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The UNESCO Casebook on Bioethics and the Holocaust: An International, Humanitarian Perspective - Tessa Chelouche, MD

On Demand Replay: The UNESCO Casebook on Bioethics and the Holocaust: An International, Humanitarian Perspective – Tessa Chelouche, MD


Lecture delivered during Reflecting on the Past to Protect the Future:  A Conference on Medicine, Bioethics and the Holocaust


Thank you for your interest in this on demand activity. Please take a moment to review the program description, learning objectives, accreditation information, and faculty information prior to viewing this activity. You will find the presentation at the bottom of this page.

*To claim credit for participation with this activity, please follow the credit instructions found below.

Program Overview:

The Conference on Medicine, Bioethics, and the Holocaust will focus on important issues in the field of medical knowledge in light of the atrocities perpetrated in the name of “scientific progress” during the Holocaust.  While the participation of the medical and scientific communities in the labeling, persecution, forced sterilization, and mass murder of millions of those deemed “unfit” or racially inferior that took place before and during World War II has been increasingly well documented, there are currently very few programs in the country that teach about the relevance of the Holocaust for modern medical practice and human rights efforts.  The objective of this conference is to reflect upon the medical transgressions of the past in order to protect our future.  Aspects of Nazi medicine that are applicable to currently practicing physicians include:


  1. Questions of equity and access to care: the existence of hierarchies based on race, ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status continue to exist.  In addition, the field of genomics creates a new potential for discrimination and demands that physicians are aware of the dangers of using eugenics as a form of “applied biology.”
  2. During the Holocaust those dedicated to the Hippocratic tenet of healing became killers.  With physician-assisted suicide, euthanasia, and the participation of medical professionals in the death penalty and enhanced interrogation techniques, we must emphasize the importance of the bioethical principles of beneficence and maleficence.
  3. Human subject research is necessary for scientific and medical advancement, however abuses of the ethical codes continue to occur.  Exploring the horrors of Nazi medical experimentation can help to remind physicians of the importance of putting human life ahead of scientific progress.
  4. The convergence of scientific theory, National Socialist policy, and medical practice paved the way for the Holocaust as a unique example of medically sanctioned genocide.  The lessons we have learned can help us reassess an important question:  when does the government have the right to intervene within the field of healthcare to protect its citizens?  How can we find a balance between preserving individual human rights and protecting vulnerable populations?
  5. Most importantly, the Holocaust was not an instance of “medicine going mad,” but rather an example of the necessity of instilling a personal and professional ethos that is centered first on protecting basic human rights and then on science.  Giving medical students and practicing physicians the tools for moral decision making is the single most important way we can protect the practice of medicine, the doctor-patient relationship, and the dignity of all human life.


Target Audience

Physicians, pharmacists, nurses and other health related professionals including students in the undergraduate and graduate programs.


Learning Objectives:

As a result of participation in this activity the learner should be able to:

  • Explain the significance of the Holocaust to modern medical ethics by tracing historical events to actual codes of professional behavior
  • Discuss the history of the Nazi "euthanasia" program
  • Outline how current professional standards have come to protect vulnerable populations.


Gap Analysis

Healthcare professionals make moral decisions determining the protection the patient relationship, and the dignity of human life. Healthcare professionals frequently participate in clinical research and have the need to create a personal and professional ethos that is centered first on protecting basic human rights and then on science. 


Needs Assessment

Healthcare professions need to explore the relevance of the Holocaust for modern medical practice and reflect on medical transgressions of the past in order to protect our future. 


Fee Information

There are no fees for participating in and receiving credit for this activity.


Computer Requirements:

Required Computer Hardware/Software:

Please ensure the computer you plan to use meets the following requirements:

  • Peripherals: Computer speakers or headphones
  • Monitor Screen Resolution: 320 x 480 or higher
  • Media Viewing Requirements: Adobe Reader, Microsoft PowerPoint, Flash Player & HTML5


Accreditation Information

MedEDirect is accredited by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.

Designation Statement

MedEDirect designates this live educational activity for a maximum of 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ or 1.0 CPE credits (UAN # 0498-9999-15-006-H04-P).

Participants should claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Participants must participate in the session and complete an activity evaluation before September 11, 2017. Pharmacists are required to pass the post-test with a minimum score of 70%.



MedEDirect supports recommendations that will promote life long learning through continuing education. The following desirable physician attributes are addressed through this activity:

  • Provide patient-centered care
  • Work in interdisciplinary teams
  • Employ evidence-based practice
  • Apply quality improvement



Tessa Chelouche, MD


Speaker Disclosures

Dr. Chelouche and MedEDirect staff (Thomas Zimmerman, John Zitel and Danielle Amodio) report no conflicts of interest. A copy of MedEDirect’s policy on resolving conflicts of interest can be found at


Faculty Biography

Tessa Chelouche, MD is a family physician and renowned scholar of medical history. Dr. Chelouche has served as co- director and lecturer of a pre-graduate course on "The Study of Medicine and the Holocaust" for medical students at the Rappaport Faculty of Medicine at the Technion Institute in Haifa, Israel for the past 10 years. 


Credit Instructions

To claim credit for participation in this activity, please click the "Proceed to Test" button below.

Physicians & Nurses:  Complete the post test and program evaluation.  Once submitted, you will be able to download your certificate.

Pharmacists: You must pass the test with a score of 70% or higher. Upon passing the post-test you will be led to the program evaluation. Once you have completed the program evaluation, proof of participation will be forwarded to ACPE/NABP.

References and Resources


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