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Lecturer Emeritus

Office: A-204 Health Sciences Building
Phone: (206) 616-1820
Email: mccormic@u.washington.edu

Dr. Thomas R. McCormick joined the faculty at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine in 1974 to develop the medical school’s first program in medical ethics.  Since that time, he has taught a variety of elective courses in bioethics and was responsible for the early development of ethics in the medical school core curriculum at the Seattle campus and all of our WWAMI sites.  Dr. McCormick is currently an ethics consultant to Harborview Medical Center and a founding member of the ethics committee. In previous years he has served as ethics consultant to the NICU, the In Vitro Fertilization Project, and the cardiac transplant service at UWMC.  Dr. McCormick also served as Director of Counseling for the UWSOM from 1985-2001.  He is currently at 40% time at the UW, and in winter quarter, serves as adjunct professor in bioethics at the School of Medicine, Midwestern University, Glendale Branch, Glendale, Arizona.

Dr. McCormick received his Doctoral degree in Ethics from Southern Methodist University, Dallas Texas.  In 1972-73 he was a postdoctoral fellow in medical ethics at the Texas Medical Center, Houston, Texas.  In 1980, Spring quarter, he was a postdoctoral fellow in clinical ethics at the University of Tennessee Medical Center, Memphis, Tennessee.

Recent Publications:

McCormick has authored a number of articles in the field of medical ethics.

  • Gamou, S., McCormick, T.R., "Death with Dignity Act in Washington State"   Seimei-Rinri: Journal of the Japan Association for Bioethics, the official journal of the Japanese Association for Bioethics. June, 2010
  • McCormick, T.R. “Ethical conflicts in caring for patients with cochlear implants”  Journal of Otology and Neurotology  May 24, 2010
  • Ai, A.L, McCormick, T.R. “Increasing Diversity of Americans’ Faiths alongside Baby Boomers’ Aging:
    Implications for Chaplain Intervention in Health Settings”  Journal of Health Care Chaplaincy pp. 24-41;  Volume 16, Numbers 1-2/January-June, 2010
  • McCormick, T.R.  “Ethical Issues Inherent to Jehovah’s Witnesses”  Perioperative Nursing Clinics, Vol. 3, Number 3,  253-259. Elsevier, Saunders, 2008
  • McCormick, T.R. & Woodrum, D. “When A Baby Suffers in Vain” in  Complex Ethics Consultations: Cases that Haunt Us,  Ed. Ford, P.J. & Dudzinski, D.M.  Cambridge University Press, 2008

Recent Talks:

Dr. McCormick has lectured widely in the United States and also in Canada, Italy, Germany, Japan and Taiwan.  He is a member of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities (ASBH).  His community service includes advisory work and consultation for Cancer Lifeline, Hospice of Seattle, Horizon House, The Everett Clinic Ethics Committee, and the Women’s Bioethics Project in Seattle. For the past six years, McCormick has organized and taught a short course in bioethics for groups of Japanese medical students visiting from Hyogo University, Osaka, Japan.

McCormick’s current research interests include an examination of transcultural aspects in ethical decision making, including cultural variances in the relationship between patients and health care providers.  Dr. McCormick is also interested in improving the quality of education in “death and dying” for medical students and served on the National Task Force investigating ways to improve death education in US medical schools, representing the UW on a grant from the Greenwall Foundation managed by Choice in Dying.  The Task Force Report was published as “Goals and Strategies for Teaching Death and Dying in Medical Schools.”  Journal of Palliative Medicine, Volume 3, Number 1, Spring 2000.  He is also interested in spiritual resources that patients bring to the healing enterprise.

  • Washington State Hospice Conference, Chelan, Washington, Summer, 2010.
    Dr. McCormick gave the keynote lecture: “When Duty and Conscience Collide: integrating hospice care after the passage of Washington’s Death with Dignity Act.”
  • Fiftieth Year Celebration of the Samaritan Center, Seattle, Washington, Fall, 2010
    Dr. McCormick’s lecture: “How Then Shall We Live---Knowing We Will Die?”
  • Annual Meeting of the American Gerontological Society, May, 2010, Orlando, Florida, Dr. McCormick lectured and moderated a symposium on “Ethical and Spiritual Issues in End of Life Care.”
  • Maricopa County Medical Center, OB Grand Rounds, Phoenix, Arizona, Spring, 2010
    Dr. McCormick spoke on “Ethical Conflicts in Difficult Cases in OB practice”

Awards, Honors and Grants Received:

  • Dr. Ramsey, Dean of the UW School of Medicine, awarded Dr. McCormick the “Outstanding CME Director” for 2008 for his work as Co-Director with Dr. Dudzinski of the annual Summer Bioethics Seminar, sponsored by the Dept. of Bioethics & Humanities.

    Dr. McCormick was honored by the Campus Ministry Board at the UW when they inaugurated a named lectureship, “The McCormick Lectureship in Science & Religion” in honor of his work in the field of bioethics.

  • Northwest Christian University, Eugene, Oregon awarded an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree, May 5, 2007 in recognition of McCormick’s contributions through the field of bioethics.


  • BH 511, P-Medical Ethics
  • BH 523, Biomedical Ethics
  • BH 512, P-The Human Face of Medicine
  • BH 518, Spirituality in Medicine
  • GEBE 537 Ethical Challenges of Modern Medicine: A Case Study Approach (Midwestern University, W/S


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