Research & Scholarship

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Faculty research and scholarship provides the foundation of our mission to advance: compassionate and fair clinical care that respects the dignity of patients and the professionals who care for them; public health practice and policy that promotes population health while being socially responsible and worthy of trust; and health equity and the right of all people to the highest attainable standard of health.

Connect with Bioethics faculty researchers and scholars

Debra Debruin

Debra DeBruin, PhD

Director, Director of Graduate Studies, and Associate Professor
Expertise: Social Justice | Gender Equity | Public Health Policy | Vulnerability in Research

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 and the promotion of public health in resource poor settings.


Jaime Konerman-Sease, PhD, HEC-C

Clinical Ethics Assistant Professor
Expertise: Clinical Ethics | Disability Bioethics | Religious Bioethics| Narrative Bioethics | Medicine and Literature

Professor Konerman-Sease's academic work focuses on Narrative Bioethics, Medicine, and Literature. By drawing from historical sources, she highlights novel solutions to modern-day healthcare problems. Her current project examines the novels of Jane Austen to identify approaches to healthcare relationships that can positively impact patients and providers today.

Jennifer Needle

Jennifer Needle, MD, PhD

Associate Professor
Expertise: Advance Care Planning | Pediatrics | Palliative Care | Clinical Ethics

Dr. Jennifer Needle’s clinical work is within the Pediatric ICU at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital. As the sole member of the faculty in the Department of Pediatrics with an appointment in the Center for Bioethics, she serves as a resource to students, residents, and faculty...

Justin Penny headshot

Justin Penny, DO, MA, HEC-C

Clinical Ethics Assistant Professor
Expertise: LGBTQ+ Ethics | Advanced Care Planning | Ethics in Medical Education

Dr. Justin Penny’s clinical work is within the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health and faculty at the University of Minnesota Medical Center Family Medicine Residency Program (Smiley's). He practices full spectrum family medicine, including hospital medicine, obstetrics, primary care, and LGBTQ+ comprehensive care.

Joel Wu, JD, MPH, MA, HEC-C headshot

Joel Wu, JD, MPH, MA, HEC-C

Clinical Ethics Assistant Professor
Expertise: Public Health Ethics | Health Policy | Clinical Ethics

Professor Wu is the Center for Bioethics’ Clinical Ethics Assistant Professor and a senior lecturer in the Division of Health Policy and Management at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health. Wu teaches courses at the intersection of law, medicine, and ethics.