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Adult Ethics Committee

The Ethics Committee at Yale-New Haven Hospital provides consultation on individual cases where ethical issues have been raised. This committee is co-chaired by Lori Bruce, MA, MBE, HEC-C, Associate Director at Yale’s Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics and Adjunct Professor in the Bioethics Program at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine and Benjamin Tolchin, MD, MS, FAAN; Director, Yale New Haven Health System Center for Bioethics; Assistant Professor of Neurology, Yale School of Medicine. Patients and families are offered guidance regarding the right to receive or refuse treatment; patient rights and responsibilities; advance directives; families’ wishes; and privacy concerns.
To request a consultation with the Adult Ethics Committee, contact us at 203.789-3299.

Yale Pediatrics Ethics Program

The Yale Pediatric Ethics Program is led by Mark Mercurio, MD, MA and offers academic and clinical services to faculty and staff at Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital. The program educates clinicians, staff, residents and medical students on issues related to pediatric ethics, and provide consultation services to patients, families and staff.

Pediatric Ethics Committee

The Pediatric Ethics Committee of Yale-New Haven’s Children’s Hospital provides consultation about ethical issues regarding clinical practice related to pediatrics. This group, chaired by David Hersh, MD, Phd consists of physicians, nurses, clergy, medical ethicists, community members and others, with considerable experience consulting in such matters. The committee does not have the authority to determine patient care, and serves in an advisory capacity only, but it can help parents and patients with ethical concerns about medical treatment and patient care issues. Ethics consultations can be requested by the patient, family, friend, clinical staff and research staff at Yale-New Haven Hospital. Contact the Pediatric Ethics Committee at 203.785.4651.

Book Discussion with Medical Students

The Program for Biomedical Ethics occasionally offers a book discussion to medical students, wherein they are offered the opportunity to read a certain book and then meet to discuss it over dinner, with the author (Yale faculty in a couple of cases) or someone from the English Department This year we will be discussion Middlemarch by George Eliot.

Bioethics Interest Group

The student-run Bioethics Interest Group offers a monthly forum for medical, nursing and physician assistant students at Yale University School of Medicine to explore issues related to ethics in the training, practice, governance, history and philosophy of medicine. The group offers educational seminars, advocates for the medical ethics in the greater Yale community and facilitates medical students’ participation in the ethical life of the medical center and university at large.

Community Bioethics Forum

The Community Bioethics Forum was developed under the direction of the Program for Biomedical Ethics at Yale School of Medicine to serve as a resource to both the Yale medical community and the greater New Haven community. The Forum is charged with providing education to community members on critical medical ethics issues, and inviting the community’s voice into the dialogue of medical ethics within the institutional healthcare setting.

The Forum is comprised of volunteer members within the geographic regions of the Yale medical community. Forum members are not medical ethicists or doctors, rather they are members of the public who understand New Haven’s needs and values, and who reflect the community’s rich diversity of cultures and perspectives. Six men and six women serve on the Forum and their ages range from the twenties to the seventies. Forum members participate in many faith traditions, including Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and Unitarianism, and some describe themselves as agnostic or unaffiliated. Our Christian members are Baptist, Methodist, and Roman Catholic. Some members do not have a high school diploma; others have advanced degrees. Members speak many languages including Spanish and Chinese; describe themselves as African-American, Hispanic, and white; one member was born outside the United States, and another member’s parents are first-generation Americans.

Forum members are employed in a wide range of professions. Membership includes a director of an HIV/AIDS skilled nursing facility, an operations director of a New Haven community health center, a professional writer, a hospice administrator, a technologist and inventor, a small business owner, an attorney representing the elderly and disabled, another attorney who serves as a guardian-ad-litem for children in need, and a local alderman. Notably, to minimize conflict-of-interest, no members are either physicians or employees of Yale University or Yale-New Haven Hospital. Members have volunteered overseas (as a medical clinic aide and a Peace Corps Volunteer) and locally (as chaplains, church choir members, park clean-up crew, and literacy volunteers in the school system). Some members have spent time living in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Ecuador. One member served on the board of directors of a Native American community center, and another served as council for a statewide rehabilitation association. Illness and death have touched all of our lives; some of us have disabilities.

Solicitation for membership on the Forum was cast widely through community, business, and church groups to promote the selection of a diverse and effective working group. As preparation for Forum discussion and deliberation, members of the Forum have been given specific training in the area of bioethics. That training includes a review of the history of bioethics (including bioethical issues arising during the Nuremberg Trials and Tuskegee, and more recent studies by the President’s Commission on Bioethics), a review of basic bioethics principles (including the concepts of autonomy and informed consent), and case study discussions.

Forum members have agreed to spend 3-5 hours before each monthly meeting completing reading assignments which may be from popular media, academic journals, or publications from bioethics research centers such as the Hastings Center Report. Forum meetings are comprised of presentations by bioethicists, nurses, or physicians from the Yale medical community, leaders in CT’s Departments of Public Health and Disability Services, and may sometimes also include presentations by former patients. Presentations are followed by thoughtful discussions and debriefings. The Forum Chair documents member feedback and does not seek to bring the group to one uniform opinion, rather to enable each member to understand the issue and document the group’s informed (and often nuanced) perspectives.

The Forum is overseen by Mark Mercurio, MD, MA, Director of the Program for Biomedical Ethics at Yale School of Medicine. The Forum is chaired by Lori Bruce, Assistant Director of Yale University’s Summer Institute in Bioethics at Yale’s Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics, Executive Director of the CT Coalition to Improve End-of-Life Care, and Vice-President of Community Voices in Medical Ethics. For additional information on the group, or to arrange a consult, please contact Lori at