Health care professionals gather to talk ethics, digital media

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COLUMBIA - Current and future health care professionals gathered in Columbia to talk about ethics and digital media on Friday.

It's part of the MU Center for Health Ethics' annual conference. The theme of the this year's conference is "story."

Co-director of the center and occupational therapist Lea Brandt said the goal was "to talk about the use of story to influence and the ethics of that, when it's good and when it can be destructive or harmful, and looking at both sides of that."

The Center for Health Ethics teamed with DigiHealth, which Brandt said is digital storytelling and health media. 

"This year in particular we're looking at the ethical implications for the use of digital context in conveying health information," Brandt said.

The conference includes sessions such as "Social Media Ethics Consultation Cases" and "Using Stories to Teach Learners About Stigma." The sessions started on Thursday and will continue through Saturday morning.

New to this years' conference, the center partnered with the Missouri School of Journalism, inviting journalism students to participate.

"We have this very multidisciplinary group that are looking at these very complex issues. To make it more interesting we also have media students," Brandt said. 

Overall, Brandt said, every years' conference has the same goal. 

"It's to educate future health care professionals. It's to educate our current health care professionals, to give them tools to be able to navigate difficult health care situations and to be able to network and dialogue and create a community around these conversations so that we can better understand each others' perspective," she said.

The center serves the University of Missouri Health System as well as the rest of the state. It focuses on teaching and consulting in the field of clinical ethics.