Managing Hope in Stem Cells Workshop


Date & Time 30 May 2017, 10:30 AM - 2:00 PM
Venue Board Room @ Kenneth Myer Building
Level 5, 30 Royal Parade, Parkville


This workshop will be co-hosted by Chronic Illness Alliance (CIA), Stem Cells Australia and The University of Melbourne and involve representatives from key health foundations, including those with illness, to better understand how each group currently addresses the issue of 'hope' in medical research more broadly, and stem cell research in particular.  The workshop will  be a facilitated conversation, with bioethicist provide an opportunity for those who are routinely asked for advice about 'stem cell' treatment how they approach the challenge of maintaining 'realistic' hope - an issue previously identified as key challenge.  

As unproven stem cell treatments are being offered to many illness groups, this workshop will help staff from foundations that so far have had no enquiries to be prepared.

The forum will aim to engage and facilitate dialogue between consumers, CEOs and client service staff and other stakeholders (bioethicists, stem cell scientists, social scientists) about the benefits, challenges and limitations of effectively supporting different patient communities using current approaches.



Tuesday 30 May 2017

10.30 am - 2.00 pm


  • Welcome: Christine Walker, Chronic Illness Alliance
  • Presentations:
  • Questions
  • Workshopping the issues
    • Workshopping the issues
    • What are the issues for clients; for health professionals?
    • Successful strategies to maintain hope and provide evidence-based information
    • Resources and strategies that assist foundations' work with clients
  • Questions
  • Lunch


Introducing our speakers:

Dr Christopher Scott

Dr. Scott is a senior faculty and Associate Director of Health Policy at the Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the Baylor College of Medicine, Texas. He received his BA in biology and biopsychology from the University of Colorado (Boulder), his MLA in ethics and policy from Stanford University, and his PhD from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. His research uses qualitative and quantitative approaches to study the ethical, legal, social, and policy implications of emerging biotechnologies and clinical medicine. Dr. Scott is an emeritus faculty and senior research scholar at the Stanford University Center for Bioethics and past Director of the Stanford Program on Stem Cells in Society. While in California, Dr Scott first introduced the concept of the 'stem cell' counsellor as part of the Alpha Clinic model at the Californian Institute of Regenerative Medicine. More recently Dr Scott has been involved in developing a new graduate program in genetic counselling and advocating for a subspecialty in cell therapies at the Baylor College of Medicine.

Mr Rodney Harris

Rodney Harris is the CEO of MND Victoria.  He has previously been a Board Member and Chair of the International Alliance of ALS/MND Associations, as well as Board positions with NDS, Palliative Care Victoria, Palliative Care Australia and is currently on the Board of Brainlink Services and Balwyn Evergreen Centre. Since commencing with MND Victoria 23 years ago, he has experienced the hope and despair of thousands of people seeking a treatment or cure for this rotten disease.  Their hope and despair has hardened his views about purveyors of false hope and their abuse of despairing and desperate people.  At the same time, he believes that if people fighting MND wish to pursue alternative treatments then they should be allowed to do so.  However, he encourages, supports and undertakes efforts to make information and resources available to ensure that people can make informed and considered choices and decisions.