WMA´s perspectives on ethics and person centered medicine

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Jon Snaedal


The World Medical Association (WMA), an association of 9 million doctors worldwide, has been their leading body in medical ethics. The most respected policy of the WMA is the Declaration of Helsinki on research involving human subjects. Another one is the Lisbon Declaration on the rights of patients and the Association is currently processing its views on Person Centered Medicine. It has been decided to produce a white paper, describing the various terms that exist on person centeredness in health care. These terms differ in content and use but as their naming is similar, confusion on their meaning easily arises. The WMA needs to balance the views of associations from all corners of the world and the correct use of language and terms is of great importance. Based on this work, a clear policy document on Person Centered Medicine will be produced. Apart from this, person centeredness has been influencing various policies of the WMA for a long time but the actual terms used differ and the term “patient” is still the most prevalent in the various policy documents when addressing the persons physicians are serving on an individual basis. 

Article Details

Regular Articles
Author Biography

Jon Snaedal, Geriatric Department Landspitali University Hospital Reykjavik

Born in 1950 in Iceland, Jon Snaedal received his medical degree from the Medical Faculty, University of Iceland in 1976. He specialized in internal medicine and geriatrics in Sweden during 1979 –1984. He has worked as a specialist in Geriatric Medicine, National University Hospital in Reykjavik, Iceland 1984-1997 and since then he has been the head of the Psychogeriatric Clinic, including the Memory Clinic at the same hospital. Since 2014 he is Professor in Geriatric Medicine. He has done research in the fields of geriatrics and dementia, specially Alzheimer´s disease, and is the author and coauthor of many papers on that subject in Icelandic and International medical literature. He was the vice president of the Icelandic Medical Association 1996-2004, the chair of the Nordic Medical Council 2003-2005 and a member of the Council of the World Medical Association 2001-2005. During 2003-2005 he was the chair of the Medical Ethics Committee of the WMA. In 2006 he was elected President of the WMA for the period 2007-2008. He is now an honorary member of the Icelandic Medical Association.He is married to Gudrun Karlsdottir RN and they have altogether seven children. 


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