Recent Publications

Walter JK, Burke JF, Davis MM. 2013. Research participation by low-income and racial/ethnic minority groups: how payment may change the balance. Clin Transl Sci. 2013 Oct;6(5):363-71.

Schmidt, H., Voigt, K., Emanuel, E. 2013. The Ethics of Not Hiring Smokers. N Engl J Med 2013; 368:1369-1371. Abstract

Barnhill, A. 2012. Clinical Use of Placebos: Still the Physician's Prerogative? Hastings Center Report 42, no. 3 (2012): 29-37. Abstract

Emanuel, E, et al. A systemic approach to containing health care spending. New England Journal of Medicine. 2012 Sep 6;367(10):949-54. Full Text

Feudtner C, Morrison W. The darkening veil of "do everything." Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2012; 166(8):694-5.

Fiester, A. 2012. Mediation and Advocacy. American Journal of Bioethics, 12(8): 10-20. Preview

Halpern SD. Shaping End-of-Life Care: Behavioral Economics and Advance Directives. Semin Respir Crit Care Med. 2012 Aug;33(4):393-400. Abstract

Schmidt, H. & Callier, S. 2012. How anonymous is ‘anonymous’? Some suggestions towards a coherent universal coding system for genetic samples. J Med Ethics. Online First


The Department serves as the hub for interdisciplinary research and collaboration on topics across four areas in medical ethics: research ethics, neuro- and mental healthcare ethics, global bioethics, and the ethics of resource allocation. On the health policy side, our research follows three tracks: reducing low-value services; economic and health impacts of policies, such as smoking cessation and workplace wellness; and implementation sciences, with specific effort towards replicating effective programs in the healthcare delivery system.

Health Policy

Department faculty are engaged in research projects related to the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (ACA), wellness incentives, the economic impact of mental illness, gene patenting, and the political dimensions of healthcare and biotechnology.  Several faculty members serve as health policy advisors for federal, state, and international bodies. 

Behavioral Economics and Health

Department faculty apply concepts from the field of behavioral economics to design, implement, and evaluate interventions that improve health and build knowledge about efficacy, cost, and effectiveness. Our faculty have received funding from several institutes within the National Institutes of Health, a variety of corporate partners, and foundations.


Neuroethics addresses a wide range of ethical and philosopical questions involving the mind and the brain. From ethical concerns about brain enhancement, memory dampening, or thought reading to clinical-ethical issues related to mental illness and neurodegenerative disease, neuroethics research is at the forefront of important biomedical ethics scholarship. Our faculty are leading the way.


Department faculty are engaged in a number of diverse projects related to the ethical dimensions of biomedical research.   Their research, teaching, and policy work continue to influence the conduct of biomedical research.  


Our faculty are actively addressing ethical issues related to internatlonal biomedical research, healthcare delivery in the developing world, and comparative healthcare policy.  Our faculty serve as advisors to international NGOs, goverment bodies, and multi-governmental organizations.


Incredibly challenging ethical questions emerge from the fact that there exist virtually unlimited healthcare needs but only limited resources to meet those needs.  Questions range from how to fairly allocate scarce organs to responsible protocols for the adminstration of limited supplies of vaccines in case of a pandemic.  Department faculty are working to develop solutions to many of these questions.