Annual Dr Stuart John Saunders Lecture

19 November 2019 | From Kgethi

Dear colleagues and students

I’m very pleased to invite you to the second edition of the annual Dr Stuart John Saunders Lecture, to be presented by Dr Solomon Benatar, Emeritus Professor of Medicine at the University of Cape Town (UCT).

The lecture is held in honour of the former vice-chancellor and chair of medicine at UCT, Dr Stuart Saunders. It was made possible by his late wife, Anita Johanna Saunders, whose intention was to pay tribute to the values demonstrated during Dr Saunders’ 15 years as vice-chancellor and his impactful medical research.

This year’s lecture is titled: “Health, healthcare and professionalism in the 21st century”. Dr Benatar’s work is focused on the structure and funding of healthcare services in South Africa, human rights, bioethics and the political economy of global health.

Advances in science, technology, medicine and healthcare have profoundly transformed human life and the practice of medicine over the past 60 years. Despite these advances and vast economic growth, wide disparities in health and in access to healthcare persist. In this lecture, the trajectory of such changes will be discussed in the context of the underlying ideological and political influences that directly shape the financing and functioning of healthcare services, and indirectly, but more powerfully, shape the social structures and living conditions that underpin the health of individuals and whole populations. As social, economic and ecological crises reach dangerous tipping points, new threats to population health emerge, with implications for healthcare services, medical education and the future roles of healthcare professionals. Some tentative proposals will be suggested for constructive ways forward.

Dr Benatar is an adjunct professor at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health. He was professor of medicine and chief physician at Groote Schuur Hospital for 19 years and was the founding director of the UCT Bioethics Centre, a position he held for 20 years.

His other professional roles include a term as president of the International Association of Bioethics, and ethics adviser to several international organisations. He has been a visiting professor at many medical schools globally and for the 1994–95 academic year was a visiting professor of social medicine at the Harvard Medical School and a fellow in the Program in Ethics and the Professions at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. From 2000 until 2018 he was an annually invited scholar, teacher and mentor at the University of Toronto, where he developed, directed and taught courses for masterʼs and PhD students in the Joint Centre for Bioethics and the School of Public Health. He now has a continuing honorary appointment at the University of Toronto.

He is an elected foreign member of the United States National Academy of Medicine and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and an elected fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa. He received the New York Hastings Center’s Henry Knowles Beecher Award in 2011 “in recognition of lifetime contributions to ethics and the life sciences and a career devoted to excellence in scholarship, research, and ethical inquiry”.

His academic interests have included respiratory medicine, health services, human rights, academic freedom, medical ethics and global health, topics on which he has published widely.

When: Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Where: New Learning Centre Lecture Theatre, Anatomy Building, Faculty of Health Sciences, UCT

Time: 18:00 (guests to be seated by 17:45)

Please RSVP before Friday, 22 November 2019.

For any enquiries, please email or phone 021 650 4847.

Due to limited space, seats will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.


Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng

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