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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.

The Department of Bioethics & Humanities is committed to excellence in teaching, scholarship, and community service.  Integral to this commitment is promoting diversity and making our programs attractive to traditionally under-represented individuals.

Our faculty represent diverse scholarly disciplines, including medicine, genetics, philosophy, health services, religious studies, education, pathology, history, and other areas.  We partner with faculty from the schools of medicine, law, nursing, pharmacy, public health, social work and the college of arts and sciences. Faculty publications explore a wide range of areas, including the ethical, legal and social implications of genetics and genomic research; community-based participatory research; social justice and access to health care; social inequalities in health and health disparities; medical error;  and palliative and end of life care.
Our graduate students bring training and experience from a variety of fields, including medicine, law, nursing, social work, physician assistant studies, dentistry, and other areas. 

Faculty News

It is with great sadness that we share news of the death of our colleague  and Adjunct Professor Stuart J Farber.  Dr. Farber’s primary appointment was in Family Medicine and has had a long affiliation with Bioethics and Humanities.  He has been a renowned leader in the area of palliative care, initiating both education and clinical programs within UW Medicine.    Stu and his wife Annalu Farber founded an initiative to create an endowed professorship in palliative care education within the School of Medicine. See details here.  Stu will be greatly missed.

Read about Adjunct Professor Doug Diekema’s perspective on childhood vaccination policy in Washington state in this article by Brian Donohue in the Health Sciences NewsBeat.

Faculty Wylie Burke, Denise Dudzinski, Nancy Jecker, Tom McCormick and adjuncts Mark Sullivan, Mark Tonelli, Ben Wilfond, and Doug Diekema have been featured in a series of artilces "Bioethics Q&A series: Facing today's dilemmas" by Brian Donohue in the Health Sciences NewsBeat.


Congratulations to Professor Wylie Burke who received the 2014 Niehaus Southworth Weissenbach Award in Clinical Cancer Genetics from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.  The award "recognizes leaders in the translation of germ line genetics to preventive care of cancer patients and families"



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.

Faculty/Chair Search

We are pleased to announce that Dean Ramsey appointed Denise Dudzinski, PhD, MTS, as the new Chair of the Department of Bioethics & Humanities. We offer congratuations to Denise and look forward to her leadership.

charles w. bodemer lecture

May 4, 2015,
3:30‐4:30 pm
Health Sciences Center, T625
Reception to follow

Speaker:  Dr. Kathleen E. Powderly

"Is respecting patient autonomy enough, or must we promote autonomy as well?"

“Abortion in NYC before Roe v. Wade:
Lessons from the Archives”

We welcome and encourage  everyone to  attend.

Click here for flyer

Summer Seminar 2015

The Summer Seminar in Health Care Ethics is scheduled for the full week of August each year. The dates for 2015 will be August 3rd-7th.

Please visit our Summer Seminar page for more information.

"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.


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.

SOM Curriculum Renewal

The faculty in Bioethics & Humanities are pleased to be participating in the ongoing School of Medicine Curriculum Renewal process for the MD program. During the Visioning Phase, 2011-July 2012, our then Chair Wylie Burke chaired the Vision Committee which was tasked with defining the guiding principles for the renewal process.  During  the Steering Phase (October 2012  - April 2013),  B&H faculty served on several committees:  Dr. Burke chaired the Governance Committee and served on the Steering Committee,  Erika Blacksher served on the Health Equity Committee, and Kelly Edwards chaired and Denise Dudzinski was a member of the Ethics and Professionalism Committee. During the current Design phase, Dr. Burke continues to Chair the Governance Committee and serve on the Steering Committee and Kelly Edwards serves on the newly formed Integrated Themes Committee. Denise Dudzinski now co-directs the Ethics and Professionalism curriculum design.


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© 2014, Department of Bioethics & Humanities, University of Washington. Email comments or questions to Webmaster. This page last updated April 15, 2015 .