A list of upcoming events and conferences on a variety of bioethics issues. Events are sourced from leading bioethics centers and forums across the country as well as internationally.


The True Role of Autonomy in Medicine

September 20, 2022

12:15 PM Central Time, Virtual

"Respect for patient autonomy is not as simple as doing what patients say they want. As clinicians, we also have an obligation to use our skill for the benefit of patients, to not cause harm, & to care for all of our patients in ways that are consistent with the interests of everyone in the community. Balancing these moral commitments is an important part of ethical practice, and an important part of balancing these commitments is a practical understanding of what we mean by autonomy. This session reviews the origins, meaning, & limitations of the concept of autonomy, & provides practical guidance for how to resolve potential conflicts between patient autonomy & other moral commitments. Speaker: Joel Wu, JD, MPH, MA, HEC-C."

Celebrating Christine Mitchell (HMS Bioethics)

September 22, 2022

2 PM Eastern Time, Virtual

"Christine Mitchell will be retiring from her position as Executive Director at the Center for Bioethics. Join us for a symposium followed by a reception to celebrate all she has accomplished in the field of bioethics. The main events will be in-person with some portions live-streamed and recorded. More information will be sent to registrants."

Not Equivalent, But Better: Human Rights and Health Care Behind Bars in the Time of COVID

September 23, 2022

12:15 PM Central Time, Virtual

"Presenter: Dr. Brendan Saloner. The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the lack of resources & oversight that hinders medical care for incarcerated people in the United States. The US Supreme Court has held that “deliberate indifference” to “serious medical needs” violates the Constitution. But this legal standard does not assure the consistent provision of health care services. This leads the US to fall behind European nations that define universal standards of care grounded in principles of human rights & the ideal of equivalence that incarcerated & non-incarcerated people are entitled to the same health care. Drawing on a normative analysis & empirical research, this talk describes an incremental strategy based on expanding Medicaid into correctional facilities & improving comprehensive oversight that would move closer to the normative ideal without resolving many of the thorny problems of correctional health care."

Restoring Trust in the FDA

September 29, 2022

12:30 PM Eastern Time, Virtual

The Greenwall Foundation will host a live webcast panel, “Restoring Trust in the FDA,” on Thursday, September 29, 2022, at 12:30pm. Award-winning journalist Adam Feuerstein, senior writer for STAT News, will join members of the Greenwall Faculty Scholars community in a discussion on the evolving nature of trust in our public health institutions. The panel will delve into recent issues and controversies surrounding the FDA, such as the agency’s approval of the Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm, the role of advisory committees, tobacco regulation, COVID-19 vaccine approvals, and more. This discussion will also explore what is needed to restore trust in the FDA. Participating in the panel are leading bioethics scholars who have been front and center on issues involving the FDA: Jason Karlawish, MD, Professor of Medicine, Medical Ethics and Health Policy, and Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania; Aaron Kesselheim, MD, JD, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School; Holly Fernandez Lynch, JD, Assistant Professor of Medical Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania; and Keith Wailoo, PhD, Henry Putnam University Professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University."

Ethical and Regulatory Considerations in Xenotransplantation Clinical Trials: Patient Selection, Equity in Access, and Wait Listing

September 29, 2022

2 PM Eastern Time, Virtual

"The webinar aims to provide participants with the ethical, regulatory, and psychosocial context to address the following questions: What strategies should be used to minimize clinical trial investigators’ conflict of interest in recruiting patients into xenotransplant clinical trials? How should potential participants be notified about the option of participating in a xenotransplant clinic trial? What are appropriate patient-provided reasons for participating in a xenotransplant clinical trial? What constitutes equitable access to participating in xenotransplantation clinical trials? How can the transplant community ensure equitable access to xenotransplantation clinical trials? What kinds of novel psychosocial experiences will pig xenotransplant recipients encounter post-transplant? What are the optimal ways for the transplant team, particularly, transplant social workers and psychologists, to counsel recipients on their experiences? Should xenotransplant recipients of a failed xenotransplant graft receive priority for a human deceased donor organ? Is there any concern for zoonotic infections with repeat immunosuppression induction? Should any extra priority be given because they contributed to the advancement of scientific knowledge?"

How I Became Disabled

October 6, 2022

10:30 AM Eastern Time, Virtual

"Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, Hastings Center senior advisor and fellow, will be speaking on “How I Became Disabled” at The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) and The State University of New York at Buffalo Center for Disability Studies two-day symposium entitled, “Irreducible Subjects: Disability and Genomics in the Past, Present and Future.”"

The Case for Health Care Reparations

October 21, 2022

12:15 PM Central Time, Virtual

"Camisha Russell, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Oregon and a Co-Editor of Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy. In this talk, Dr. Russell draws on Olefumi Taiwo’s constructive view of reparations to argue that US healthcare systems must be rebuilt in the name of racial justice. Dr. Russell will discuss the accumulations of advantage and disadvantage that characterize current US healthcare systems and their relationship to past harms and the US racial hierarchy. Dr. Russell will also consider the relationship of healthcare-based reparations to contemporary calls for racial justice like the “Black Lives Matter” movement."

Distrust and Disparities in Healthcare: Unraveling the Complexity

November 9, 2022

4 PM Eastern Time, Virtual

"The discussion will focus on the topic of Distrust and Disparities in Healthcare: Unraveling the Complexity."


Precision Medicine Annual Conference

The New "Normal"?

September 20, 2022; In-person at Boston, MA, Harvard's Joseph B. Martin Conference Center

"This year our annual conference will focus on novel applications as well as long-standing challenges of genetic testing, a measurement modality central to precision medicine.* While the clinical applications of genetic testing have broadened from a single gene focus to increasingly available whole genome sequencing and genome-wide risk scores, there remains much confusion around the appropriate evidentiary standards for their use in clinical practice and in R&D. This conference will provide a platform to discuss foundational questions such as the nature of “normal” genetic variation in the context of both established forms of testing and cutting-edge technology. To achieve these goals, we will convene expert scientists from academia and industry who are developing new applications and technologies of genetic testing as well as laboratory directors and individuals responsible for guidelines on variant interpretation. We will frame these discussions around how best to improve precision medicine for all populations. As we have done in years past, we will center on elevating the patient voice and building patient engagement."

Western Michigan University Medical Humanities Conference

12th Annual Conference

September 22-23, 2022; Undecided if In-person or Virtual

"This annual conference considers perspectives on the intersection of the humanities and health, including patient narratives, the history of medicine and healthcare, biomedical ethics, spirituality, arts, and literature. Due to an evolving situation regarding COVID-19, we are currently unsure whether the conference will be held physically, virtually, or hybridized. The call for abstracts is now available; abstracts are due by June 1, 2022."

American Society for Bioethics and Humanities (ASBH) Conference

Reimagining and Claiming the Role of Public Bioethics and Health Humanities

October 26–29, 2022; In-person at Portland, OR

"ASBH’s 24th Annual Conference examines the role of bioethics and the health humanities in understanding some of our most pressing public controversies and concerns. It will critically explore the transformations that bioethics and the health humanities have undergone in both their evolution as fields and their engagement with the public as highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The conference will address critical questions such as: How can we reckon with past failings and rebuild trust among diverse communities? How might the public face of bioethics continue to shift over the coming years? How can we recognize the connections between bioethics and the health humanities, and use these intersections to propel us toward solutions to pressing public problems?"

American Society of Human Genetics

October 25-29, 2022; In-person at Los Angeles, CA

From 2021: "The ASHG 2021 Virtual Meeting will bring the global human genetics and genomics research community together for multiple days of cutting-edge science across all areas of human genetics."

Annual Dorothy J. MacLean Conference on Clinical Medical Ethics

Annually held in November each year

From 2021: "This year's MacLean Center conference will bring together 40 of the most innovative and respected clinicians in the field of Clinical Medical Ethics. Most of our speakers will be physician-ethicists and they will include Drs. Peter Angelos, Megan Applewhite, Marshall Chin, Farr Curlin, Richard Gunderman, Jason Karlawish, Eric Kodish, John Lantos, Alvin Moss, Monica Peek, Preston Reynolds, Laura Roberts, Selwyn Rogers, Lainie Ross, David Schiedermayer, Peter A. Singer, Giuliano Testa, Susan Tolle, Alexia Torke, Peter Ubel, and 20 additional outstanding clinical ethics scholars. The exceptional lectures will address the following topics: the Covid-19 pandemic, health policy and health disparities, surgical ethics, ethical issues in end-of-life care, pediatrics and family ethics, clinical ethics decision-making and, of course, the field of Clinical Medical Ethics."

Annual Pediatric Bioethics Conference

Annually held in November each year

From 2021: "Wolfson Children’s Hospital, in partnership with the Florida Bioethics Network, presents the 14th Annual Pediatric Bioethics Conference. This year it will be a virtual conference with talks on pressing issues by experts in the field and will serve as fertile ground for the development and clarification of best practices in pediatric bioethics."

Reproductive Ethics Conference

Seventh Annual Conference

January 12-13, 2023, In-person at Galveston, TX

"The controversies and challenges of reproductive ethics arise from new technologies, political and ideological divisions, theology, and changing cultural norms. The goal of this conference is to explore the range of topics addressed in reproductive ethics. We welcome individuals from all professional fields to create a rich and robust discussion."

National Nursing Ethics Conference

Ethical Reflection: Finding Our Way Forward

Annually held in March each year

From 2022: "The challenges nurses face today are monumental. They arise from the many expectations that come from patients and families, the institutions in which we work, and our professional identity within society. The reckoning with the global pandemic has highlighted the challenges we face including: our work environments, systemic racism, and disparities in healthcare. Recognizing and honoring what feels broken, we need to make space for meaning and healing, to consider a bigger picture and to imagine what is possible as we move ahead. One path is through moral agency – reflecting on perceptions of right and wrong, giving voice to ethical issues, and taking steps forward. Integrating our Code of Ethics for Nurses, the new Nursing Scope and Standards of Practice, and the latest Future of Nursing Report, we acknowledge the need for an expanded discussion of ethics which embraces our roles in caring, advocacy, and promoting respect, equity, inclusion, and social justice. This conference will build ethics knowledge and skills; foster support for others in our ethical practice; address collective responses to the challenges at hand; and encourage engagement with our colleagues, institutions, and communities. In our pursuits to learn more, we honor our commitment to take care of not only our patients, but one another. "

Advances in Precision Medicine: Genomic Innovation and Precision Medicine: Reading, Imaging, Editing, and Writing the Genome

Annually held in March each year; Virtual & In-person at Columbia University

From 2022: "A virtual attendance option will be provided to registrants. A key objective of the conference is to provide an up-to-date perspective on the impact of genomic technologies on understanding the functional consequences of disease-associated DNA sequence variation on cellular and organismic function. For example, technologies that simultaneously interrogate RNA transcription, chromatin modification and chromosome structure in individual cells (multi-omics) are making it possible to probe deeply into the functional consequences of DNA sequence variation that associates with disease (at single cell, and single molecule, and atomic resolution). International leaders in the development and application of these technologies will come together to discuss progress and challenges."

Arizona Bioethics Network 10th Annual Conference

Making Space: Ethics and Neurodiversity

Postponed to Spring 2023

"The presenters will be examining “Making Space: Ethics and Neurodiversity.” This includes a historical look at the place of neurodiversity in medicine, the ethics in the diagnosis, treatment, search for genetic cause, and how the search for treatment may make parents or patients vulnerable to ineffective treatments."

Asia-Pacific Bioethics Education Network 2022 Online Conference

Annually held in May each year; Virtual

From 2022: "The Asia Pacific Bioethics Education Network (APBEN) is holding its fourth annual conference wholly online between 21st and 22nd May 2022. The conference will be co-hosted by the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Asian Medical Student Association Monash Malaysia (AMSA Monash Malaysia). Our 2022 theme - The New Norm of Professionalism, Bioethics and Beyond - recognizes the emerging challenges pose to the teaching and practice of Professionalism and Bioethics. We look forward to a collaborative environment where educators and healthcare practitioners come together to initiate and engage in discussions that lead to new ideas and research."

Harvard Medical School Annual Bioethics Conference

Biotechnology and the Future of Medicine

Not held in 2022; usually held in June.

From 2021: "The practice of medicine over the course of the last fifty years has changed dramatically. Novel technological developments will continue to generate new discoveries, therapies, and patient outcomes. Recent advances in intertwined areas, such as stem cell-based bioengineering, organoid technology, low-cost personal genome sequencing, machine learning, and human genome editing have the potential to create more effective, personalized medical treatments. But as we progress toward this biotechnologically-driven medical future, we must consider how ethical values can shape these advancements and vice versa. This online conference will examine how ethics interacts with biotechnology in medicine, and consider multiple approaches to how we might ensure that biotechnology continues to evolve ethically and for the benefit of all."

Harvard Surgical Ethics Conference

June 6-27, 2022, Virtual

From 2022: "The Center for Bioethics at Harvard Medical School is pleased to offer a virtual Surgical Ethics Conference over four weeks in June. Each week will feature a different topic that will explore timely and controversial questions in surgery today."

Oxford Global Health and Bioethics International Conference

June 27-28, 2021, In-person at Oxford, UK (and some sessions virtual)

From 2022: "The Oxford Global Health and Bioethics International Conference takes place every two years. It aims to foster comprehensive multi-disciplinary debate and addresses critically important ethical issues in the conception and implementation of Global Health."