This is the website for the Bioethics Program at UC Davis Health. (If you are looking for the Bioethics Committee at UC Davis Medical Center to request a bioethics consult, the on-call pager number is: 916-739-0714)

The program began in 1996 when Dr. Erich H. Loewy became the first School of Medicine Alumni Association Endowed Chair of Bioethics. The Alumni Association established the Endowed Chair to affirm the importance of ethics education in the medical school curriculum, as well as to provide a resource in bioethics to the entire University. When Dr. Loewy assumed the status of emeritus faculty, a national search was undertaken and in 2007, Dr. Ben A. Rich was named the Endowed Chair of Bioethics.

The University of California, Davis and its UC Davis Health have expanded significantly since the establishment of the Bioethics Chair, and the Program will be expanding as well to address the ever-increasing need for bioethics involvement in and consultation with the clinical research enterprise of UC Davis Health. Core and associate faculty participate in the UC Davis Medical Center Bioethics Committee and its clinical bioethics consultation service. Through collaborative initiatives, the Bioethics Program also has linkages with the clinical departments, such as the Division of Pain Medicine (Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine) and the Center for Perinatal Medicine and the Law (Obstetrics and Gynecology), as well as the School of Law, the School of Veterinary Medicine, and the College of Letters and Science.

Recently, the medical school curriculum has undergone a major transformation with the introduction of the required interdisciplinary  Doctoring course in the first three years. Ethics education is an integral aspect of the Doctoring curriculum, and is the primary mechanism for instilling core competencies in ethics to our medical school graduates. Program faculty also teach elective courses, including an innovative course in medicine and law that is open to students in the medical school, law school, and the masters in public health program. Specialized courses in research ethics are offered to participants in training grants through the Clinical and Translational Science Center (stem cell research) and the Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute (autism research).

Our History

Historical Highlights

  • 1996
    • Dr. Erich H. Loewy became the first School of Medicine Alumni Association Endowed Chair of Bioethics
  • 2007
    • Dr. Loewy assumed the status of Emeritus Faculty and a national search went underway to locate the second Endowed Chair of Bioethics - Dr. Ben A. Rich.

Recent Developments

Mark Yarborough, in collaboration with Dr. Ulrich Dirnagl, Charité, Berlin Germany, recently received funding from the Volkswagen Foundation to convene an international conference February 14 – 16, 2018, to address ways to strengthen both the science and ethics of early clinical trials to treat serious neurological diseases and injuries. More information about this conference, "Lost in the Maze? Navigating Evidence and Ethics in Translational Neuroscience” can be found at