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Black, white or green: ‘race’, gender and avatars within the therapeutic space
  1. Mark A Graber1,2,
  2. Abraham D Graber3
  1. 1Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Iowa, USA
  2. 2Department of Family Medicine, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Iowa, USA
  3. 3Department of Philosophy, University of Iowa, Iowa, USA
  1. Correspondence to Mark A Graber, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, 200 Hawkins Drive, 1008 RCP, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA; mark-graber{at}


Personal identity is critical to provider–patient interactions. Patients and doctors tend to self-select, ideally forming therapeutic units that maximise the patients' benefit. Recently, however, ‘reality’ has changed. The internet and virtual worlds such as Second Life ( allow models of identity and provider–patient interactions that go beyond the limits of mainstream personal identity. In this paper some of the ethical implications of virtual patient–provider interactions, especially those that have to do with personal identity, are explored.

  • Medical ethics/bioethics
  • philosophy of medicine/healthcare

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  • Competing interests Neither of the authors have any conflicts of interest or stand to gain financially by the publication of this paper.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.