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As the largest Catholic, Jesuit academic medical center, bioethics is vitally important to how Georgetown University Medical Center educates, conducts research, and reaches into its communities. The University is home to many of the nation’s premier bioethics faculty members and leaders in the Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics (named for one of the founding fathers of bioethics), and it’s commitment to ethics in medicine and science is clear in both the classroom and in the clinical setting.

Georgetown’s School of Medicine takes very seriously its efforts to educate medical students and residents about their ethical responsibilities as physicians and this commitment is reflected in our curriculum. Georgetown medical students are required to take at least two clinical ethics courses administered and taught by the Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics, and are offered the opportunity to take elective courses on bioethics and a number of other topics.  Fourth year medical students are offered a one month clerkship in bioethics mentored by Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics faculty members.

In addition to its medical curriculum, GUMC’s Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics provides university-based ethics resources for individuals in the health care fields. The Center is committed to the dynamic interplay between theory and practice, experience, and reflection. Center scholars bring expertise in theology, philosophy, basic science, neuroethics, genetics, and clinical practice to today's ethical challenges. The center seeks to promote serious ethical reflection and discourse in pursuit of a just society and health care that affirms the dignity and social nature of all persons.

Center scholars participate in Institutional Review Boards, the Medstar Georgetown University Hospital Ethics Committee,  interdisciplinary and post-care rounds and teaching of 3rd and 4th year medical students, residents, and fellows in Medstar Georgetown University Hospital.

The Center also works in coordination with the University’s Kennedy Institute of Ethics, the Department of Philosophy, and faculty at the law center. Georgetown is also home to the Bioethics Research Library, an organized and accessible record of scholarly and public opinion on bioethics issues that serves both as a reference library for the public and as an in-depth research resource for scholars from the United States and abroad.


G. Kevin Donovan, MD, MA.
Director of the Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics
Professor of Pediatrics