Consortium Introduction

The Consortium conducts original research, serves students and faculty, and advances public dialogue and understanding on emerging issues at the intersection of science and society.

Latest News

Law School Dean Garry Jenkins

New Dean Wants to Reclaim Leadership for Lawyers

August 22, 2016

In an interview in Minnesota Lawyer, the new dean of the University of Minnesota Law School, Garry Jenkins, acknowledges he needs to spend time listening and getting to know students, faculty, and administrators. Having only been in Minnesota for two weeks, a learning curve is inevitable. However, Jenkins brings a rich and diverse background to the job, having worked as an attorney with the New York law firm of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, as chief operating officer and general counsel of the Goldman Sachs Foundation, and most recently, as associate dean for academic affairs at Ohio State University's law school. His breadth of experience will serve him well as he manages changes in legal education and launches new academic programs. Beyond those core areas, Dean Jenkins has another item on his agenda: teaching lawyers leadership skills. According to Jenkins, "We all have the capacity to be leaders and I would love to see the graduates of the state’s flagship law school be a critically important source of leadership in this country. . . . It’s a field that we have ceded to business schools and to me that never felt right." Read the entire interview here.

African American soldier in Vietnam -era uniform

The Hidden Social Costs of an Unequal Military

August 19, 2016

A new paper by Douglas L. Kriner of Boston University and Francis X. Shen, a Consortium affilate faculty member and professor at the University of Minnesota Law School, takes an empirical look at the results of socioeconomic disparities in military service. In "Invisible Inequality: The Two Americas of Military Sacrifice," the authors analyze large existing data sets, including 500,000 American combat casualties over the past 70 years, which reveal that "today, unlike in World War II, the Americans who die or are wounded in war are disproportionately coming from poorer parts of the country." The authors also conducted original surveys of public opinion "to uncover a variety of social, legal, and political consequences of this inequality" and why it is "routinely overlooked by scholars, policymakers, and the public." Read a PDF of the article here.

Sean Sherman, American Indian chef

Focus on American Indian Food and Nutrition

August 18, 2016

A group of chefs and scholars that has been working for decades to restore Native American food traditions is experiencing new momentum. One of them is Sean Sherman, who draws from the indigenous cuisine of Midwestern tribes like the Lakota and Ojibwe, precolonial food cultures that were supported by sophisticated trade routes and intra-tribal cultural exchanges. Mr. Sherman plans to expand his catering business, Sioux Chef, to include a restaurant in Minneapolis that will not only feature Native American foods and bring jobs to the local community, but also serve as a driver for American Indian-owned food businesses like those he uses to supply walleye and wild rice. Want to learn more? On Sept. 26-27, the First Annual Conference on Native American Nutrition will be held in Prior Lake, Minnesota. The event is cosponsored by Consortium member center Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, and will bring together tribal officials, researchers, practitioners, and others to discuss the current state of knowledge about Native nutrition and food science. Register here.

Donald Trump

The Ethics of Diagnosing Trump from Afar

August 16, 2016

The current election cycle is raising challenging questions about the role of psychiatric diagnosis in public debate, one reminiscent of arguments during the 1964 candidacy of Barry Goldwater. According to the New York Times, "In the midst of a deeply divisive presidential campaign, more than 1,000 psychiatrists declared the Republican candidate unfit for the office, citing severe personality defects, including paranoia, a grandiose manner and a Godlike self-image. . . . After losing in a landslide, the candidate sued the publisher of Fact magazine, which had published the survey, winning $75,000 in damages. But doctors attacked the survey, too, for its unsupported clinical language and obvious partisanship." In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association adopted what is commonly known as the Goldwater Rule, which "prohibits psychiatrists from offering opinions on someone they have not personally evaluated." However, some mental health workers feel Donald Trump and his ideology are so dangerous they're ethically required to speak out, pointing out the aspects of his behavior they find concerning: racism, manipulation, narcissism, hypermasculinity and an inability to deal appropriately with anger. Despite the Goldwater Rule, a manifesto written by University of Minnesota psychology professor William Doherty has been signed by 2,200 mental health professionals; Prof. Doherty says he believes the current election is exceptional, noting "What we have here is a threat to democracy itself." Read the complete article here

Graphic for 16-17 events
The Consortium will be presenting a fascinating series of events during the coming academic year. Mark your calendar!  


Deinard Lecture on Law and Medicine

How Patients are Creating Medicine’s Future: From Citizen Science to Precision Medicine 
Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016 | 11:30-1:30 | Coffman Union Theater | Free and open to the public

  • Ernesto Ramirez, PhD, Quantified Self Labs
  • Prof. Barbara Evans, PhD, JD, LLM, University of Houston Law Center
  • Prof. Kingshuk Sinha, PhD, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota
  • Prof. Jason Bobe, MSc, Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine

Spring Lecture Series: Emerging Diseases in a Changing Environment

Free and open to the public

The Changing Ecology of Infectious Diseases
Prof. Andrew P. Dobson, DPhil
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University
Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017 | 11:30-1:30 | Mississippi Room, Coffman Union

Ending the Pandemic Era: Science at the Animal-Human-Environmental Interface
Prof. Jonna Mazet, DVM, MPVM, PhD
School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis
Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017 | 11:30-1:30 | Mississippi Room, Coffman Union

Policy and Preparedness for Emerging Diseases

Julie Gerberding, MD, MPH 
Former director, Centers for Disease Control; Executive Vice President, Merck
Thursday, April 13, 2017 | 11:30-1:30 | Mississippi Room, Coffman Union


Healthy Foods Summit 2016

Food, Microbes, and Health
Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016 | 8:00-5:30 | Commons Hotel, Minneapolis
The Minnesota Response: Working For and Against the Microbes in our Food System
Friday, Oct. 28, 2016 | 8:30-4:00 | Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Chaska

Frontier Issues in Research Ethics

Day 1: National Conference
The Future of Informed Consent: A Century of Law, Ethics, and Innovation
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 | 8:30-5 | Coffman Union Theater
Registration fee: $50 ($35 students) | Scholarships are available: email

Day 2: Annual Research Ethics Day
Free and open to the public
The Challenges of Informed Consent Panel
Thursday, March 9, 2017 | 8:30-5 | Coffman Union Theater

Research Ethics Trainings and Workshops
Thursday, March 9, 2017 | 1:30-3 | Various locations