Markkula Center of Applied Ethics

Applied Ethics Center at O'Connor Hospital

2105 Forest Avenue
San Jose, CA 95128
(408) 947-2579


The Applied Ethics Center was created in 1994 as a joint effort of O'Connor Hospital and the Santa Clara University's Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. The mission of the Applied Ethics Center at O'Connor is to clarify and enhance the role of ethics in the practice and delivery of health care. More specifically, the Center seeks to:

  • Promote commitment to ethics at O'Connor Hospital

  • Provide ethics education, consultation, and policy review

  • Raise awareness of ethics in clinical decision making

  • Help leaders develop practical decision-making strategies

  • Raise awareness in the community about the ethical dimensions of contemporary medicine


The Applied Ethics Center is engaged in the following activities:

  • Consultation: individual and family consultation to assist health care providers, patients, and families in ethical decision making.

  • Educational Programs: presentations, seminars, workshops, and other programs in health care ethics and business ethics for physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals.

  • Community Forums: presentations on ethical issues in health care for the general public.

  • Research: analysis and study of organizational ethics in health care settings, health care in local Latino communities, and medical decision making for incompetent patients.

  • Web based Resources: articles, case studies, message boards

  • Student "Internship" Program: offers undergraduate students interested in health care at SCU an opportunity to experience "clinical" hours while interacting with healthcare professionals, and gaining lessons in healthcare ethics.

The Applied Ethics Center and the Bioethics Committee

The Bioethics Committee is a medical staff committee at O'Connor Hospital. Through this Committee, O'Connor develops and reviews Hospital guidelines and policies to ensure optimal patient care. Together with the Applied Ethics Center, the Bioethics Committee provides patients, families, and health care professionals with the resources needed for ethical decision making.

The Applied Ethics Center and Santa Clara University

"What makes an action morally right or wrong? What makes a person or a community virtuous?" Santa Clara University's Markkula Center for Applied Ethics has addressed important questions like these since 1986 when it was founded to develop interdisciplinary teaching, research, and community programs in applied ethics. In all of its programs, the Center endeavors to heighten public awareness of emerging issues in ethics and to provide methods for understanding and resolving these issues. Ethical issues in health care have been a special focus of the Center since its founding. The joint venture with O'Connor allows Santa Clara to expand its commitment to this important area.


Margaret McLean, Ph.D.
Director, Applied Ethics Center
O'Connor Hospital