Programme colloquia Department of Philosophy 2016/2017

All colloquia are open to those who are interested.

Next colloquium:

Dear all,

You are kindly invited for this colloquium:

date/time:         Thu, November 24, 2016, 15.45 – 17.15h

venue:                 C238 - CUB

lecturer:              Anke Oerlemans (Radboud University)

title:                     The moral life of professionals in newborn screening


Newborn screening (NBS) involves the collection of several drops of a child’s blood in the first week of life, which are subsequently tested for a list of rare disease. NBS is a complex logistical process, which depends on the close cooperation of many professionals, such as midwives, laboratory technicians, general practitioners and pediatricians. The availability of faster and cheaper screening technologies have led to substantial expansions of the program in recent years, and new technologies such as whole genome sequencing are expected to change the program even more significantly.

The complexity of NBS practice requires professionals to be not merely compliant executers of protocols and guidelines, but to be independent professionals reflecting and deliberating about the best way to act in a variety of circumstances. Drawing on empirical research among newborn screening professionals in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, I will show that it is precisely this professional judgment that forms the basis of good NBS practice and a strong and sound program, but it is also the source of the moral problems that professionals encounter.


Anke Oerlemans is a health scientist and ethicist working at Radboud University Medical Center Nijmegen and Eindhoven University of Technology. Her research focuses on the ethical evaluation of the impact of medical technology. Additionally, she teaches research methodology, medical ethics and philosophy of technology in both Nijmegen and Eindhoven.

Contact: Petra Bruulsema (secretary department of Philosophy):

Upcoming colloquia: Thu, March 2, 2017, 15.45-17.15h, Katja de Vries (VUB)