> Mm-hm. Is there anything else that I didn't ask about, around recombinant DNA, around Asilomar, the rack? Those debates that you want to talk about. >> I guess if I were to sum up, I would say that I give a lot of credit to the scientists who >> Raised concerns about possible risks of the field of research that they were developing. >> Mm-hm. >> Going back to '73, and the original singer and so letter. And then, I think that the conference in February of '75. Was a great moment for science in the sense that researchers got together with the present and surfaced their concerns and then tried to come up with a strategy for minimizing the risks. To both laboratory personnel and the public. And as I look back on the recombinant DNA story, I think that the actions that were taken, the guidelines that were developed, were a prudent response to an unknown field that's basically research. And as it turns out, the risks were not great. And as it turns out, it doesn't appear that anyone was hurt. Perhaps the field of science was delayed by six months or a year, or even two years, but I think it was reasonable caution. >> Mm hm. >> And as messy as the process was, having NIH become a regulatory agency for this field, for a few years >> Again, I think that all worked out. And it was better to have it work out in a messy way than to have a regulatory agency with nothing to do in a couple of years. >> Do you think that messiness is inevitable? >> Yes, I do think that any new area of science or technology will Because it's new we'll have surprises and unexpected twists and turns. Yes, I mean, to take the stem cell research as an example, human embryonic stem cell research. It looked as if George W. Bush had achieved a really clever compromise, to say that stem cells created until the date of my speech can be used in research, but none. Created after the date of my speech. But it turned out that the stem cell lines that were developed early didn't grow very well, and the researchers within a few months knew that the policy wouldn't work in the long run and so much as the Bush administration hated to acknowledge the fact, the rules for holding back the field. So that became very messy and in ways, it took a change of administration to kind of break the log jam around human embryonic stem cell research. So I think steps taken in good faith, rules formulated, guidelines developed, can turn out to be misguided. >> Mm-hm. >> Or counter-productive. >> Mm-hm. >> And so, we always have to stay tuned. And be ready to receive feedback and go back to the drawing board. So I think the messiness is inevitable in human life. >> [LAUGH] Fair enough. Thank you so much. >> Sure. >> I really appreciate it. >> Sure.