June 10, 2012
UTMB invites public to symposium on circumcisionBy Molly Dannenmaier
GALVESTON — Is male circumcision a medical procedure or a ritual? [Yes. Next!] Why is it important religiously and historically? [Begging the question that it is.] Should it be performed, and if so, how should it be performed? [Suggesting that the answer "No it should not" is not going to get much of a look-in.]
All these issues will be discussed at a symposium Friday by a panel of experts including a medical historian, a Jewish mohel who is also a pediatrician and two physicians with differing views on the ethical questions surrounding the performing of routine infant circumcision.
The symposium “Cutting Edge Debate: Pros, Cons and Contexts of Male Circumcision” will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Moody Gardens Hotel as part of the University of Texas Medical Branch’s 61st Pediatrics by the Gulf annual Pediatric Review and Update. There are a limited number of seats for the circumcision symposium available to the public by preregistration for a fee of $50, which includes a buffet lunch. The deadline to register is Tuesday.
The panel will engage in a multidimensional discussion of the ethical questions raised by circumcision, the wide array of varied views about circumcision and the social and cultural contexts that shape those views. The audience will be invited to participate in the discussion.
Panelist Dr. Max Mintz is both a pediatrician and a Jewish mohel who has performed about 10,000 circumcisions. He will speak to the place of circumcision in the Jewish tradition, the unique features of religious circumcision and his many years of experience performing the brit milah ritual with families throughout in the southwest region. He said he often is contacted by non-Jewish parents actively seeking out a mohel to perform circumcision on their sons. His discussion will include reasons some of these parents have shared with him for seeking a ritual circumcision instead of a purely clinical one.
Panelist Dr. Mike Malloy, a professor of pediatrics who oversees the UTMB Pediatric Residency Training program in circumcision, will provide an overview of current techniques used, types and rates of complication and the evolving, revolving perspectives on circumcision held by the American Academy of Pediatrics. ["Evolving, revolving"? Like how it has been shifting its bottom on the fence?]
Panelist Dr. Juliet McKee is a UTMB assistant professor in Family Medicine with specific interests in complementary and integrative medicine, women’s and children’s health and maternity care. While she continues to provide circumcision counseling, she no longer performs circumcisions. Her talk will address how she came to this decision, her concern for the vulnerability of infant patients and her desire to induct newborns into the world in ways that are intentional and respectful.
Panelist Jason Glenn is an assistant professor at UTMB’s Institute for the Medical Humanities and a historian of medicine. His talk will provide a social and historical framework for thinking about the ritual of circumcision. Dr. Glenn’s talk will provide the larger contexts within which circumcision is performed and debated.
To register for the symposium, contact UTMB’s Marcy Sifuentes at msifuent(at)utmb.edu or 409-772-3396. Registration is required to attend.
[It's a step forward that the question of NOT circumcising is even going to be raised, but with two pro-circumcision panelists and one who "continues to provide circumcision counselling", the dice are going to be loaded towards circumcising. Who there is going to say anything about the functions and value of the foreskin, or speak for men who wish they had not been circumcised, or the double standard involved in allowing the cutting of boys while totally forbidding any cutting of girls? Joseph4GI also blogs about this event.]