Ethics Events

Welcome to the Ethics Events page! We hope you will find it a useful "one-stop" resource for the many different ethics events organized by members of the Columbia community and beyond. 

While we strive to compile a comprehensive listing of ethics-related events, we appreciate your assistance in submitting upcoming events we may have overlooked. Please email with events to be added.


January 27:  How Physicians Partnered with the Nazi Regime: Possible Lessons for Today - Columbia Center for Clinical Medical Ethics  - CLICK HERE for more information and to register

February 12: ELSI Friday Forum - Genomics and Infectious Disease: Scientific and ELSI Issues of COVID - CLICK HERE for more information and to register

February 22-26: COVID-19 Vaccine Development, Strategy and Implementation • A Virtual Global Health Symposium - CLICK HERE for more information and to register

March 8: The next Columbia Research Ethics & Compliance – Film Discussions series will focus on the film “Gattaca.” CLICK HERE for more information and to register.

Columbia University Events

Columbia Division of Ethics: ELSI Friday Forum


ELSI Friday Forum is a monthly one-hour seminar series featuring topics on the ethical, legal, and social implications (ELSI) of genetics and genomics research.  Join us from 12:00-1:00 pm ET / 9:00-10:00 am PT on the second Friday of each month for talks and panels on a broad array of issues, explored through an ELSI lens.

Each hour-long forum will be immediately followed by a half-hour informal networking session for audience members who would like to continue the discussion.  A zoom link to the networking session will be provided in the Zoom Chat before the end of each forum and emailed to all registrants.

Each forum will end with a Q&A with the audience and speakers: please bring your questions, expertise, and opinions to the debate!  For those who cannot attend the live event, each session will be recorded and archived on the ELSIhub Video page.

Closed/open captioning and/or transcripts will be provided for live and recorded events.


February 12, 2021 - Genomics and Infectious Disease: Scientific and ELSI Issues of COVID - CLICK HERE for more information and to register

  • Gail Geller, ScD, MHS
  • Priya Duggal, PhD
  • Moderated by Holly Taylor, PhD, MPH


January 8, 2021 - Biobanking in the Era of COVID - Watch the recording here

  • Sara Chandros Hull, PhD
  • Kyle Brothers, MD, PhD
  • Moderated by Aaron Goldenberg, PhD

December 11, 2020 - Addressing Racism in Research and Clinical Practice - Watch the recording here

  • Rhea Boyd, MD, MPH
  • Robert D. Steiner, MD
  • Daphne Martschenko, PhD
  • Moderated by Mildred Cho, PhD

November 13, 2020 - Structural Racism and Genomics in the Time of COVID - Watch the recording here

  • Dayna Bowen Matthew, JD, PhD
  • Vence L. Bonham, Jr, JD
  • Moderated by Sandra Soo-Jin Lee, PhD

Columbia Division of Ethics: Covid-19 and Ethics

COVID-19 & Ethics: Health, Inequality, and Justice Events

Please click here for all COVID-19 & Ethics: Health, Inequality, and Justice Events


Columbia University Center for Clinical Medical Ethics (CCME)

CLICK here for details on 2021 CCME Events 

Event dates are subject to change. Please email for up-to-date event queries and to register for the zoom link.

1/27/21, 6:30 PM
Dr. Ken Prager, VP&S, How Physicians Partnered with the Nazi Regime: Possible Lessons for Today 

2/3/21, 6:30 PM 
Katrina Karkazis, PhD, Yale University, Intersex Ethics  

3/4/21, 6:30 PM  
Dr. Craig Blinderman, VP&S, Palliative Care Ethics  

4/21/21, 6:30 PM  
Harriet Washington, Writer in Medical Ethics, Author of Medical Apartheid, Ethics of Student-Run Clinics 

5/10/21, 6:30 PM
Dr. Mark Mercurio, Ethical Challenges in the Care of the Critically Ill Newborn




Columbia Center for Research on the Ethical, Legal and Social Implications of Psychiatric, Neurologic and Behavioral Genetics

Seminar Series on Ethical, Legal and Social Implications (ELSI) of Genetics

  • Mondays, 12:00-1:00pm Eastern Time
  • All seminars for the 2020-21 academic year will be held online.
  •  To register and to receive the zoom link, please email:
  • Titles will be added before each event.

2020-2021  Seminar Series

Understanding Genes

  • Kostas Kampourakis, PhD, Section of Biology, University of Geneva, Switzerland 
  • January 11, 2021 from 12:00-1:00 pm EST
  • What are genes? What do genes do? These questions are not simple and straightforward, but simplistic answers are quite prevalent and are taken for granted, both in schools and in the public sphere. These answers reflect a series of misunderstandings, which can be collectively described as genetic fatalism: that genes are the essences of what we are (genetic essentialism); that they determine traits notwithstanding the environment (genetic determinism); and that if we want to understand traits, we should begin our study with genes (genetic reductionism). However, current research in genomics reveals a more complicated picture. In this talk I explain the origins and evolution of the gene concept, how it has been used, misused, and misunderstood. Drawing on research in genetics and genomics, and scholarship in history and philosophy of science, psychology, and science education, I provide an updated view of what genes are (and are not) and what genes do (and do not do).
  •  To register and to receive the zoom link, please email:

February 22 – Susan Domchek, MD, Basser Center for BRCA, University of Pennsylvania

March 15 – Steven Joffe, MD, Depts. of Medical Ethics & Health Policy and Pediatrics, University of Pennsylvania

April 19 – David Veenstra, PhD, School of Pharmacy, University of Washington

May 17 – Daniel Geschwind, MD, Dept. of Neurology, UCLA

June 14 – Bettina Meiser, PhD, Psychosocial Research Group, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia (Note: this seminar will take place from 4-5p eastern time)


For additional information or to convey suggestions about future speakers, contact Paul S. Appelbaum, MD, Director, Center for Research on the Ethical, Legal, & Social Implications of Psychiatric, Neurologic & Behavioral Genetics, Department of Psychiatry, at 646-774-8630 or



Columbia SPS Masters in Bioethics Program

Bioethics Program 

Upcoming Events

Please check back for upcoming Fall 2020 events.


Past Events

Please click here to view past events and recordings.


More Columbia Events

February 22-26, 2021: COVID-19 Vaccine Development, Strategy and Implementation • A Virtual Global Health Symposium - CLICK HERE for more information and to register

Research Ethics & Compliance — Film Discussions 

This discussion series examines research ethics issues raised in popular films and documentaries.  We welcome multidisciplinary perspectives.  Anyone from any University department is welcome to attend any or all of these events.

  • March 8, 2021: The next Columbia Research Ethics & Compliance – Film Discussions series will be held on March 8, 2pm – 3:30pm, and will focus on the film “Gattaca.”  Arthur Caplan and Maya Sabatello will be panelists, and Shawna Benston will moderate the discussion, which will include audience participation. CLICK HERE for more information and to register.


Columbia Precision Medicine, Precision Medicine and Society, and Precision Medicine: Ethics, Politics, and Culture

Columbia Precision Medicine and Society

Check back for new listings

Columbia Precision Medicine: Ethics, Politics, and Culture

Precision medicine - an emerging approach for disease treatment and prevention that takes into account individual variability in genes, environment, and lifestyle for each person - raises a myriad of cultural, political, and historical questions that the humanities and social sciences are uniquely positioned to address. The PMEPC lecture series represents a broad-based exploration of questions that precision medicine raises in law, ethics, the social sciences, economics, and the humanities.

The Precision Medicine: Ethics, Politics, and Culture Project is co-directed by Maya Sabatello, LLB, PhD, Associate Professor of Clinical Bioethics and Gil Eyal, PhD, Professor of Sociology. For more information on this project, please visit and 

  • Columbia University is committed to creating an environment that includes and welcomes people with disabilities. If you need accommodations because of a disability, please email Diana Garofalo at as soon as possible. 

Giving teens a voice: Facilitating decision-making about learning genomic research results

  • Melanie F. Myers, PhD, MS, Cincinnati Children​
  • December 2nd, 5-6:30 pm
  • Genome sequencing in a clinical or research setting can identify genomic variants that may not be related to the clinical reason for testing or the research study aims. Such variants may have health, reproductive, or personal importance. However, there can also be psychological, economic, and social risks associated with learning them. In a pediatric setting, professional guidelines recommend deferring testing for certain types of conditions, such as adult-onset conditions for which there is no intervention in childhood and conditions that confer reproductive risks (carrier testing), until the age of majority (18 years of age in the United States). Reasons to defer such testing include to facilitate autonomous decision-making, to protect minors’ righttoanopenfuture,andtominimizepsychosocial harms. However, this perspective was challengedwhen the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics recommended opportunistic analysis and return of a subset of genes, including some for adult-onset conditions, regardless of patient age when clinical genome sequencing is performed. Adolescents in particular also have increasing opportunities to learn genomic information about themselves through large research studies. However, there has been limited exploration of adolescents’ roles and preferences for learning genomic results. Issues surrounding genomic privacy, potential conflicts between parent vs child decision-making authority, and the roles of adolescent age, sex, race and socioeconomic status on decisional preferences also present unique issues in a pediatric context. I will discuss our experiences engaging adolescents in decisions about learning genomic research results and their decisional preferences.
  • This a virtual event. To register for the section please click here 


Personalized yet public? Genomic medicine's implications for precision public health.

  • Dr. Catherine Bliss, Rutgers University
  • November 16, 5-6:30pm
  • This talk examines the role of genomic and postgenomic science in precision public health. Dr. Bliss will first discuss her research into the social construction of race in genomics, and its creation of a certain population-based form of personalized medicine. Then she will examine the emergence and influence of a new scientific field of gene-environment science, social
    genomics. Finally, she will discuss the implications of human gene editing for the promotion of precision public health, with an eye to the relationship between how individuals and populations are being conceptualized and included.
  • The event will be held remotely. To register for this session, please click here. ​


Giving teens a voice: Facilitating decisionmaking about learning genomic research results.

  • Dr. Melanie Myers, Cincinnati Children
  • December 2, 5-6:30pm


Genetics: Reckoning with a history of systemic racism.

  • Vence Bonham, Jr., JD, National Human Genome Research Institute
  • February 18, 5-6:30pm


Mobilizing mutations: Remaking illness in genomic medicine.

  • Dr. Dan Navon, University of California, San Diego
  • April 8, 5-6:30pm

Mailman School of Public Health

The Dean's Grand Rounds on the Future of Public Health

 Protecting (Not Isolating) the Vulnerable   ​

  • Tuesday, November 24, 2020 from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • Howard Zucker, MD, JD, Commissioner of Health for New York State
  • Shari M. Ling, MD, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
  • Zoom Registration Required  

2020: The Year of COVID-19   ​

  • Thursday, December 10, 2020 from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • Anthony Fauci, MD, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
  • Zoom Registration Required  


Local, National, and International Events


Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs • NYC

Please click here for a full calendar of events

The Hastings Center • Garrison NY

  • Advancing Social Justice, Health Equity, and Community. The Daniel Callahan Annual Lecture, with Duke professor Patrick Smith and Hastings Center president Mildred Solomon. February 9, 2021, noon Eastern Time. Register here for the Zoom event.  
  • Please click here for a list of current and past events.
  • For more information, please contact:

NYU-Langone • NYC

Division of Medical Ethics Calendar

NYU Pediatric Gene Therapy and Medical Ethics: Lunchtime Seminar Series

The mission of the Working Group on Pediatric Gene Therapy and Medical Ethics is to advance research, policy, and education regarding ethical issues surrounding gene therapy trials. We seek to promote improved understanding of challenges and nascent best practices for ethical research across the evolving landscape of genetic technologies.








The Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology presents:

Medical Stereotypes: Confronting Racism and Disparities in US Health Care: A Health Policy and Bioethics Consortium

February 12, 2021, 12:30 PM

Description: Minority racial and ethnic groups in the US have long experienced disparities in access to health care and worse health outcomes, undermining broader social, political, and economic equality. One component of these disparities are various stereotypes that affect how minority patients are perceived and treated. This session will explore how medical discourse and the health system it supports can be altered to address these harms, and how legal changes can improve outcomes in the future.

Register Now


University of Pittsburgh Center for Bioethics and Health Law, sponsored by the Department of Humanities at Penn State College of Medicine:

2021 Health Humanities Consortium Conference

Crisis and Community: The Role of Health Humanities

March 25, 2021 (All day) to March 28, 2021 (All day)

Abstract: Covid-19 has precipitated a global crisis. In the US, existing social inequities have become more salient as poor people and people of color suffer disproportionately. Medicine and public health are overtly politicized. In June, the US erupted with social protests after the murder of George Floyd by police. Coronavirus upheavals have led to questions about the failure of pandemic planning. The racial reckoning brought attention to longstanding racism in medicine and motivated action for change. Many in the health humanities are asking, “What is our role?” The conference will explore the contributions of health humanities to health crises and imagine the future of the humanities during recovery and renewal.

Details for registration to follow.



Harvard University •  FXB Center for Health & Human Rights

Upcoming Events:

Structural Inequalities as Risk Factors during Pandemic

  • September 14, 2020 from 4 to 5:30 pm CEST / 10 to 11:30 a.m. EDT

Responses to COVID-19 at Local, National, and International Levels

  • September 28, 2020 from 4 to 5:30 pm CEST / 10 to 11:30 a.m. EDT

Please click here for information and registration for all events.

Questions? Please contact Margareta (Magda) Matache.


PBS NOVA: Human Nature

Human Nature premieres Sept. 9 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on PBS and will be available for streaming on the PBS video app.

The film will chart the discovery of CRISPR editing, as well as its uses across the globe and its current applications. The technology has shown early promise as a cure for debilitating or lethal genetic diseases, but also has the capability of making changes to healthy genes, which has raised numerous ethical questions around the altering of human DNA.

More information...

Association of Bioethics and the Humanities (ASBH)

The ASBH 22nd Annual Conference: Justice and Flourishing in a Pluralistic World


Foundation Brocher 

Foundation Brocher 2021 calendar of events

4 - 6 May 2021

  • Brocher Symposia - Kendal Evie, Kelaher Margaret, Baynam Gareth, Ferdinand Angeline
  • ELSI in epigenetics: Indigenous, national and global perspectives
  •  Read more

11 - 12 May 2021 

  • Brocher workshop - Bierer Barbara
  • Promoting Global Clinical Research in Children
  •  Read more

19 - 20 May 2021

  • Brocher Symposia - Lasker Judith, Donkor Peter, Benzian Habib
  • Ethics and Impact of Short-term Programs in Global Health
  •  Read more

26 - 28 May 2021 

  • Brocher workshop - Kingma Elselijn, Verweij Joanne, Romanis Chloe
  • Realistic ELSI of "Artificial Wombs"
  •  Read more

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