About Us

The Center for Bioethics helps students, professionals, policy makers, and the public confront and understand ethical issues in health, health care, new biomedical technologies, the environment, and the life sciences. We teach, publish, and help create policy through our outreach. We also offer programming that includes public engagement as part of our commitment to respond to issues and concerns important not just to the academic community but to communities within the Twin Cities and beyond.

Center for Bioethics banner picture of campus

The Center for Bioethics is part of the Office of Academic Clinical Affairs. The Center is housed near the banks of the Mississippi River on the sprawling University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus.  Established in 1985, the Center is a nationally prominent, yet locally focused, resource that conducts important research and provides educational programs and services to help students, professionals, policy makers, and the public confront the complex ethical issues emerging in health care and the life sciences. The University of Minnesota, the state legislature, and a progressive health-care oriented community have helped make the Center one of the most respected and highly visible bioethics programs in the country.  Faculty from the schools of medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, nursing, public health, law, and the College of Liberal Arts have developed a curriculum that is theoretical and applied; focused and broad.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Center is to advance understanding concerning ethical issues in biomedical research, health care and the life sciences, with a focus on the rights and interests of patients, research participants, and the public.  The Center carries out this mission by conducting original interdisciplinary research and scholarship, offering educational programs and courses, fostering public discussion and debate, and assisting in the formulation of public policy. The Center provides education in bioethics for University students, faculty, and staff; professionals in health care and related fields; and interested members of the general public.

What we do

Research and Scholarship 

Technological advances in health care and biotechnology are generating complex new ethical issues. The Center conducts both theoretical and practical research to provide scholars and the public with the information and understanding to confront these issues. Research and scholarship efforts include:

  • Comprehensive research on ethical issues in genetic testing and counseling, reproductive technologies, organ transplantation, end-of-life care, managed care, long term care, research ethics, and professional ethics
  • Publication of books, book chapters, and articles in professional journals
  • Spearheading the University's initiative to provide courses in research ethics for students, faculty, and administrators involved in research

Innovative Education 

The Center provides a broad range of educational programs and services that meet the needs of University faculty, staff, undergraduate and graduate students, and professionals in health care and related fields nationwide. Programs include:

  • MA program with a major in bioetihcs
  • Bioethics courses for students and professionals throughout the University
  • Graduate Minor in Bioethics
  • Short courses and workshops for health care and legal professionals
  • Ethics Grand Rounds series featuring noted scholars on a wide variety of ethical issues in health care and the life sciences
  • Joint Degree Program in Law, Health & the Life Sciences

Public Policy 

Policymakers look to the Center for advice and guidance on integrating bioethics into the policy-making process. The Center's faculty and associates:

  • Provide advice to policy makers at the state and national levels
  • Serve on state and national public policy committees (e.g. Presidential and Congressional task forces)
  • Convene expert panels to address current bioethics issues

Community Engagement & Public Service 

Throughout its history, the Center has been recognized for its effort to bring bioethics to the attention of the public through offerings such as:

  • Conferences and lectures
  • Appearances on television, radio, and in print media
  • Responses to media inquiries
  • Speaker Request - Request a speaker from the Center for Bioethics