Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Department of Social Medicine

Department of Philosophy


office: 333E MacNider Hall or 207B Caldwell Hall

I am a philosopher of medicine whose primary focus is on the relationship between moral theories and concepts and various biomedical practices. My current work focuses on biomedical research including animal research, phase I healthy volunteer research, and genomic advances. In addition, I work on topics in health care  including distributive justice and concepts of autonomy. As well as using philosophical methods, I also work with empirical data.

In 2001, I completed a Greenwall post-doctoral fellowship in bioethics and health policy at Johns Hopkins University. I then held a visiting faculty position in the philosophy department at the University of Michigan, where I was also project director for the Life Sciences, Values and Society Program. In 2003, I moved to UNC where I am now a professor in the department of social medicine and in philosophy. In social medicine, I teach medical students during the foundational phase of their curriculum. I also teach both undergraduate and graduate courses in philosophy. In the past, I have served on the UNC hospital ethics service, where I was also co-director of education, and currently I serve on the institutional animal care and use committee. I am a principal investigator on a  National Institutes of Health supported study of comparative model organism research ethics (CMORE) for healthy volunteers, which aims to provide ethical and policy guidance for phase I healthy volunteer clinical trials. I am also a co-investigator on a National Human Genome Research Institute funded grant on incidental enhancements connected with genome editing technologies. In the College of Arts and Sciences at UNC, I am a fellow in the Parr Center for Ethics, a member of the standing advisory committee for the public policy department (where I am also an adjunct professor), and was a member of the faculty advisory board for the Institute for Arts and Humanities from 2017-2020. For the UNC campus, I am an elected member of the committee on appointments, promotion, and tenure. For the state of NC, I have recently served on the Covid-19 advisory committee for allocation of scarce resources and also on the vaccine advisory board. In November of 2021, I was elected as a Hastings Center fellow where I joined others whose work informs, “scholarship and public understanding of complex ethical issues in health, health care, science, and technology.”