Stanford Center for
Biomedical Ethics

About Us


Classic Readings in Genetics and Ethics
The Classic Readings in Genetics & Ethics seminar series is co-sponsored by CIRGE and the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics. Each week we will discuss a different classic article or case, and its relevance to a more recent article or case. All readings can be found online. The seminar is held every other Monday, from 3:30-5:00pm in the SCBE Conference Room (PDF).

SCBE Brown Bag Series
SCBE offers a series of informal talks, usually monthly, which are free and open to the public. All talks take place in the SCBE conference room.

Jonathan King Lectures
The Jonathan J. King Lectureship was established in 1991 to encourage the compassionate and humane care of all patients. It is a part of Stanford University Medical Center's mission to enhance patient treatment and the art of caring.


Scope, 12/11/14

--Stanford Medicine Music Network brings together healers, musicians and music lovers
The Stanford Medicine Music Network debuted last week, bringing together more than 100 physicians, students and others. This blog post quotes medical school dean Lloyd Minor, the Carl and Elizabeth Naumann Professor. It also mentions Steve Goodman, professor of medicine and of health research and policy and associate dean of clinical and translational research; Audrey Shafer, professor of anesthesiology, perioperative and pain medicine; and Charles Prober, professor of pediatrics and of microbiology and immunology and senior associate dean of medical education.

All SCBE News »


Established in 1989, the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics (SCBE) grew from the shared interests of medical school and campus faculty concerned with ethical issues in biomedical science and clinical medicine. Drs. Tom Raffin and Ernle Young (then Associate Dean of Memorial Church) joined forces to create SCBE; Dean David Korn appointed them Co-Directors of the new Center. Organized as an academic unit within the School of Medicine, the Center Co-Directors reported directly to the Dean of the School of Medicine. Korn also established a multi-disciplinary steering committee with University-wide representation to provide guidance to the Center's leadership and academic oversight. SCBE successfully attracted start-up operational support grants from the Walter and Elise Haas Fund and the Greenwall Foundation, which allowed SCBE to grow and gain prominence both on the Stanford campus and within the national bioethics and health policy communities.

Due to their full schedules of teaching, clinical practice, clinical ethics consultation, and research, it became difficult for Co-Directors Raffin and Young to meet the growing demand for day-to-day management of SCBE activities. In 1993, Dr. Barbara Koenig was recruited as Director to consolidate management functions and develop the Center's research program. The Program in Genomics, Ethics and Society (PGES) was launched in 1995 with a generous foundational grant and a plan to expand support then included a variety of corporate, foundation, government, and private funders. These developments created significant changes in the content, character, and volume of SCBE activities, and prompted a plan for administrative reorganization in 1995. New research programs, lecture series, on campus teaching, and consulting created the need for significantly higher levels of staff support, including assistance with project management, monitoring human subjects protocols, increased communication with funding agencies, and recruiting and hiring of research associates, post doctoral fellows, student employees, and research assistants.

In 1999, Thomas A. Raffin, M.D. received The Colleen and Robert Haas Professor of Medicine and Biomedical Ethics endowed chair, while also serving as Chief, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. The Center currently (2011) includes 8 faculty and research scholars, 4 administrative staff, 3 post doctoral fellows, and many research assistants and students.


• To conduct innovative empirical bioethics research (in the core areas of genomics, end-of-life care, cultural diversity, neuroscience, the changing health care marketplace, and technology development)

• To provide leadership in bioethics education for students and faculty in medicine, the Humanities and Sciences, and the professional schools, both at Stanford and nationally

• To apply ethical reasoning to moral issues in medicine, including basic science, translational biomedical research, patient care, and the development of medical technology

• To contribute to national and international policy discussions by building a community of professionals dedicated to formulating effective responses to contemporary ethical issues

• To advance and preserve a compassionate and humanistic perspective on the practice of medicine, in order to improve health care for adults and children


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