In this lecture, Dr. Joseph J. Fins will address how progress in the neurosciences (neuroimaging and neuroprosthetics) has revolutionized our understanding of disorders of consciousness and opened up the possibility of restoring functional communication for these patients. A worthy scientific pursuit, he will argue that catalyzing a re-emergent voice from covert consciousness is a moral imperative, which can help reintegrate patients into the nexus of home and community. As such, this effort is a civil rights issue for a population long marginalized. But for rights to come to mind, patients will need greater access to medical care, research and commitment from the neuroscience community.
Dr. Fins is The E. William Davis, Jr. M.D., Professor of Medical Ethics and co-director of the Consortium for the Advanced Study of Brain Injury at Weill Cornell Medicine, as well as Solomon Center Distinguished Scholar in Medicine, Bioethics and the Law at Yale Law School. He is a Member of the Institute of Medicine, Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and author of Rights Come to Mind (Cambridge University Press).