Fall 2010: Jay Wolfson, DrPH, JD


Thursday, Sept. 30, 2010 at the Center for Tomorrow
Lecture from 2 to 4 p.m. – Reception from 4 to 5:30 p.m.

From Nietzsche to Schiavo: Teaching Intuition to Professionals and the Goldilocks Effect

With the case of Theresa Schiavo as a backdrop, clinical, political and legal decisions in society and the way we train professionals are considered. The principles of hope, cognition and will are discussed relative to the bases upon which we train people to participate in making critical decisions that affect the lives of others. If post-industrial societies bring with them an evolving reduction in personal responsibility, there is a potential for a dynamic of declining standards contrasting increased expectations. The ‘Goldilocks Effect’ is the ‘just right’ acceptable social/political/clinical/legal standard — a moving target. Despite the highly technocratic character of the systems within which we live and work, our efforts to produce professionals for the future who will diagnose, treat, advocate, counsel, interpret and apply the rules require skill sets beyond the technical. Do we, can we, should we address how and to what extent intuition plays into the decisions and practices of the people we are training? And is it possible to teach intuition in order to improve both the process and outcome of decisions like those faced by all of the players in the Schiavo matter?

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Biographical Sketch

Photo of Jay Wolfson.

Jay Wolfson is the Distinguished Service Professor of Public Health and Medicine and the Associate Vice President for Health Law, Policy and Safety at the University of South Florida in Tampa.

He is a leader in Florida's attempt to develop an electronic health network and a member of the governing board of the Health Professions Education Consortium of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. He directs the federally designated Suncoast Center for Patient Safety at USF and is co-director of the Consortium for Law and Medicine for USF and Stetson College of Law. Wolfson became nationally known while serving as guardian ad litem for Terry Schiavo, reporting to the governor and courts.

He holds a doctorate in public health from the University of Texas, a law degree from Stetson, a master's degree in public health from Indiana University, a master's degree in history from New York University and a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Illinois. He was a Senior Fulbright Scholar at the University of Tokyo Medical School, a Faculty Scholar to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a W.K. Kellogg Fellow in health care finance.