Jacob Moses, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston; Stephen Molldrem, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston; Alberto Aparicio, Harvard Kennedy School of Government;
This open panel will convene STS researchers working on-and within-academic health centers (AHCs). We encourage submissions that theorize "the AHC" as an institutional form or which use AHCs as sites of inquiry. AHCs fuse laboratories, classrooms, and clinics to form powerful nodes for producing knowledge, generating expertise, and employing care workers (including patient-focused labor and others who "care" for data, lab animals, biospecimens, and infrastructures that sustain AHCs). STS researchers have analyzed AHCs in studies of genetics, biohacking, neuroscience, environmental health, informatics, and other topics. While AHCs have been generative sites for STS scholars, few North American AHCs have institutionalized STS; however, bioethics has a rich institutional life in AHCs. Although STS and bioethics researchers have studied many similar topics, these fields draw on distinct theoretical genealogies and occupy different institutional positions. Through research review boards, ethics consultation services, and health education programs, the bioethics enterprise has become embedded within AHCs. By contrast, STS is more established in professional schools of engineering, information, and policy-while maintaining enduring interests in ethics and health. We invite papers on topics in biomedicine, public health, nursing, and clinical care that explore prospects for doing STS "of" and "in" AHCs. As AHCs embrace transdisciplinarity, we ask: how can STS and bioethics symmetrically engage questions of knowledge-production and reception (at the core of STS) with the normative production of values, narratives, and experience (at the center of bioethics)? We hope to generate a cross-cutting discussion to identify possibilities for new directions for STS within AHCs.