• Center for Ethics

  • Bioethics

    Reproduction, Disability, Healthcare

    The study of ethical issues in biotechnology and health care has been a primary focus of Center activities, scholarship, and public service. Dr. Asch serves on The New York State Task Force on Life and the Law, the Hastings Center committee on Guidelines for End of Life Care, and several other boards and committees on bioethics and public policy. She has taught courses in reproductive ethics, policy, and law at YC, Stern, and Cardozo. For the past five years, she has been on the core faculty of the Montefiore/Einstein Certificate Program in Bioethics and the Medical Humanities. Mr. Wasserman has also served on committees and panels addressing issues in bioethics and public policy, organized by the Hastings Center and by the Department of Homeland Security. He and Dr. Asch teach in the Einstein bioethics program for first and second year students. Dr. Asch and Mr. Wasserman have published extensively in leading journals of bioethics and applied ethics, as well as in several anthologies and encyclopedias. They make frequent presentations as lecturers and panelists. In the past 5 years, Dr. Asch has been an invited speaker at over 60 academic events.

    The Center has sponsored and taken part in numerous talks and panels on bioethics. Its second Scholar-in-Residence, Lady Onora O'Neill, gave public lectures and faculty seminars on the future of bioethics, informed consent, and well-being; she also held informal discussions on these and other topics with students and faculty at several YU campuses. The Center organized a Bioethics Breakfast Series for YU alumni, at which leading rabbinic and academic scholars from the University spoke about Jewish themes in bioethics. During the national health care debate in 2009, the Center organized a panel on "Health Care Reform: Ethics of Public Policy, Ethics of Public Debate", with leading health care economists, ethicists, and journalists. The Center has also helped to sponsor public conferences on "Disparity and Diversity in Health" and "Social Work in Hospice and Palliative Care," it has participated in on campus panels on "Split Decisions: Separation of Conjoined Twins in Halacha" and "Cognitive Impairment, Judaism, and Philosophy." The Center has also worked with the Medical Ethics Society and Dr. Asch has presented at its annual conference in October 2009.

    Health Care Reform: Ethics of Public Policy, Ethics of Public Debate


    Monday, October 5, 2009, 6:30 p.m.
    Jacob Burns Moot Court Room
    Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
    55 Fifth Avenue (at 12th Street)
    New York, NY

    FREE * Open to the Public * ASL Interpreted * Wheelchair Accessible

    On October 5, 2009, the Center for Ethics at Yeshiva University hosted a panel of nationally renowned experts to examine ethical issues involved in health-care policy and the ethics of the way the debate is being conducted and reported.


    • Thomas H. Murray (President, Hastings Center for bioethics and public policy)
    • Dr. Peter Barland (Physicians for a National Health Program; Albert Einstein College of Medicine)
    • Mary Ann Baily (Health care economist; Hastings Center Fellow)
    • Trudy Lieberman (CUNY Journalism School; President, Assoc. of Health Care Journalists)

    Co-sponsored by Wurzweiler School of Social Work, Yeshiva University; the Program in Family Law, Policy and Bioethics, Cardozo; Yeshiva University's Institute for Public Health Sciences; Yeshiva College Student Council.

    Cognitive Disability, Judaism and Philosophy: From Theory to Practice

    On Wednesday, December 10, from 8-10 pm, the Center for Ethics hosted a panel discussion on the inclusion of people with cognitive disabilities, particularly in Jewish schools and institutions. The event brought together scholars of education, psychology, moral philosophy, and Halakah. Speakers included Dr. Sophia Wong of the Long Island University Philosophy Department; Dr. Jeffrey Glanz of Azrieli Graduate School; Rabbi Daniel Feldman of the Center for the Jewish Future; and Dr. Stephen Glicksman of the Women's League and Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology. Dr. Adrienne Asch moderated.

    Social Work in Hospice and Palliative Care: The Emerging Landscape

    On Friday, December 5, from 9:30 am - 1 pm, the Center for Ethics co-sponsored a conference on palliative care. This conference explored the emerging roles and diverse skills social workers bring to the interdisciplinary palliative care team. The event took place at Cardozo Law School (55 Fifth Avenue) in the First Floor Moot Court Room. It was co-sponsored with YU's Wurzweiler School of Social Work, the Social Work in Hospice and Palliative Care Network, and Columbia University School of Social Work.

    Onora O'Neill

    In April 2008, Professor Onora O'Neill presented a public lecture on ''Broadening Bioethics: Clinical Ethics, Public Health, and Global Health" at the Center for Jewish History/Yeshiva University Museum. The talk was co-sponsored by the NYU Center for Bioethics, helping to raise the event's profile and broaden its impact. A second lecture, "Dissecting Informed Consent" was delivered at the Yeshiva University's Albert Einstein College of Medicine and was co-sponsored by the university's Institute for Public Health Sciences. Professor O'Neill's visit as the Kaplan Scholar-in-Residence also included classroom visits, participation in a university-wide faculty seminar, and other informal discussions.

    Onora O'Neill writes on ethics and political philosophy, with particular interests in questions of international justice, in the philosophy of Immanuel Kant and in bioethics. Her books include Faces of Hunger: An Essay on Poverty, Development and Justice (1986), Constructions of Reason: Exploration of Kant's Practical Philosophy (1989), Towards Justice and Virtue (1996) Bounds of Justice (2000), Autonomy and Trust in Bioethics (2002) and A Question of Trust (the 2002 Reith Lectures). She is currently working on questions of trust and accountability in public life; the ethics of communication (including media ethics); and conceptions of informed consent, especially in medical practice and research on human subjects. Some of this work will appear under the title Rethinking Informed Consent, written jointly with Neil Manson, in Spring 2007.

    She is President of the British Academy, chairs the Nuffield Foundation and is Professor of Philosophy in Cambridge. She been a member of and chaired the Nuffield Council on Bioethics and the Human Genetics Advisory Commission, and was closely involved in work on a number of reports on bio-medical issues. She was created a Life Peer in 1999, sits as a crossbencher, and has served on the House of Lords Select Committees on Stem Cell Research and BBC Charter Review.

    Watch a video of "Broadening Bioethics".

    Working Group on Bioethics and Disability

    Ethics Working Group 

    In January 2007, the Center collaborated with the Montefiore Medical Center's Division of Bioethics to hold a workshop entitled "Disability: Philosophy, Bioethics, and Policy."

    With generous support from the New York Community Trust, the workshop brought together a group of 30 leading scholars, policy analysts and disability rights advocates from throughout the United States and overseas. Drawing on the participants' expertise in bioethics, philosophy, and disability studies, the workshop provided the forum for an intensive two-day discussion of topics at the interface of these disciplines: the experience of disability; disability, health, and normality; disability and well-being, justice, and interpersonal relationships; and institutions and services in the inclusive society.

    The discussion was guided by a White Paper prepared by Dr. Asch, Mr. Wasserman, and Dr. Jeffrey Blustein of the Montefiore Bioethics Center. This workshop was intended to lay the foundation for an ongoing Working Group on issues related to disability, ethics, and public policy. Two follow-up conferences and several publications are already being planned.

    Diversity and Disparity in Health

    A two-day national conference co-sponsored with the Yeshiva University Institute of Public Health Sciences took place September 20th and 21st, 2007, at the Geraldine Schottenstein Cultural Center.

    Keynote speakers included Dr. K. Srinath Reddy, President, Public Health Foundation of India; Dr. Ruth A. Zambrana, University of Maryland School of Medicine; and Dr. Ruth Macklin, Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Yeshiva University
500 West 185th Street
New York, NY 10033

Connect With YU