Sneha Anmalsetty, a Penn State senior majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology (BMB) and minoring in bioethics and medical humanities (BMH), is the 2020 winner of the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities (ASBH) Student Paper Competition.
Ms. Anmalsetty’s paper, entitled “The Plight of Intravenous Drug Users: Is It Unethical to Provide Addiction Patients Multiple Heart Valve Transplants for Infective Endocarditis on the Basis of Medical Futility?,” emphasizes the social justice concerns that are often neglected when treatment is denied to patients addicted to opioids. The paper was Ms. Anmalsetty’s Honors Option in “Medical and Health Care Ethics,” an elective toward the 18-hour BMH minor and Schreyer Honors College requirements.
“Every person will likely experience an injustice within the American health care system,” Ms. Anmalsetty said. “However, as an aspiring physician, I believe it is the duty of a physician to be an active advocate for their patient’s dignity and well-being. The support of my mentor, Professor Mekel, was instrumental in thinking about the systemic challenges that face marginalized patients and questioning conventional beliefs.”
As part of her award, Ms. Anmalsetty will participate in the annual ASBH conference in the fall.
“As my student and mentee, I could not be more proud of Ms. Anmalsetty in terms of her academic curiosity and her achievements,” said Michele Mekel, assistant director of the PSU Bioethics Program. “The way that she grabbed a hold of this controversial topic, dug into the research, grappled with the ethical issues, and made it her own demonstrates the kind of initiative that makes her an outstanding BMH student and Honors student here at Penn State, and will make her a force—for good—to reckoned with in the world.”
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