Program In Bioethics, Law And Medical Professionalism

The program was founded in 1974 as the Division of Social Sciences and Humanities of the Department of Community Health and Family Medicine at the University of Florida. Funding of the Program has been made available by various organizations such as; NIH Endowment for the Humanities, Mrs. Grace H. Osborn and other private foundations. In 1990, two faculty members, Ray Moseley, PhD, and Jim Wagner, MD, formed the Florida Bioethics Network.

This organization is dedicated to understanding and resolving ethical and legal problems arising in health care and research in Florida’s hospitals, hospices, nursing homes, managed care organizations and teaching institutions. The University of Florida’s BLMP Program Faculty offer a wide variety of expertise in the interdisciplinary world of bioethics including; end-of-life, stem-cell research, genetic engineering, health care equity, human subject research safety and public policy. They are highly qualified and available to students daily.

What is Bioethics?

According to the Center for Practical Bioethics, the bioethics field is multidisciplinary. It blends philosophy, theology, history, and law with medicine, nursing, health policy, and the medical humanities. Insights from various disciplines are brought to bear on the complex interaction of human life, science, and technology. Although its questions are as old as humankind, the origins of bioethics as a field are more recent and difficult to capture in a single view.”

The first article written about the need for bioethics was in 1927 by Fritz Jahr. His view then was to encompass ethical conduct toward all living beings in regard to science. It wasn’t until the 1960’s that this field actually began to take form and solidified with the National Research Act of 1974.

The four principles of bioethics: 

  • Autonomy – respect the right of individuals to make their own decisions
  • Nonmaleficence – avoid causing harm
  • Beneficence – take positive steps to help
  • Justice – benefits and risks should be fairly distributed

Our Practice 

The UF BLMP faculty are dedicated to educating students and the Gainesville community regarding issues of ethical significance. BLMP faculty participate in UF Health’s advance directives outreach initiative and work to engage faculty and staff, across many disciplines, to raise awareness about the importance of making early healthcare decisions.

The BLMP faculty also staff the Ethics Consult Service for UF Health Shands Hospital. This is a 24/7 on-call service designed to address the needs of patients, their loved ones, and their health care providers when issues of ethical import arise. Should you have an ethical medical concern, you may reach a bioethicist by calling 352-273-5155.