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    About the Program in Medicine & Human Values

    Our Mission

    The mission of the Program in Medicine & Human Values is to serve California Pacific's patients through a broad ethics consulting process that will assist patients, families and practitioners in making difficult and emotion-laden decisions. We will coordinate the medical care delivered to a particular patient with the values and life goals of that patient. The Program will support clinical excellence and benefit all patients who come to our Medical Center, as physicians and staff are trained to treat the patient as a unique individual. The Program will also concern itself with research in biomedical ethics.

    Our History

    Established in 2003 by William S. Andereck, M.D., California Pacific’s Program in Medicine & Human Values (PMHV) grew from the shared interests and concerns of the Department of Medicine, the hospital Medical Ethics Committee and the medical and nursing staff with ethical issues in the biomedical sciences and clinical medicine. At California Pacific, we have a heightened awareness of the ethical challenges faced by the medical profession and the threats that can undermine the trust of patients and research subjects.

    The California Pacific Program in Medicine & Human Values plays a unique role among ethics centers nationally, because it engages not only in traditional philosophical inquiry about ethics, but fuses it with the daily work and service of a community hospital. The Program is also embarking on ground-breaking interdisciplinary research projects on moral questions arising from the complex relationships among medicine, science and society. Our research draws on and extends the scientific, clinical and educational strengths of the hospital, and aims to play a key role in shaping health policy.

    Our Staff

    William S. Andereck, MD, FACP
    Program Director and Senior Scholar
    Dr. Andereck has practiced internal medicine in San Francisco since 1979. He received his BA at Vanderbilt University and his MD from the University of Tennessee in 1974. There he was introduced to medical ethics by Drs. Edmund Pellegrino and David Thomasma. In the early 1980's he studied with Albert Jonsen, PhD, then professor of Bioethics at UCSF and with whom he co-founded this Program.

    Steve Heilig, MPH
    Ethics Consultant
    Steve Heilig is a San Francisco-based author, editor, ethicist, epidemiologist, administrator, lecturer and researcher specializing in health and ecological issues. He is Director of Public Health and Education for the San Francisco Medical Society and director of the Community Service Foundation there, Co-Editor of the Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, co-founder and Director of the Bay Area Network of Ethics Committees, and a Senior Research Associate with Commonwealth where he is co-director of the Collaborative on Health and the Environment.

    Ryan F Holmes, M.A., PhD(c)
    Ryan joins PMHV after four years with the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University where he was the Assistant Director of Health Care Ethics. He completed a two-year Clinical Ethics Fellowship at the UT MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas and has Masters Degrees in Bioethics from Case Western Reserve University and in Education from the University of Michigan. Originally from Pasadena, California, he has experience as a clinical ethicist throughout the state, including with the UCLA Health System and the Daughters of Charity Health System (now the Verity Health System). He is currently completing his Doctorate in Health Care Ethics from Saint Louis University. His dissertation focuses on conflicts around non-beneficial treatment and the role of ethics committees in these conflicts. His broader interests include end-of-life decision making, virtue theory, and ethics education.

    Linda Joy Hummel, PhD
    Program Supervisor
    Dr. Hummel has worked at California Pacific Medical Center for twenty plus years with extensive experience in management and education. She holds a Ph.D. from Michigan State University in Education Administration and worked for many years as Director of Medical Education at CPMC supervising the graduate residency education programs and coordinating continuing medical education. She has served as an education consultant for the Women’s Health Resource center and the Institute for Health and Healing at CPMC. She also taught health care administration courses for John F. Kennedy University. A married mother of two, Linda is a voracious reader who maintains membership in two, sometimes three book clubs simultaneously.

    Albert Jonsen, PhD
    Senior Bioethics Scholar-in-Residence Emeritus
    Dr. Jonsen is Emeritus Professor of Ethics in Medicine at the School of Medicine, University of Washington, where he was Chairman of the Department of Medical History and Ethics from 1987 - 1999. From 1972 to 1987, he was Chief of the Division of Medical Ethics, School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco. Prior to that, he was President of the University of San Francisco, where he taught in the Departments of Philosophy and Theology. He received his PhD from Yale University, in l967. His earlier education was at Gonzaga University in Spokane and Santa Clara University in California. Professor Jonsen has written chapters in over 70 books on medicine and health care.

    Antonio Kruger
    Antonio is a Bay Area native and has been with the Program since 2005. He is our Administrator, thus all administrative inquiries and requests, including attempts to reach either co-director, can be made by contacting him. He is the point person for the annual Summer Workshop in Clinical Ethics and has served as bursar while assisting Dr. Kushner with the annual International Bioethics Retreat. He now administers the hospital’s ethics committee. Antonio is currently studying to become fluent in the German language.

    Thomasine Kushner, PhD
    Dr. Kushner is a Clinical Professor of Bioethics and a Senior Research Fellow, Human Rights Center at the University of California, Berkeley and editor of the Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics. She has written and edited many books, her most recent is Surviving Health Care: A Manual for Patients and Their Families from Cambridge University Press (2010). Also, each year, she organizes the International Bioethics Retreat. She is married with children and lives part-time in Sausalito and in Paris.

    Ruchika Mishra, PhD
    Senior Bioethicist
    Dr. Mishra joined the Program after having completed a Bioethics Fellowship here. She received her PhD in Philosophy, specializing in Medical Ethics, from the University of Leeds, England, where she also obtained a Masters degree in Health Care Ethics. While in England, Ruchika taught Medical Ethics and Philosophy to a diverse group of students from a variety of backgrounds including Philosophy, Medicine, Biological Sciences and Biomedical Sciences. Ruchika currently edits the ‘Ethics Committees and Consultants at Work’ department for the Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics. Her interests lie in Medical Ethics, Clinical Ethics, Bioethics Education and Cross-Cultural Issues in Bioethics. Originally from India, she lives in the Bay Area with her husband and loves art, books and thinking.

    Shilpa Shashidhara, PhD
    Dr. Shashidhara received her PhD in Applied Gerontology from the University of North Texas and her Masters’ degree in Bioethics and Medical Humanities from the University of South Florida. Prior to joining CPMC’s Program in Medicine & Human Values, she served as a Clinical Ethicist and Coordinator for the Southern & Central Illinois Advisory Group for Ethics (SAGE) for Memorial Medical Center in Springfield, Illinois and was Adjunct Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of North Texas teaching bioethics and aging courses at the graduate and undergraduate level. Her interests include Clinical Ethics Consultation, Medical Decision Making, Psychiatric Ethics and End of Life issues in the aging population. She is originally from Bradenton, Florida.


    The Program usually hosts one Clinical Ethics fellow per academic year. Beginning autumn 2015, we will also host our first ever Neuroethics fellow.

    Guillermo Palchik, Ph.D.
    Neuroethics Specialist
    Gil Palchik, Ph.D., is the Program’s Specialist in Neuroethics. Dr. Palchik received both his MSc and PhD in Neuroscience from Georgetown University, where he focused on cellular and molecular neuroscience. He was also actively involved in Neuroethics and Neurophilosophy projects, under the mentorship of Dr. James Giordano, Chief of the Neuroethics Studies Program. Dr. Palchik helped develop the student-led Neuroethics and Neurophilosophy Discussion Group, as well as the Capital Consortium for Neuroscience: Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues, a Washington D.C. based monthly discussion group examining new and novel developments in neuroscience. Prior to joining Sutter Health, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, where he conducted research in Neuroscience and Radiation Medicine, as well as teaching and mentoring students. Dr. Palchik is part of CPMC’s pioneering neuroethics consultation training program, aimed at directing the advances of neuroscience toward the dilemmas that arise in caring for patients with neurological diseases and disorders. His interests include Clinical Ethics Consultation, Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Science, Psychiatric Ethics, and Brain-Machine Interfaces. Originally from Argentina, he is fluent in Hebrew and Spanish.

    Alexandria P. Lescher, D.Be.
    Clinical Ethics Fellow
    Dr. Lescher is the Program’s 2017-2018 Clinical Ethics Fellow. She was introduced to the field of bioethics while studying medical practice and policy in Copenhagen, Denmark, which led her to pursue clinical ethics as a career. Following her return to the U.S., she completed a master’s degree in bioethics and health policy, followed by a doctorate in bioethics with dual concentration in clinical ethics and public health ethics at Loyola University – Chicago. Prior to joining PMHV, Dr. Lescher interned in clinical ethics with Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare in Southeastern Wisconsin. Additionally, she worked as a contracted researcher for the Ethics Integration and Strategy department at Trinity Health, contributing to widely varied projects on topics from physician assisted dying to ethics fellowship development. Alex’s interests include ethical issues that intersect the clinical and public health spheres, such as vaccination programs and organ donation, as well as ethics education for current and future clinicians.

    Past Fellows

    In 2016-2017, our fellow was Ana Tyler, J.D., MA. Ana is now a clinical ethicist at Beaumont Health in Detroit, Michigan.

    In 2015-2016, our fellow was Robert Fulbright, J.D., MA. Robert is now one of our clinical ethicists.

    In 2014-2015, our fellow was Ruaim Muaygil, M.D., a physician from Saudi Arabia who trained in Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania.

    In 2012-2013, our fellow was Lucia Tanassi, Ph.D. Lucia is currently a Social Worker at Sutter Health's Alta Bates Medical Center in Oakland.

    In 2009-2010, our fellow was Rebecca (Becky) Volpe, Ph.D. Becky is currently Assistant Professor of Humanities, Pennsylvania State University, College of Medicine.

    In 2008-2009, our fellow was Ruchika Mishra, Ph.D. Ruchika is now our Senior Bioethicist.

    Visiting Scholars

    John Harris, FMedSci., FRSA, D.Phil.

    British philosopher and Sir David Alliance Professor of Bioethics at the Institute of Medicine, Law and Bioethics at the University of Manchester; joint Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Medical Ethics and a Fellow of the United Kingdom Academy of Medical Sciences.

    Oonagh Corrigan, PhD

    Associate Professor in Sociology and Ethics of Medicine, Institute of Clinical Education (Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry), Plymouth University, United Kingdom

    2005, 2008, & 2010
    Joseph J. Fins, MD, FACP
    Chief, Division of Medical Ethics, Professor of Medicine, Public Health, & Medicine in Psychiatry, Weill Medical College of Cornell University

    William Dorman, MDin
    Director, Chaplaincy Services, Presbyterian Hospital, Albuquerque, New Mexico

    Lawrence J. Schneiderman, MD
    Professor Emeritus, Family & Preventive Medicine / Medicine.

    Harold Luft, PhD
    Professor, Health Policy & Health Economics, Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California San Francisco

    Richard L. O'Brien, MD, MA
    Creighton University Medical Center, Center for Health Policy and Ethics

    Matthew Wynia, MD, MPH
    Institute for Ethics, American Medical Association

    Bernard J. Hammes, PhD
    Clinical Ethics Specialist, Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center, La Crosse, Wisconsin.

    Jacob Needleman, PhD
    Jacob Needleman is a professor of philosophy at San Francisco State University and the author of many books, including A Little Book on Love, Time and the Soul, The Heart of Philosophy, Lost Christianity, and Money and the Meaning of Life.

    Robert Pearlman, MD, MPH
    Robert Pearlman, MD, MPH, is a Professor of Medicine (as well as Health Services, and Medical History and Ethics) at the University of Washington.

    Larry R. Churchill, PhD
    Ann Geddes Stahlman Professor of Medical Ethics, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

    Jonathan D. Moreno, PhD
    University of Pennsylvania