The Center for Bioethics & Health Law (CBHL) brings together clinicians, scholars, and researchers from schools and disciplines across the University to investigate issues in bioethics and health law by employing empirical, philosophical, humanities, and legal research methods. It was founded in 1986 on the premise that questions posed by contemporary healthcare and research are not the province of any single discipline but require the collaborative integration of insights garnered from myriad disciplines. Center faculty employ methods of the humanities and the social sciences to address ethical challenges in clinical care, health law and policy, and research.

The Center has been recognized as a leader in empirical research, pioneering investigation of the assessment of competency, physician-patient communication, organ procurement, end-of-life decision making, and ethical issues in long-term care. Center faculty also engage in conceptual, legal, and policy research on issues in clinical care, disability studies, genomics and precision medicine, health policy, philosophy of medicine, professional ethics, public health, research allocation, and women’s health and reproductive rights.

Center faculty provide clinical ethics education to medical students and residents, and teach ethics in the undergraduate and graduate nursing programs, as well as the other schools of the health sciences. Through its Consortium Ethics Program, annual Interprofessional Ethics Conference, and Ethics Grand Rounds lectures, the Center provides continuing ethics education for clinical staff throughout UPMC and other regional healthcare facilities.

The Center serves as the academic home for the Master of Arts in Bioethics, a program of the Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences that participates in joint programs with the Schools of Medicine (MD/MA) and Law (JD/MA), It also serves as a hub for health humanities activities with its Health Humanities Lecture Series and the Medical Humanities and Ethics Area of Concentration offered by the School of Medicine.