Unpacking Bedside Bioethics Tuesday, May 16, 2023, Noon - 1 pm

Standards for Surrogate Decision-Making

Zoom | Free | Open to the public
Jennifer Needle
Jennifer Needle, MD, MPH


This session of Unpacking Bedside Bioethics dove deep into the process of surrogate decision-making. Building on the previous session “'Who Ya Gonna Call?' When Your Patients Can’t Decide by Themselves," this session explored what standards surrogate decision-makers are held to, what to do when surrogates act in bad faith, and when to replace a surrogate decision-maker. 

Learning Objectives: By attending this webinar, participants will be able to:

  • Identify standards for surrogate decision-making;
  • Explore nuances of surrogate standards in patient cases; and
  • Identify when it is ethically appropriate to replace a surrogate decision-maker.


Dr. Needle is an Associate Professor of Pediatric Critical Care at the University of Minnesota Medical School and the Center for Bioethics, University of Minnesota. She earned her MD from Howard University in Washington DC, and a Masters in Public Health in Epidemiology from Emory University Rollins School of Public Health. Dr. Needle completed her residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics and fellowship in Pediatric Critical Care at the University Hospitals of Cleveland/Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio. She completed her fellowship in Biomedical Ethics at the Center for Ethics in Health Care at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, Oregon. 

Dr. Needle joined the faculty at the University of Minnesota in 2013 after six years as an Assistant Professor for the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Critical Care, at Oregon Health & Science University. She is board certified by the American Board of Pediatrics in Critical Care and the American Board of Pediatrics. She has developed a national reputation as a leading early investigator in the field of pediatric palliative care and advance care planning.  She has been a PI or co-I on grants from the National Institutes of Health and the American Cancer Society studying Adolescent and Young Adult Advance Care Planning in Cancer and Bone Marrow Transplant. Her work has been published in Critical Care Medicine, Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, Palliative Medicine, and The Journal of Clinical Ethics. Her current academic focus is on reducing health disparities in pediatric palliative care. She is collaborating with the SoLaHmo Partnership for Health and Wellness to utilize a community-based participatory research approach to understand barriers and facilitators to pediatric palliative care in the Somali, Latino/a/x, and Hmong communities. Dr. Needle serves as the co-chair of the University of Minnesota Medical Center Ethics Committee, and co-lead for the clinical ethics consultation service for MHealth Fairview system hospitals.