National Institutes of Health Clinical Center

About Us

Department of Bioethics
National Institutes of Health
10 Center Drive, Building 10, Room 1C118
Bethesda, MD 20892-1156

Phone: 301.496.2429
Fax: 301.496.0760
Email: bioethics-inquiries@mail.nih.gov

The NIH Clinical Center is the world's largest research hospital and has been the primary site of NIH clinical research since the 1950s. Bioethics is integral to the mission and activities of the CC and the NIH, as ethical questions and challenges are inherent in the conduct of scientific research and in the translation and application of scientific and technological advances to the clinic and the laboratory. The Department of Bioethics, launched in late 1996 and built on a pre-existing foundation of bioethics activities at NIH, marked a major commitment to bioethics by the Clinical Center, and especially by its director, Dr. John Gallin. Dr. Gallins goal was to create a premier center for bioethics to complement and inform the NIH's cutting-edge program of biomedical research. In this stimulating environment of scientific discovery and burgeoning new technologies, the Department of Bioethics has flourished, wrestling with major policy issues, offering educational and clinical services, and developing numerous research projects to help advance and inform clinical practice and clinical research as well as public policy debate.

The Department of Bioethics is a center for research, training, and service related to bioethical issues. The Department conducts conceptual, empirical, and policy-related research into bioethical issues; offers comprehensive training to future bioethicists and educational programs for biomedical researchers and clinical providers; and provides high quality ethics consultation services to clinicians, patients, and families of the NIH's Clinical Center and advice to the NIH IRBs, investigators, and others on the ethical conduct of research.

A well-known and respected tradition in the Department of Bioethics is to pause every day mid-afternoon and gather for tea, snacks (provided by members of the department on a rotating basis), and lively conversation. This tradition allows members of the department to re-charge and to engage in intellectual conversation with other members of the department, fostering collegiality, camaraderie, and collaboration. Members of the department also enjoy each other's company for birthday celebrations, bi-annual potlucks, and meals following Ethics Grand Rounds and Joint Bioethics Colloquium meetings.

Bioethics Department group photo