New Staff Q&A with Grace K. Morris, MA

May 28, 2024

Welcome to the Division of Ethics, Grace Morris. Who are you? 

I am the new Program Director for the Division of Ethics. 

What are you most excited about in joining the Division of Ethics? 

There is so much possibility for growth, implementation, and collaboration. I am most excited about education, team science, and evaluation. I love developing new programs and considering the possible ways to bake measurement and evaluation into every stage. I want to ensure educational programs are effective, equitable, and mission-driven. I’m excited to dig into that space. 

What led you to this position, what was your academic/career trajectory? 

I began my educational career solidly in the humanities - I have a BA in History and Anthropology from the University of Cincinnati. I focused on historic material inequality (both through history and archaeology). It wasn’t until I took a medical anthropology class in my senior year that I began to think of health and illness as an important barometer for how a society treats its populace. 

After working in urban public libraries for a few years, I completed my MA in Sociology at Northeastern University. My studies focused on the social processes of health and illness, research methods, and program evaluation. 

Following undergrad, I took a position as a “boundary spanner” at the Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention, and Policy at University of Connecticut. Over the following eight years, I gained experience in research development, the science of team science, running and evaluating programs (including internal funding programs, grant writing training, and research development), NIH grant development, and management. Most recently, I was Director of Research, Training, and Development. 

My new position as Program Director for the Ethics Division is a lovely return home for me - returning to the humanities- and a space to apply all the skills and knowledge I’ve acquired over the last decade. 

What is one bioethical issue or topic that interests you? 

The reduction of human behavior (especially behavior entangled with social inequality) to phenotype. It may be appealing to reduce behavior in such a way as to fit into an equation, but the results seem inevitably sinister, reductive, and ultimately classist and racist. 

Outside of work, what is something you are passionate about?

  • Painting—I have been painting since I was a teenager. It has always been a reprieve and a different way of thinking than other parts of my life. 

  • Reading—I typically read over 200 novels a year. I recently joined an all-women book club that focuses on sci-fi fantasy. I love it!

  • Hiking—If there is one thing I miss about living in New England, it is the ease of access to hiking trails. I get out into the woods whenever I can.