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About the Department of Bioethics and Humanities

Welcome to the Department of Bioethics and Humanities. The primary strength of the department is its rich, talented, interdisciplinary nature, which is a function of the faculty.  Capitalizing on this strength and expanding the visibility of the department has emerged as a key goal for us. 

The Department provides academic education and professional training in bioethics and humanities through an MA in Bioethics; an undergraduate Minor in Bioethics and Humanities; curricula in clinical ethics and professionalism for medical students, residents, and fellows; and sponsored continuing education activities for practicing health care professionals.

Welcome to new faculty

We welcome two new faculty effective January 1, 2013. 

Jamie L. Shirley, PhD RN joins us as Adjunct Lecturer. Jamie’s primary appointment is with the Nursing Program at UW Bothell.  Jamie is a valued guest lecturer and student mentor. Jamie also serves as a member of the UWMC Ethics Consult Service.  We’re proud to recognize her contributions via this faculty appointment. 

Maile Taualii, PhD MPH joins the department as Affiliate Assistant Professor. Her primary appointment is at the University of Hawaii in the John A. Burns School of Medicine.  Maile’s research focusses on indigenous health and public health genetics and she is a long-term collaborator with our Center for Genomics and Healthcare Equality.  We are honored to have Maile as a new member of our faculty.


Wylie Burke receives IOM Health Sciences Policy Appointment

Professor and Chair Wylie burke has been appointed to a three-year term on the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Board on Health Sciences Policy. Dr. Burke was elected a member of IOM in 2007 and currently co-chairs IOM's Roundtable on Translation of Genomic-based Research for Health.

Tom Gallagher receives MITSS Hope Award

We are proud to announce that Dr. Thomas Gallagher, Associate Professor of Medicine and Bioethics & Humanities, was selected to receive the 2012 MITSS Hope Award. This award from Medically Induced Trauma Support Services (MITSS) recognizes an individual who exemplifies the MITSS mission to support healing and restore hope to patients, families, and clinicians impacted by adverse medical events. Congratulations to Tom on this well-earned recognition.

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Summer Seminar Faculty

Al Jonsen at Summer SeminarDrs. McCormick, Dudzinski, Jonsen, and WinsladeSummer Seminar faculty and staffDo-Directors McCormick and Dudzinski

Professor Emeritus Al Jonsen was celebrated during the 25th Year of the Summer Seminar in Healthcare Ethics, a program he originated during his tenure as department Chair.  Thank you for your many enduring contributions to the department Professor Jonsen!

Kelly Edwards, Bioethics, Appointed Graduate School’s Acting Associate Dean

The UW Graduate School proudly announces that Dr. Kelly Edwards, from the Department of Bioethics in the UW School of Medicine, has been appointed acting associate dean for the 2012–13 academic year. Dr. Edwards will direct the Graduate School’s professional development programs, a series of offerings that assist graduate and professional students to translate their education into professional success.

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Kelly Edwards receives 2012 LASER award for science education advocacy

Kelly EdwardsKelly Edwards, UW associate professor of bioethics and humanities, has been selected a 2012 Science Education Advocate Award Recipient by the Washington State Leadership and Assistance for Science Education Reform (LASER). The award recognizes outstanding individuals, organizations, or project teams who have exhibited exceptional support and advocacy for science education in the state of Washington.

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Archived News


Bioethics listserv

Are you interested in receiving information about bioethics events, lectures, discussions, and news of interest? Click here to subscribe to our bioethics listserv.

Departmental News

Bioethics Grand Rounds

Our next Grand Rounds in early 2013 will be announced here and sent to the bioethics listserv


Biomedical Research Integrity Program

We would like to acknowledge our 2012 BRI Discussion Group Leaders.  These wonderful folks volunteered their time to lead the 91 UW BRI discussion groups this summer and we are so grateful.  We truly could not offer this program without their support.

Bill Atkins, Karin Bornfeldt, Mary Campbell, Carlos Catalano, Charles Chavkin, David Dichek, Denise Dudzinski, Kelly Edwards, Stuart Farber, Laurie Ford, Thomas Gallagher, Gino Gianola, Dana Gold, Max Hunter, Rose James, Nancy Jecker, Diane Korngiebel, Carol Landis, Adrian KC Lee, Sheila Lukehart, Dustin Maly, Anna Mastroianni, Michael McDonell, Dana Miller, Michelle Montgomery, Jeff Munson, Jennifer Nemhauser, Paula Nurius, Marilyn Parsons, David Perkel, Maria Razumova, Blaine Reeder, Annemarie Relyea-Chew, Marge Sedensky, Jane Simoni, Ronald Stenkamp, Bruce Tempel, Mark Tonelli, Jessie Turnbull, Wes Van Voorhis, Lynne Werner, Ben Wilfond, Joe Zunt

Recent Faculty Publications

Hot off the press by Wylie Burke, Kelly A. Edwards, Sara Goering, Suzanne Holland and Susan Brown Trinidad!

BookAchieving Justice in Genomic Translation:
Re-Thinking the Pathway to Benefit

This book explores implicit choices made by researchers, policy makers, and funders regarding who benefits from society's investment in health research. The authors focused specifically on genetic research and examine whether such research tends to reduce or exacerbate existing health disparities. Using case examples to illustrate the issues, the authors trace the path of genetics research from discovery, through development and delivery, to health outcomes. Topics include breast cancer screening and treatment, autism research, pharmacogenetics, prenatal testing, newborn screening, and youth suicide prevention. Each chapter emphasizes the societal context of genetic research and illustrates how science might change if attention were paid to the needs of marginalized populations.

"The Disclosure Dilemma — Large-Scale Adverse Events" was published this month in The New England Journal of Medicine. The paper was a joint effort from University of Washington faculty Denise M. Dudzinski, PhD, Mary Beth Foglia, RN, PhD, and Thomas H. Gallagher, MD, and Philip C. Hébert, MD, PhD from the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, University of Toronto.


Have you seen the online American Medical Association's Journal of Ethics? It is a great resource for ethical issues, case studies, ethics polls, and podcasts.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization has launched a project titled Global Ethics Observatory. It is a world-wide network of databases in bioethics and in other areas of applied ethics including lists of experts in the field of ethics, ethics institutions, ethics teaching programs, and a database of legislation, guidelines and regulations relating to ethics.

Open Spaces: Views from the Northwest is a quarterly magazine for voices from the Northwest that speak with knowledge and insight to issues affecting people in every region. It is created in Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon. Open Spaces offers perceptive articles as well as thought provoking stories, essays and poetry on many subjects including medicine, politics, publishing, culture, law, science, music, business, art, education, health, sleep, food, travel and gardening.

"The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks"

Dr. Kelly Edwards, Dr. Malia Fullerton, and Sue Trinidad have developed a discussion guide for use with Rebecca Skloot's book "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks". Click here to download the guide.




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