PhD Tracks

Doctoral students must choose a track of study focusing on specific bioethics issues.  The doctoral program offers four educational tracks:

1. Concentration on Ethical Issues in Genetics and Genomics
Under this concentration, doctoral students will be able to work with faculty affiliated with the Center for Genetic Research Ethics and Law, the Center for Human Genetics, and the Law/Medicine Center at CWRU to explore ethical and conceptual issues in the design and conduct of genetic research and the delivery of genetic services.

The CWRU Center for Genetic Research Ethics and Law (CGREAL) is one of six “Centers of Excellence for Ethics Research” recognized and funded by the National Institutes of Health, and supports a broad array of research projects on the ethical and social issues flowing from the translation of  genome research into clinical, public health, and commercial interventions.   Doctoral students in this concentration will be integrated into the intellectual life of the Center and benefit from involvement in these projects before preparing an independent research project for dissertation work.

Requirements in addition to the core doctoral program courses:

  • BETH 412 Seminar on Ethical Issues in Genetics and Genomics: A semester-long seminar taken as a doctoral program elective.
  • CGREAL Works in Progress Series:  A monthly series of faculty and trainee research presentations on issues in genetics and genomics
  • Clinical practicum within the Center for Human Genetics and the CWRU Genetic Counseling Training program

Mentoring Faculty:
Patricia Marshall, Ph.D., Professor of Bioethics, Co-Director, Center for Genetic Research Ethics and Law
Aaron Goldenberg, MPH, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Bioethics
Michelle McGowan, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Bioethics

Resource Faculty:
Maxwell Mehlman, JD, Director, Law/Medicine Center
Georgia Wiesner, MD, Professor of Human Genetics
Anne Mathews, Ph.D., Director, Genetic Counseling Training Program
Richard Sharp, Ph.D., Director of Research, Cleveland Clinic Department of Bioethics, Co-Director, Center for Genetic Research Ethics and Law
Marvin Natowicz, MD, Cleveland Clinic Department of Pediatrics

2. Concentration on Ethical Issues in Stem Cell Research and Regenerative Medicine
In this concentration, doctoral students will focus on major issues in the science, ethics, and politics of stem cell research and regenerative medicine.  Over the past decade, embryonic stem cell research has emerged as one of the world’s most controversial areas of biomedical research.  While new forms of stem cell research have emerged recently that appear to sidestep the debate over the use of human embryos, they raise a host of problems in their own right.  Furthermore, as stem cell research marches toward clinical applications for patients, the scientific and ethical issues will continue to evolve in more complex directions. 

In order to fully appreciate the ethical and policy issues at the cutting edge of stem cell and regenerative medicine, one needs a sound grasp of the science of stem cell research.  In this concentration, doctoral students will be able to work with faculty affiliated with the Case Center for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine.

Requirements in addition to the core doctoral program courses:

  • BETH 425: Stem Cells – Ethics and Policy
  • Science elective in stem cell biology
  • Research ethics practicum with the CWRU Stem Cell Research Oversight Committee, the CWRU Institutional Review Board, and the CWRU Animal Care and Use Committee.

Mentoring Faculty:
Insoo Hyun, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Bioethics
Patricia Marshall, Ph.D., Professor of Bioethics
Aaron Goldenberg, MPH, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Bioethics
Michelle McGowan, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Bioethics

Resource Faculty:
Stuart Youngner, MD, Professor and Chair, Department of Bioethics
Stanton Gerson, MD, Director, CWRU Comprehensive Cancer Center
Paul Tesar, Ph.D., Department of Genetics
Horst Von Recum, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering
Debra Grega, Ph.D., Executive Director, Center for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine
Jessica Berg, JD, MPH, Professor of Law and Bioethics
Max Mehlman, JD, Professor of Law and Bioethics, Director, Center for Law-Medicine
Robert Binstock, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science and Bioethics

3. Concentration on Public Health Ethics and Research Ethics
In this concentration, students will be introduced to theoretical and practical aspects of ethics and public health and ethical concerns that arise in the design and conduct of national and international research.  Doctoral students will develop the analytical and research skills necessary to address ethical issues related to public health policy and public health prevention, treatment, and research.  Doctoral students will learn philosophical approaches embedded in the design and conduct of scientific research, the historical and contemporary context of national and international health research, and the principles, standards, and policies that have been promulgated for conducting research.

Doctoral students will be able to work with faculty affiliated with the Center for Research Ethics and Law, the Center for Global Health, the Center for Reducing Health Disparities, the Case Center for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, the Ireland Cancer Center, and others working in areas that are relevant to a student’s interests.

Requirements in addition to the core doctoral program courses:

  • BETH 414  International Research Ethics
  • BETH 417  Public Health Ethics
  • BETH  420 Research Ethics     
  • Research ethics practicum with the UH/CWRU Institutional Review Board         

Mentoring Faculty:
Patricia Marshall, Ph.D., Professor of Bioethics
Aaron Goldenberg, MPH, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Bioethics
Jessica Berg, JD, MPH, Professor of Law and Bioethics
Nicole Dem ing, JD, Assistant Professor of Bioethics
Insoo Hyun, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Bioethics
Mark Aulisio, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Bioethics

Resource Faculty:
Stuart Youngner, MD, Professor and Chair, Bioethics
Robert Binstock, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science and Bioethics
Ash Sehgal, MD, Professor of Medicine and Director, Center for Reducing Health Disparities
Sana Loue, JD, PhD, MPH, Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Max Mehlman, JD, Professor of Law and Bioethics, Director, Law-Medicine Center
Richard Sharp, Ph.D., Director of Research, Cleveland Clinic Department of Bioethics

4. Concentration in Research in Clinical Ethics
In this concentration, students will focus on research into ethical problems that arise in the context of clinical medicine—e.g., reproduction (IVF, surrogacy); end-of-life decisions (DNR, palliative care); organ transplantation (selection of donors and recipients); innovative and invasive medical technologies (deep brain stimulation, stomach reduction surgery for obesity); medical errors and how they are handled.

Students will be able to study problems in clinical settings at three Medical School affiliated hospitals—University Hospitals, MetroHealth Center, and the Cleveland VA. The Department of Bioethics has developed extensive ties with these hospitals and they are used for the Master’s students’ clinical practicums.

Requirements in addition to the core doctoral program courses:

  • BETH 422 Clinical Ethics: Theory and Practice
  • BETH 512 Clinical Ethics Practicum
  • All PhD students are required to do this 3-credit elective.  However, students in the clinical ethics track will arrange special clinical rotations in their areas of interest.

Mentoring Faculty:
Mark Aulisio, PhD, Associate Professor of Bioethics
Stuart J. Youngner, MD, Professor and Chair, Bioethics

Resource Faculty:
Barbara Daly, MSN, PhD, Professor of Nursing and Bioethics
Alfred Connors, MD, Professor of Medicine, Chief, Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care
Eric Kodish, MD, Director, Cleveland Clinic Department of Ethics
Michael Lederman, MD, Professor of Medicine, Pathology, Mol Biology/Microbiology, Bioethics
Nicole Deming, JD, Assistant Professor of Bioethics
Ash Sehgal, MD. Professor of Medicine and Bioethics, Director, Center for Reducing Health Disparities
Kurt Stange, MD, Professor of Family Medicine, Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Sociology and Oncology