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Capital District Humanist Society

The Capital District Humanist Society provides a supportive community for exchanging ideas, heightening our knowledge of the world and ourselves, fostering moral and ethical growth, and promoting the principles of secular humanism.

CDHS is a member organization for individuals who share humanist values and who reside in the Capital District region of New York State and neighboring areas. Our values include commitment to free inquiry, rational thought, life-long education, democracy, social concern, and fellowship.

The Society provides various activities including monthly speakers, socials, book discussions, and a newsletter.

The Capital District Humanist Society presents:



Michael C. Brannigan, Ph.D.:

 Ghost Surgery

Though a misnomer, “ghost surgery” referred to those earlier, and fortunately past, instances when another person (usually a surgical resident or intern) performed your surgery rather than your surgeon, unbeknownst to you. Though this is no longer practiced, iterations in a different guise still occur in teaching hospitals under the rubric of so-called “concurrent surgery,” when a surgeon schedules two or more procedures concurrently and usually without the patient’s prior knowledge. Upon reviewing recent cases, I will examine the more prominent ethical issues, particularly those regarding the meaning and process of informed consent. We will also highlight the critical role of communication and language in healthcare settings and decision-making.

Recently appointed Dean of Spiritual Life at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York, Michael C. Brannigan (Ph.D., Philosophy, M.A., Religious Studies, University of Leuven, Belgium) also holds the George and Jane Pfaff Endowed Chair in Ethics and Moral Values, the college’s first endowed chair. Along with adjunct positions at the Alden March Bioethics Institute, Albany Medical College and St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry, he focuses on intercultural ethics, medical ethics, and Asian philosophy. He continues to speak nationally and internationally, more recently on issues related to “Ghost Surgery,” for instance at the NY Perinatal Nursing conference in Manhasset, Long Island. Along with numerous articles, his books include: The Pulse of Wisdom: The Philosophies of India, China, and Japan; Healthcare Ethics in a Diverse Society; Ethical Issues in Human Cloning, ed.; Cross-Cultural Biotechnology, ed.; Ethics Across Cultures; Striking a Balance: A Primer on Traditional Asian Values; Cultural Fault Lines in Healthcare: Reflections on Cultural Competency. As to his newly published Japan’s March 2011 Disaster and Moral Grit: Our Inescapable In-between, he has had over 18 national radio interviews on the Japan 2011 disaster. He serves on the editorial boards of Health Care Analysis: An International Journal of Health Care Philosophy and Policy and Communication and Medicine.

He writes a monthly column on ethics for the Albany, New York, Times Union newspaper; see: For fun, he plays piano, ocean kayaks, and practices martial arts.


Sunday, April 9th, 2017


  • Refreshments 12:30; Program 1:15 p.m.
  • Room 224, Campus Center, Sage Colleges Albany Campus
  • New Scotland Ave. at Academy Road, Albany
  • Admission: Free.

  • The Public is Cordially Invited to Attend!

Presented by The Capital District Humanist Society

Details and directions: 518.533.2666, or our directions page

Monthly meetings

CDHS meets on the second Sunday of each month in Room 224 of the Campus Center at the Albany campus of the Sage Colleges, at New Scotland Avenue and Academy Road.

We gather at 12:30 pm. Program starts at 1:15. Light refreshments are provided.

Click here for directions.

Click here for the upcoming meeting.


Other Activities

In addition to monthly speaker presentations, we hold monthly social events, and sponsor a reading group, and a discussion group.

CDHS Meetup Page!

We encourage all CDHS members to go to our new MEETUP page:
-and click on "JOIN". Not only can you get up to the minute postings of events posted to the page, but if you join the meetup, you will be emailed any announcements or schedule changes as they occur. You will then NOT have to go to the meetup page to find out about the latest changes, they will be automatically emailed to you. If you need more information, please contact Fred Levine.


CDHS is affiliated with the three major humanist organizations:



Members and subscribers receive our publication, The Humanist Monthly. If you are interested in more information about CDHS, give us your name and email address, and we will send a sample copy or two with no obligation.

Contact us for further information at: webmaster (at) humanistsociety (dot) org

Send website comments to: webmaster (at) humanistsociety (dot) org