History and Bioethics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Cultural historians and historians of medicine are a rarity in bioethics. Even those who write histories of bioethics are philosophers, sociologists, or theologians. Where have all the historians gone? If bioethics is to contribute to the urgent work of addressing social justice, structural racism, and health inequity, we bioethicists need to embrace history as a fully constituent part of our field. Historians can help us apprehend the ideas that shaped bioethics, and health policy more broadly, and discover the dissenting arguments that might inspire us now. Given our annus horribilis, history has become an instrumental necessity. It is only through the study of history that we can understand the past so as to reimagine how bioethics can influence health policy and work toward health equity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3
Number of pages1
JournalThe Hastings Center report
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021


  • access to care
  • bioethics
  • health equity
  • history
  • history of medicine
  • Social Justice
  • Humans
  • Bioethics
  • Health Policy
  • Racism
  • Ethicists

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Philosophy
  • Health Policy
  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects


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