Current Controversies in Bioethics

BTHX 5000-001 | Current Controversies in Bioethics

Jan. 18 - April 25

Spring 2024
2 Cr
| Thursdays, 1 – 2:40 p.m.
| Remote: Online with live Zoom meetings

This course examines current controversies in bioethics, focusing on practical issues that arise in clinical care, public health, and health policy settings. To fully understand and evaluate these complex issues, it is critical that we consider them from a diversity of perspectives. Hence, we will spend most of our time in class discussion, openly and respectfully listening to and engaging with each other in interdisciplinary/interprofessional conversation. Class sessions will be led by bioethics faculty from diverse disciplinary/professional backgrounds, who are leading experts on the topics of discussion. Class meetings will be fully online via Zoom; no in-person meetings will be required.


About the Instructor

Headshot Prof. Debra DeBruin

Debra DeBruin, PhD, Director, Director of Graduate Studies, and Associate Professor

Expertise: Public Health Ethics | Ethics of Health Policy | Health Equity | Public Health Preparedness and Crisis Response

Dr. Debra DeBruin primarily works on issues in public health ethics and the ethics of health policy, with a focus on concerns about social justice and health equity. Much of this work addresses issues of gender, race, and socioeconomic disadvantage. She also has done substantial work on public health emergency planning, with an emphasis on the importance of equity in this perilous context. She co-directed the Minnesota Pandemic Ethics Project and led the project to develop ethics guidance for Crisis Standards of Care in Minnesota; both of these projects were conducted under contract with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). During the COVID-19 pandemic, she co-led the Minnesota COVID Ethics Collaborative, a statewide advisory group that provided input to MDH on ethical issues in pandemic response.

In addition to teaching philosophy and bioethics, Dr. DeBruin has served as a health policy fellow for Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) in the Democratic office of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee of the United States Senate. She has also worked as a consultant to the National Academy of Science's Institute of Medicine and the National Bioethics Advisory Commission on issues relating to the ethics of research.

In addition to her scholarly work in bioethics, Dr. DeBruin has a strong record of administrative leadership for the Center for Bioethics. Over the years, she has served as Director of Graduate Studies, Director of Education, Associate Director, and Director/Interim Director. 

Dr. DeBruin received her BA from Carleton College magna cum laude with distinction in philosophy and her PhD in philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh. She completed a Greenwall Postdoctoral Fellowship in Bioethics and Health Policy at Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health and Georgetown University

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