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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics


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.

Ethics in Healthcare Blog: Perspectives from Healthcare Ethics Interns

Though Hawai‘i is often described as paradise and set the benchmark for the most affordable health care in the nation, its health care system has been in crisis well before COVID-19 and the Lahaina fires.

Man in orange uniform standing beside gray metal gate. Photo by RDNE Stock project/Pexels

For those currently incarcerated, those with a history of incarceration, and their families and communities, incarceration leaves a lasting effect on health and well-being.

Organ transplantation medical professional in a rush, following a strict procedure with an organ transplant case. Microgen_Adobe Stock_Organ Harvesting

China has a long and concerning history of forced organ harvesting which is a clear social justice issue and a severe violation of patient autonomy. Citizens, political leaders, and international committees all play an essential role in ending this practice.

Quran with stethoscope. Concepts of medication and healthcare. shahrilkhmdAdobe Stock

For Muslims living in the United States, determining when a patient has passed on, is not quite as straightforward as ticking a few boxes.

2023 Health Care Ethics Symposium

Symposium held Monday, June 5, 2023 with presentations by the 2022-23 Health Care Ethics Interns from the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University. 

Access Symposium Recording on YouTube

Student Programs

Looking for an internship? Apply to be a Health Care Ethics Intern, or continue exceptional work as the Honzel Fellow.

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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.

Bioethics Materials
magazines and newspapers laying on a table

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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Media Commentary
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Ann Skeet, senior director, leadership ethics, quoted by Bloomberg.

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Dorothée Caminiti, director, bioethics, featured on the Fixing Healthcare Podcast.

Kirk Hanson, Ethics Center senior fellow, quoted by Wall Street Journal.

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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