Events Archive

Past events

Friday, September 18, 2020 - 12:15pm to 1:30pm
Fall 2020 Ethics Grand Rounds: Headshot of Jerome Singh, BA, LLB, LLM, MHSc, PhD
The COVID-19 pandemic is the most serious public health threat the world has faced in the last century. As rich and powerful countries dedicate significant resources to producing efficacious vaccines and treatments for their citizens, billions of people in low and middle income countries risk getting left behind. As COVID-19 is a global pandemic, our response to the pandemic should account for social and economic disparities at national, regional and global levels. Nationalism and exceptionalism will only amplify global health inequities and should be resisted. For this talk, Jerome Singh, BA, LLB, LLM, MHSc, PhD, a professor of clinical public health, will discuss the global health equity issues connected to COVID-19.

Speaker: Jerome Singh, BA, LLB, LLM, MHSc, PhD, Adjunct Professor of Clinical Public Health, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Canada | Professor Singh is also the Director of the Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues (ELSI) Advisory Services on Global Health Research and Development and serves as an ad hoc Consultant to several UN entities, including the WHO, UNAIDS, UNICEF, the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (WHO-TDR), and the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI). He is the Co-Chairperson of the NIH-sponsored HIV Prevention Trial Network’s (HPTN) Ethics Working Group, and a member of the NIH-sponsored HIV Vaccine Trial Network’s (HVTN) Efficacy Trial Working Group. He currently serves on several oversight bodies, including the International Ethics Review Board of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the World Health Organisation’s Ad Hoc Research Ethics Review Committee for COVID-19. 

This is an event of the Office of Academic Clinical Affairs (OACA) hosted by the Center for Bioethics and created in partnership by the following University of Minnesota units: the School of Nursing, the School of Public Health, and the Center for Global Health & Social Responsibility.

Logos: Center for Bioethics; School of Nursing; School of Public Health; Center for Global Health & Social Responsibility; Office of Academic Clinical Affairs

Tuesday, March 31, 2020 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm

Coffman Bookstore | 300 Washington Ave SE | Minneapolis, MN 55455

Photo of Dr. Steve Miles with rescue dog Lin. Dr. Steve Miles recently published: The Torture Doctors: Human Rights Crimes and the Road to Justice

Please note: this event is postponed in light of the University's decision to focus on social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you RSVP, we will follow-up with you regarding the new date when more information is available. 

Around the world, wherever torture is practiced, physicians work with torturers. They devise techniques that do not leave scars, certify prisoners as fit for torture, treat prisoners who are not supposed to die and write false medical records and death certificates to conceal the torture.

Torture doctors are rarely punished by governments or medical licensing boards. Human rights groups are trying to bring them to justice.  Dr. Miles has spent more than a decade researching this topic. There will be short talk about the book, a Q&A and book signings.

Free | Open to the Public | RSVP requested | Books available for sale

Professor emeritus of medicine and bioethics, Steve Miles, MD, latest book reviews physician complicity with torture internationally. The Torture Doctors shows how human rights advocates and non-mainstream medical NGOs are leading the accountability movement through the description of hundreds of cases. It begins with the Nazi Doctor's trial as a promise (rather than an outcome). It examines physician complicity with torture from post-WWII period to the present. Read more about it from the author.

Headshot of Dr. Jon Tilburt
Friday, March 20, 2020 - 12:15pm to 1:30pm

COVID 19 may overwhelm our healthcare system. But healthcare professionals aren’t just stretched during a pandemic. The way healthcare is structured means everyday they are torn, advocating for individual patients while juggling competing demands of a group of patients.They are responsible for healthcare systems and populations, not just individual patients. The way we talk about professional responsibility doesn’t always account for the anguishing challenges many healthcare professionals routinely face. In this Ethics Grand Rounds we addressed this urgent public health crisis and discussed whether the ways we think and talk about professional responsibility reflect these complex challenges not just during a public health crisis but in everyday patient care. 

A traditional ethic of medicine asserts that physicians have special obligations to individual patients with whom they have a clinical relationship. Professionalism requires that physicians uphold the best interests of patients while simultaneously insuring just use of health care resources. Yet contemporary trends in US healthcare financing like bundled payments seem to threaten traditional conceptions of special obligations of individual physicians to individual patients; their population-based focus sets a tone emphasizing responsibilities of physicians working within organizations to groups of patients served by those organizations. Likewise, while, population health has the potential to improve patient care and health outcomes for individual patients, specific population health activities may not be in every patient's best interest in every circumstance. This can create ethical tensions for individual physicians and other health care professionals practicing within health systems with population health strategies.

Dr. Tilburt shared his remarks from the perspective of a practicing physician and engage the audience on the potential implications of the issues he raises for other healthcare professionals and interprofessional teams. This was an event of the Office of Academic Clinical Affairs (OACA) hosted by the Center for Bioethics.

Speaker: Dr. Tilburt is a professor of medicine and biomedical ethics at Mayo Clinic where he has been on staff since 2007. He trained in philosophy, internal medicine, and health services research. He studies and writes about ethics and professionalism while conducting grant-funded research on communication and decision making in healthcare delivery. He’s inspired by a desire to recover and reinvent human connection in industrialized healthcare, striving to insure care is meaningful and fitting. 

Research Ethics Week logo
Friday, March 6, 2020 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm

Research Ethics Week is an annual week-long series of college and department-led educational opportunities focused on professional development and best practices to promote, maintain, and model high standards of ethics and integrity in research. The Human Research Protection Program's Education Advisory Group and Center for Bioethics are hosting:

Informed Consent: Navigating Best Practices

This advanced session included a review and evaluation of the top consent findings in recent audits by the Quality Assurance Program and an interactive discussion of three scenarios related to the informed consent conversation. Perspectives from a diverse panel were shared. 


  • Jill Cordes, Director, Fairview Research Administration
  • Debra DeBruin, PhD, Interim Director, Center for Bioethics
  • Elizabeth Duffy, MPH, CCRC, Clinical Research Coordinator, Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare
  • Amanda Galster, MPH, Clinical Research Program Director, Children’s Health, Dept. of Pediatrics
  • Megan Hoffman, MA, Workforce Development Program Manager, Clinical and Translational Science Institute
  • Courtney Jarboe, MS MA CIP, Assistant Director-Education & Outreach, Human Research Protection Program
  • Susanna Kennedy, Senior Quality Analyst, Quality Assurance Program
  • Abbey Staugaitis, RN, MSN, Clinical Research Coordinator, SIREN and StrokeNet RCC Project Manager, Department of Emergency Medicine

Contact: with questions.

Friday, February 7, 2020 - 12:15pm
Headshot of Prof. Sarah Gollust, PhD Watch 

Most American women are not aware that routine mammograms can lead to overdiagnosis and overtreatment of breast cancer. Dr. Gollust presents findings from a 2019 survey assessing women's attitudes about breast cancer screening and their response to various messages about the potential for overdiagnosis. She discusses the ethical, political, and communication challenges related to balancing competing evidence-based recommendations amid a complex, politically-charged information environment.

This is an event of the Office of Academic Clinical Affairs (OACA) hosted by the Center for Bioethics and created in partnership by the following University of Minnesota units: the Masonic Cancer Center, the Division of Health Policy & Management in the School of Public Health, the Hubbard School of Journalism & Mass Communication, and the Women's Health Research Program

Speaker: Sarah Gollust, PhD, Associate Professor of Health Policy & Management at the University of Minnesota's School of Public Health, Affiliate Faculty, Center for Bioethics
Friday, November 22, 2019 - 12:15pm to 1:30pm
Headshot of Thaddeus Pope

Each year, 44,000 Minnesotans die. Nearly one-fourth die from cancer. Many of these patients want to control the timing and manner of their death. Today, terminally ill patients have several “exit options” in Minnesota. But they generally do not have access to medical aid in dying (MAID). This may be changing. Across the country, access to MAID has been in a rapid state of flux. Ten years ago, MAID was available in only two U.S. jurisdictions. Today, it is available in ten. This presentation reviews the history, status, and prevalence of MAID in the United States. It also summarizes ten new points of ethical debate over whether traditional eligibility requirements and safeguards are too permissive or too restrictive.

Speaker: Thaddeus Pope, JD, PhD, Director, Health Law Institute, Mitchell - Hamline School of Law; Affiliate Faculty Member, Center for Bioethics, University of Minnesota. Learn more about Professor Pope here.


Image with the words: Center for Bioethics, University of Minnesota Ethics Grand Rounds with a black icon three people and a healthcare plus sign above them
Friday, October 11, 2019 - 12:00pm to 1:15pm
When delivery of an extremely premature baby is anticipated at 22 to 24 weeks of gestation, the standard of care is for a specialist in Neonatology to consult with families to determine family-centered goals of care to best determine whether to provide intensive resuscitation or comfort measures only for the baby at time of birth.  Research demonstrates highly variable apporaches to counseling practices across institutions.  This talk will highlight existing knowledge regarding shared decision-making in this setting.  Further, it will describe a qualitative study aimed at understanding the mechanics and substance of these consultations in order to develop more effective strategies for individualized and family-centered decision-making. 

Speaker: Chris Collura, MD, MA, Neonatology, Pediatric Palliative Care, Bioethics, Mayo Clinic Children’s Center


Headshot of Deb DeBruin, PhD
Wednesday, September 25, 2019 - 6:30pm to 8:00pm

Infectious disease epidemics, natural disasters and terrorist attacks can overwhelm existing public health and healthcare systems. These crises raise a complicated array of ethical issues, from rationing scarce resources to protecting vulnerable community members to providing appropriate supports to health professionals. As part of a national effort, health departments and health care organizations are tasked with developing plans to enable them to respond appropriately to these types of crises. A critical part of that planning effort is the development of guidance for managing the ethical challenges that arise in these emergencies. This presentation provides background on public health crisis planning, describes the need for ethics guidance, discusses the fundamental ethical values that should guide crisis planning and response; and identifies some ways to implement ethical guidance in the challenging context of mass casualty incidents.

Speaker: Debra DeBruin, PhD

Headshot of Ed Ratner, MD
Wednesday, September 18, 2019 - 6:30pm to 8:00pm


Discussions of bioethics typically focus on care in the hospital, while ethical conflicts occur in all settings.  For families and community-based organizations, there are frequent ethical conflicts in home-based health care.  These include: whether a frail or disabled person can return or remain at home, whether driving or other activities should be permitted and who is responsible for providing needed care.  This presentation offers some basic principles and approaches to ethical issues in home care.  Those attending will be asked to discuss a number of actual cases. This seminar is useful to families providing elder care and health care professionals in all settings.

Speaker: Edward Ratner, MD

Image with the words: Center for Bioethics, University of Minnesota Ethics Grand Rounds with a black icon of the vitruvian man
Tuesday, September 17, 2019 - 12:15pm to 1:30pm

Researcher, ethicist, and public health advocate Amos Laar, PhD connects the dots between HIV and the social, cultural, ethical and human rights issues systemically integrated with the disease in Ghana. For his MA, Laar's completed a masters' thesis in 2014 on ethically appropriate responses to HIV in Ghana. Laar was recently featured in the Lancet's Diabetes and Endocrinology journal for his nutrition work on regulating unhealthy foods in Ghana. This talk brings a social public health perspective to Ghana’s national response to HIV with a focus on how these variables contribute to HIV transmission as well as disease and implementation outcomes. Laar is a native of Ghana with academic training in Nutrition, Public Health as well as an MA in Bioethics from the University of Minnesota.  This event was co-sponsored by the Center for Global Health and Social Responsibility and the School of Public Health

Speaker: Amos Laar, MA, Senior Lecturer, University of Ghana