Speaker, Author and Professor
of Ethics, Intercultural Ethics,
Medical Ethics & Asian Philosophy

Current Research

To offer a glimpse at my current research, here are three topics that I continue to pursue with heartfelt passion. I illustrate two of them with brief excerpts from my columns in The Albany Times Union.

Addressing Screen Addiction

“I see signs of it nearly everywhere: nomophobia, short for ‘no-mobile-phobia,’ or the dread of being without our mobile phones. It’s a chronic condition clearly on the rise, hatching a nefarious behavioral addiction, one that quietly erodes our will while we suffer the illusion of control… Are we becoming screen addicts? … With all the bait out there, anyone of us can be hooked, particularly now in a society seemingly unhinged and out of control…

We’ve somehow climbed into our screens, and many of us are lost. With more than 2 billion Facebook users and a billion on Instagram, we feel an astounding surge in enticements that seize our attention. Can we nurture precious moments and places to be screen-free? “ (Times Union, Nov. 29, 2018)

Cross Cultural Communication

Trying to understand different cultures is in my DNA, being born in Japan and having a Japanese mother and Irish-American father. This interest has played out throughout my life in working with patients from numerous cultures. From these patients, and from personally affected by major disasters – for example 1) Japan’s devastating 3/11/11 triple horror of earthquake-tsunami-nuclear disaster, Japan’s worst calamity since Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and, 2) those families of victims of the terrible July 2011 shooting massacre at a youth camp outside of Oslo, Norway – I learned lessons of life and what matters. Especially important is the degree to which we can communicate with and learn from different cultures. What is most important to them? How do they view death and dying? How do they view the future? What are their fears? Their hopes? They remain my teachers. Their lessons are indelible.

I feel especially pulled in this direction – to more closely examine the connections between culture, community, and response to personal and social trauma. There is no more important calling than to address and help soothe, in our own small ways, others’ suffering. The philosopher Epicurus’ counsel regarding the worth of philosophy rings true: “Philosophy that does not address suffering cannot afford to call itself by that name.”

Issues in Informed Consent: Concurrent Surgery

“…concurrent surgery occurs when the same surgeon juggles two (or more) surgeries on different patients in different rooms during a significantly overlapping time period, usually within minutes of each other. It is more often practiced in orthopedic, cardiac, and vascular procedures… However, there remains no legal requirement that your surgeon, one you’ve carefully vetted, inform you of his or her involvement in any overlapping procedures…

Not informing you of this patently breaches genuine informed consent, constituting a betrayal of trust within an institution that, at least in principle, represents healing.” (Times Union, July 26, 2018)