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Lance K. Stell, Charles A. Dana professor of philosophy and director of medical humanities at Davidson College, will present a talk, “Don’t Trust Me, I’m a Doctor: Minorities and Distrust in Medicine,” at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, March 11 in the auditorium of Kirby Hall of Civil Rights, Lafayette College.

The lecture, free and open to the public, is sponsored by the department of philosophy as part of The Ethics Project.

The Ethics Project, directed by George Panichas, associate professor and head of the department of philosophy, involves the efforts of Lafayette faculty in all divisions of the College. The project aims to foster both an interest in and a concern for sound moral analysis and reasoning and to encourage their application to a full range of contemporary problems. The project sponsors talks, seminars for faculty whose courses include ethics components, and other related activities. Funding is provided by an endowment established by the late Louise M. Olmsted and her husband, Robert Olmsted.

Stell’s lecture will draw attention to the cognitive and motivational functions of trust in health care. These functions are most apparent in situations where doctors and nurses are distrusted. Stell will present an actual case illustrating the consequences that distrust of doctors can have for medical decision-making involving African-Americans. He will discuss a practical solution.

Stell, a professor at Davidson College for 23 years, teaches courses on ethics, medical ethics, philosophy of law, political philosophy, and Chinese philosophy. For 15 years, he chaired Davidson’s department of philosophy.

For 10 years he has held an appointment in the department of internal medicine at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, N.C., an 800-bed tertiary-care medical center with 1800 physicians on staff. Carolinas Medical Center, which offers a comprehensive graduate medical education program, has formal ties with Davidson College.

At the medical center, Stell is responsible for the ethics/law curriculum for the department of medicine. The only non-physician member of its executive committee, he regularly gives lectures and case conferences for the departments of pediatrics, family medicine, emergency medicine, and surgery. Stell also serves as director of the ethics consultation service and is a member of the renal transplant selection committee. He also does legal consulting for cases involving medical ethical issues.

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