Ethics and Health

Lessons beyond Normalizing Recognition

Healthy or sick - who says so? Normal or not - who determines that? Self-determined life and ageing - what does that mean? Medical and technically feasible - what is allowed and fair?

In the course of the two-year-project ethics&health students, teachers and scholars have addressed these issues. Using different approaches, interdisciplinary exchange and the inclusion of people with disabilities they have delivered exciting results, such as bachelor and master theses about ethically relevant issues, an ethical guideline for development projects at technical schools, interdisciplinary research and numerous teaching and learning materials.

In today's technologically advanced and globalized world, in which all areas of life are being analysed in detail and optimized, health has become a hotly contested commodity. Scientific and medical research and practice work to prevent disabilities, prolong life and design the custom-made body. The focus on technological equipment and economic aspects eclipse the social perspectives of health and disease as well as issues of dependency and vulnerability. This leads to growing inequality, a narrowed perspective on human aspects, and limits the scope for action. 

Students are confronted with these developments in different ways. As individuals, as someone dealing with the health system, or as someone who is interested in a career in research, medicine, nursing, or technology development. The participants looked at how bioethical issues should be discussed in the classroom in order to encourage young people to join the debate, and suggested standards for school-materials to enable a critical awareness and responsible practice.

As part of the project ITA organized an Academy Day, where the students of all three partner schools could discuss questions around ethics with researchers from ITA.

The WalkAssist, developed by students of the HTL Mistelbach, is a support tool for people with visual disability. A sensor recognises obstacles, a light emitting diode alerts users.