Christopher R. Blagg Endowed Lecturer Bernard Lo to Discuss Conflict Management at Public Policy Forum

Bernard Lo


Bernard Lo, MD, will present the 8th Christopher R. Blagg Endowed Lecture on “How to Identify and Manage Conflicts,” during the Public Policy Forum, “Conflicts of Interest in Medicine.” The forum will be held from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 29.

Dr. Lo is a professor of medicine and director of the Program in Medical Ethics at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and National Program Director of the Greenwall Faculty Scholars Program in Bioethics.

From stem cells to end-of-life care, Dr. Lo’s work touches on many of today’s hot button issues in clinical medical ethics.

During the lecture, Dr. Lo will present recommendations from a report by an Institute of Medicine panel he chaired on conflicts of interest in medicine. The panel considered how to manage conflicts of interest in medical research and education, in patient care, and in development of practice guidelines. He will discuss the reasoning behind the report’s recommendations and the conceptual model of conflicts of interest that the panel adopted.

Dr. Lo and his research group have conducted extensive research on ethical issues in stem cells. He has analyzed consent to donate materials for derivation of new stem cell lines, oversight of stem cell research, use of stem cell lines derived at other institutions, and ethical issues in stem cell clinical trials. As co-chair of the Standards Working Group of the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine, Dr. Lo also recommends regulations for stem cell research funded by the state of California.

Regarding dilemmas in end-of-life care, Dr. Lo recommended guidelines for palliative sedation in terminally ill patients and for improving attention to the spiritual aspects of palliative care. His empirical studies of actual discussions among doctors, patients, and families about decisions near the end of life led to suggestions for improving these conversations. Dr. Lo has also studied the impact of the Internet on the doctor-patient relationship.

Through his work with health policy research, Dr. Lo has made recommendations on federal health privacy regulations and responses to public health emergencies, including allocation of ventilators during an influenza pandemic.

Improving ethics education is a top priority for Dr. Lo. More than 100 postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty take his course on Responsible Conduct of Research at UCSF each year. Content from the course comprises the textbook “Ethical Issues in Clinical Research.” For many years, he directed teaching of clinical ethics to medical students, and his book “Resolving Ethical Dilemmas: A Guide for Clinicians” now is in its fourth edition.

Dr. Lo is a member of the Institute of Medicine, was elected to serve on its council, and served as chair of the Board of Health Sciences Policy. He was the UCSF Distinguished Clinical Lecturer in 2009 for his research achievements. Dr. Lo received his medical degree from Stanford University School of Medicine and completed his residency at the University of California, Los Angeles, and at Stanford University. He finished his fellowship at the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program at Stanford University.