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Professional Virtues in Modern Medicine Conference

Scarman House, University of Warwick, 2 November 2018

Following last year’s highly successful workshop on Professional Vices in Modern Medicine, this event will focus on the professional virtues that are especially relevant to the practice of medicine. Sir James Howie, former President of the British Medical Association, once observed that his teachers had laid before him ‘not a mere catalogue of medical facts and opinions, but a daily demonstration of the importance of medical virtues in action’. For Howie, it is worth going into what these virtues are not because the medical profession has lost them but because we need to know them better in order to cultivate them.

This workshop will bring together a distinguished group of doctors and philosophers to reflect on what the medical virtues might be, why they are important, and how they can be cultivated. Particular attention will be paid to the possibility that generalist medical care has its own distinctive virtues. These can only be understood given a satisfactory understanding of the nature and purpose of generalist care, as distinct from specialist care.

As well as talks by invited speakers, this event will also feature a GP Roundtable, to which workshop participants who are also GPs will be invited to contribute. The aim of the roundtable will be to develop a deeper understanding of what makes a professionally virtuous and effective GP.


10.00 am - Chris Dowrick (Professor of Primary Medical Care, University of Liverpool) - 'Practices and Moral Communities: [GPs] or [GP and patient]?'
10.50 am - Quassim Cassam (Professor of Philosophy, University of Warwick) - 'Professional Virtues, Institutional Vices'.
11.40 am Coffee
11.55 am - Joanne Reeve (Professor of Primary Care Research, Hull York Medical School and Demian Whiting (Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, Hull York Medical School) - 'Generalist Virtues?'
12.40 pm Lunch at Scarman House
1.30 pm - Sam Gallivan (Orthopaedic Surgeon and post-CCT Fellow) - 'Who put the trust in "Entrustable"?'
2.30 pm - Iona Heath (Past President, RCGP) - 'The Missing Person'.
3.30 pm - Coffee
3.35 pm - Sabena Jameel (Associate Dean GP Education, Health Education England) - 'Enacted Phronesis (Practical Wisdom) in General Practitioners Study - early reflections'
4.15 pm - GP Roundtable introduced and chaired by Kamila Hawthorne (Vice Chair, Professional Development, RCGP).
5.00 pm Conference ends

The event, which is funded by a grant from Warwick Ventures, will run from 10 am to 5 pm, with registration from 9.30 am. There is no registration fee but space is limited. Lunch will be provided. To book a place please email the organiser Quassim Cassam on