Jacksonville's only bioethicist to speak at Society of Healers event in April



Society of Healers Division Director


            Jacksonville’s only bioethicist, Alissa Hurwitz Swota, Ph.D, will engage the Federation’s Society of Healers division, Sunday, Apr. 10, in a discussion titled, 'When Cultures Collide: Caring for Patients in a Multicultural Society.' Healthcare professionals must constantly navigate cultural diversity in a clinical setting, making it a fascinating and complex topic. The brunch is sponsored by Dr. Todd Rasner and Dr. Inbal Cohen Rasner and will take place at 10:30 a.m. at Maggiano’s at St. Johns Town Center. The Federation is very thankful to the Rasners for partnering with the Society of Healers to make this program possible. The event is open to all Jewish healthcare professionals in the Jacksonville community.

            Dr. Swota is the bioethicist for Baptist Medical Center in Jacksonville. As a clinical bioethicist, she educates staff, provides consultations and contributes to policy development, revision, and research. Her guidance helps families, physicians and staff resolve difficult ethical issues that arise when deciding on appropriate medical interventions. Dr. Swota is also an associate professor of Philosophy at the University of North Florida, teaching courses such as Ethical Issues in Death and Dying, Multicultural Bioethics, and Bioethics. In addition to her faculty appointment, Dr. Swota is the director of the Florida Blue Center for Ethics. The Ethics Center, as it’s commonly known, helps policy makers, researchers and professional practitioners apply solid moral reasoning to thorny ethical dilemmas. The Center contributes to the public discourse through research, education and community outreach.   

            Dr. Swota, in collaboration with the Florida Bioethics Network, helped to develop and organize the Pediatric Bioethics Conference for the past eight years. This conference, sponsored by Wolfson Children's hospital and other area healthcare institutions, seeks to identify and calibrate best practices in pediatric bioethics. This conference has become the largest pediatric bioethics conference in the nation.

            The accomplished bioethicist has also been published widely in medical and ethics journals and has a written a monograph entitled, 'Culture, Ethics, and Advance Care Planning'. She is a board member of the Florida Bioethics Network, and has served on statewide panels on guardianship and on a DOH working group to help grapple with the ethical issues that arise in pandemic preparedness. Dr. Swota regularly speaks across the country on a wide variety of ethical issues in medicine. 

            "I am truly honored to be speaking to the Jewish medical community on a topic for which I am so passionate," Swota said. "The reality is that the learning never stops when it comes to the complicated issues that arise between care providers, patients and their families," she added. "It is my hope that with continuing education events like these, we can help to raise awareness of the vexing ethical issues that abound in healthcare today.​"

            Society of Healers co-chairs, Drs. Dina and Howard Fetner are both looking forward to the next program, as Dr. Dina explained, "Howard and I are so excited to highlight one of Jacksonville's own incredibly talented and respected medical professionals at the next Society of Healers event. I look forward to hearing Dr. Swota’s talk and engaging in meaningful dialogue throughout the program.”
            The cost to attend is $18 and if you have not yet made a gift to the 2016 annual campaign we encourage you to do so at this time. Mailed invitations as well as email communications will be sent out soon. To RSVP now, go to jewishjacksonville.org/swota. For more information, please contact Erin Cohen at 904-448-5000, ext. 205 or erinc@jewishjacksonville.org.