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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Bioethics

The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics explores ethical issues in biology.

What is Bioethics?

by Margaret McLean, senior scholar of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Bioethics involves a reflective, careful examination of issues that arise in biology and medicine, such as end-of-life decision making, DIY biology, biohacking, genetic testing, and the new possibilities of gene editing. It spans a large range of activities that may occur in garages or in laboratories.

Commentary on Bioethics

A woman receiving a vaccine shot from a nurse

Vaccination and mask mandates will push us all to be our better selves—to protect ourselves and others from the health, economic, and social consequences of unchecked pandemic.

Two features of AI/ML in clinical decision making raise important ethical and legal questions about how to assign responsibility for medical decisions.

The debate over whether health care is a right or a privilege comes down to how much burden society is willing to accept in order to provide health care to those who lack it. There may be a compromise.

Catholic bishops in the United States are split about the morality of using a COVID-19 vaccine.

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    Ethics in Healthcare Blog: Perspectives from Healthcare Ethics Interns.

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    Non-validated practices should be justified as long as all ethical circumstances pertaining to the patient are being strongly considered through a robust framework centered on the patient's best interest.

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    A bigger push for advocating for mental health support should be encouraged from inside the youth community itself to help normalize and support other youths in need of mental health services.

    A savior sibling has been shown to be life-saving in the best of circumstances, but it is also important to acknowledge the potential harm it could cause.

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    While there is great potential in the use of AI-driven health care, its use must be strongly and effectively governed, with close technical and ethical oversight.

      Bioethics Materials

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      Browse curated bioethics pieces on subjects such as end-of-life care, clinical ethics, pandemics, and culturally competent care.


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      Dive deep into real-life examples of vulnerable patient populations, organ transplantation, and other topics in bioethics.


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      Hear what our staff and fellows are saying about neurotechnology, current events, and more.


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      Explore the in-depth guides our staff have organized to model Catholic health care policies, MRSA risk assessment ethics, and beyond.


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      Health Disparities and COVID - 19

      Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the African American community and other marginalized groups have been disproportionately impacted by the negative effects of the pandemic in a number of ways. View 2020-21 Hackworth Fellow Amanda Liddell's project on the subject below.

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      Culturally Competent Care

      Many patients from non-majority ethnicities and/or cultures frequently experience misunderstanding, mistreatment, or marginalization in clinical health care settings. See our compiled resources for health care that is sensitive to the differing values and needs of cultural groups within our diverse society.

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      End-of-Life Care with Alzheimer’s Disease

      What ethical issues arise when terminal neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer's prevent individuals from making medical decisions? This material explores answers to such questions and ethical considerations for end-of-life care with Alzheimer's Disease.

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