Santa Clara University

Programs in Bioethics

At the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics


Hospital Partnerships in Applied Ethics

For more than 15 years, the Center has partnered with local hospitals including O’Connor Hospital in San Jose, Calif., Seton Medical Center in Daly City, St. Louise Regional Hospital in Gilroy, and Hospice of the Valley in San Jose. Through these partnerships, the Center offers counsel on mutual decision making for health care professionals, patients, and their families. Center staff also serve on regional Bioethics Committees including Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, Stanford Hospital, and the Santa Clara County Medical Association.

Health Care Ethics Internship and Student Programs

Students contemplating a career in health care participate in a Health Care Ethics Internship primarily at O'Connor Hospital, where they learn on site about ethical dilemmas from physicians, nurses, and other professionals. Rotations are also available at Seton Medical Center and Hospice of the Valley. To date, more than 150 SCU undergraduates have participated in the program. Center staff also teach core curriculum courses, including "Ethics in the Health Professions" and "Social and Ethical Dimensions of Biotechnology."

Bioethics Research

The Center has undertaken research on various cutting edge issues in health care ethics and has a special interest in vulnerable patient populations. Current work focuses on decision making for patients who suffer from Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia and have no legally recognized surrogate decision maker. Major efforts include:
Medical Decision Making for Publicly Conserved Patients
Seasonal and Pandemic Flu Ethics
Culturally Competent Care

Web Resources

The Center's website offers material on end-of-life decision making, genetics and ethics, organ donation, conscientious refusals, and other topics in medical, biotechnology, and public health ethics


Margaret R. McLean, director of bioethics, is the Center’s associate director. She directs the Applied Ethics Center at O’Connor hospital.
Ryan F. Holmes, assistant Director of Health Care Ethics, does clinical ethics consultations and is Faculty For the Health Care Ethics Intern Program.
Anna Kozas, bioethics program assistant, provides research support for the director of bioethics, and administers the Health Care Ethics Intern Program.