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A joint program of the Levan Institute for Humanities and Ethics and the Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study

The series is organized by USC students in health and medicine who seek dialogue with USC faculty across disciplines in order to increase the integration of ethical themes into their curriculum. 

zygo / ˈzʌɪgəʊ, ˈzɪgəʊ pref. relating to union or joining.

ZYGO Student Director - 2014-2015: Varun Awasthi, Dornsife Natural Sciences '16 and Keck Global Health '16

HALF THE STORY: The Increasing Role of Alternative Medicine

Friday, April 25, 2014, 12:30-2 PM | Doheny Memorial Library 241 | Lunch Served

Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) is being used increasingly alongside conventional medical treatments for a wide variety of medical conditions; however, the techniques employed by alternative health systems such as Ayurveda or Traditional Chinese Medicine have not been researched in a manner acceptable according to many US physicians. This seminar seeks to explore how alternative medicine is currently being used in conjunction with conventional medicine and alternative medicine's academic status. Panelists will discuss how alternative medicine and cross-cultural healing is being integrated into medical school activities, if at all, and whether research on alternative techniques is increasing in the United States.

Moderator: Pavitra Krishnamani, ZYGO Director, Levan Graduate Fellow and Harman Academy Fellow

Julia Borovay, Professor, HP 450, “Traditional Eastern Medicine & Modern Health,” Keck School of Medicine
Murali Nair, Clinical Professor and Co-Author of “Healing Across Cultures,” USC School of Social Work
Armaity Austin, MD, Associate Professor of Clinical Family Medicine and Education Committee Co-Chair at the USC Institute for Integrative Health, Keck School of Medicine
Debu Tripathy, MD, Professor of Medicine, Priscilla and Art Ulene Chair in Women’s Cancer, and Clinical Committee Co-Chair at the USC Institute for Integrative Health, Keck School of Medicine
Samantha Myers, Fourth-year Medical Student, Keck School of Medicine
Kristen Roehl, Second-year Medical Student, Keck School of Medicine

Pictured (from left): Samantha Myers, Debu Tripathy, Pavitra Krishnamani, Murali Nair, Armaity Austin, and Julia Boravay (not pictured: Kristen Roehl)

AUTHORITY TO KILL: The Human Choice to Euthanize Humans and Other Animals

Friday, March 28, 2014, 12:30-2 PM | The Fishbowl (URC) | Lunch Served

In both research and veterinary medicine, humans have been given the right to decide when it is humane for an animal to be put down. However, it is not the same with other human beings, as evidenced by the debate about human euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide (PAS). While some countries have legalized PAS, the United States remains in doubt about giving patients the “right to die” and doctors the authority to euthanize them as per their wishes. It is out of this debate that legal documents such as the advanced directives have arisen. This seminar will seek to explore the perspectives on both animal and human euthanasia and discuss if, and under what circumstances, human beings have the authority to kill.

Moderator: Isabella Wu, ZYGO Program Manager, Levan Scholar and Dornsife Undergraduate

Alex Capron, University Professor, USC Gould School of Law, Scott H. Bice Chair in Healthcare Law, Policy and Ethics, Professor of Law and Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, Co-Director, Pacific Center for Health Policy and Ethics
Ilanit Brook, MD, Assistant Professor, Pediatrics and Palliative Care, Keck School of Medicine
Jim Burklo, Associate Dean, USC Office of Religious Life
William DePaolo, Assistant Professor, Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Keck School of Medicine


Friday, February 28, 2014, 12:30 PM | Doheny Memorial Library G28 | Lunch Served

Co-sponsored by the USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education

Human experimentation was a major war crime during the Holocaust and cruel experiments resulted in the death and disability of many, but yielded medical research. USC Libraries hosts a copy of “Pernkoph atlas” – a highly controversial Nazi medical publication. This seminar will discuss questions about this resource, such as:  If USC Libraries hosts a copy of this book do Nazi experiments become an accepted part of medical history? What can we learn from these experiments?  From a broad perspective, questions will be asked, such as:  What are the conceivable uses for these types of texts? How have we used other ethically questionable medical or psychological experiments to inform us ethically and academically?

Moderator: Pavitra Krishnamani, ZYGO Director, Levan Graduate Fellow and Harman Academy Fellow

Wolf Gruner, Shapell-Guerin Chair in Jewish Studies and Professor of History
Sari Siegel, USC Graduate Student studying Nazi medicine
Megan Rosenbloom, Head of Metadata & Content Management for the Norris Medical Library

Pictured (from left): Megan Rosenbloom, Pavitra Krishnamani, Sari Siegel, and Wolf Gruner