The American Society for Bioethics and Humanities (ASBH) is the leading U.S.-based society for many bioethicists and humanities scholars. ASBH’s mission is to promote “the exchange of ideas and fosters multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, and interprofessional scholarship, research, teaching, policy development, professional development and collegiality among people engaged in clinical and academic bioethics and the medical humanities.” It achieves these goals by stimulating discourse through meetings, developing its own publications and even impacting policy and practice. One major achievement by ASBH is its attempt to standardize the practice of clinical ethics consultations by developing the Core Competencies in Health Care Ethics Consultation now available as a second edition. A second, equally important, achievement is ASBH’s annual meeting.
As with all annual conferences, ASBH has a call for abstracts for individual presentations and panel sessions among other venues. They have a process of peer review and selection for accepting abstracts either for individual oral presentations, posters, panel sessions, program workshops, and preconference workshops. What I have noticed is for the last two years, I have personally not had anything accepted at the ASBH annual meeting. In fact, of the few other times I have applied, I have only been accepted to present a poster. Being Canadian and entering the field of bioethics around 2004, I believe I have attended only two ASBH meetings, one of which was way back when ASBH had a joint meeting with the Canadian Bioethics Society and the last one in 2010. I do however submit similar abstracts of my research to other bioethics, science, and medical conference which results in its acceptance for a talk or poster, but this seems to be a rarer case at ASBH. Throughout the years, I have discussed why ASBH is so selective in its abstract selection process with my bioethics colleagues and all of them say the same thing – “it’s hit or miss with ASBH.” And after being rejected now two years in a row, I decided to inquire a bit more into why this may be the case.
The Alden March Bioethics Institute offers a Master of Science in Bioethics, a Doctorate of Professional Studies in Bioethics, and Graduate Certificates in Clinical Ethics and Clinical Ethics Consultation. For more information on AMBI's online graduate programs, please visit our website.