Implications of Human Genome Project Featured at Local Lecture

SPOKANE, Wash. — “The Human Genome Project: Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications” is the focus of a public lecture, panel discussion, and other presentations for health professionals and community members set for Nov. 16-17 at the Sacred Heart Medical Center Providence Auditorium, W. 20 Ninth Ave., Spokane. The events are sponsored by the Washington State University Spokane Robert F.E. Stier Memorial Lectures in Medicine in collaboration with the St. Stephen’s Lecture Series and the Spokane County Medical Society.

Speakers set for Nov. 16 beginning at 7 p.m. are Victor McKusick, M.D., university professor of medical genetics at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and director of the McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine, Baltimore, and Albert Jonsen, Ph.D., professor emeritus of ethics in medicine and former chairman of the Department of Medical History and Ethics at the University of Washington. McKusick returns to Spokane 10 years after giving the first Stier Memorial Lecture in October 1991 at which he discussed the status of clinical genetics. The evening will close with a panel discussion and audience questions moderated by Marianne Mishima.

Interactive panel members include Mark Alfino, Ph.D., Gonzaga University staff ethicist; William Robinson, Ph.D., Whitworth College president; the Rev. John Shepard, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church; and Bishop James E. Waggoner Jr., of the Episcopal Dioceses of Spokane.

Saturday, speakers begin at 8 a.m. with the presentation, “The Techniques of Testing in Cytogenetics: The Reliability, Costs and Availability, and Clinical Applications” by Julie Hanna, Ph.D., director of cytogenetics at Sacred Heart Medical Center. The second speaker of the day is Michael Donlan, MD, director of Sacred Heart Pediatrics, discussing “Handling Familial Genetic Diseases in the Child and in the Family.”

The event wraps up with speakers Judith Martin, M.D., director of Inland Northwest Genetics Clinic, and Joni Nichols, M.D., oncologist at Cancer Care Northwest, giving the presentation “Genetics and Cancer: What We Know and How We Use It.”

Designed to present current and authoritative information to the public and for those in the medical and legal professions, the two-day conference features nationally-recognized speakers focusing on developments in the science of molecular biology and the impact these events will have on daily living and thinking. The lecture is approved for continuing medical education units for physicians.

Stier Lecture fees vary with whole or partial event participation and application for continuing education credits. To register and for more information call St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church at 509/448-2255, or WSU Spokane at 509/358-7640, or visit

In addition to support from the St. Stephen’s Lecture Series, the Washington State University Spokane Robert F.E. Stier Memorial Lectures in Medicine, and the Spokane County Medical Society, the presentation is also supported by Empire Health Services, Pathology Associates, and Providence Medical Services.

The Stier Lectures, coordinated by the Area Health Education Center at WSU Spokane, were established by Alton R. Stier, M.D., and Robert A. (Bud) Stier, M.D., in honor of their late father. The series features annual presentations from key leaders in medicine who represent the current state of the art and science, and whose works have increased professional and public understanding of new technologies and challenging issues. The lectures serve the medical profession and the public to increase dialogue and stimulate interaction around innovative ideas and biomedical technologies.

For more information on the Stier Lectures, contact the AHEC at 509/358-7640,